The program, powered by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), offers mentorship, localization and funding support to 20 selected startups to promote innovation in early childhood development (ECD)
The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has announced the 20 selected startups for Cohort 04 of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program in partnership with Techstars. The fourth cohort of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program launched on 6 November 2023 with two tracks for growth and early-stage startups, Launch and Ignite, and will offer masterclasses and mentorship from leading industry-specific experts.
Six startups within the program’s Launch Track are eligible to receive non-equity funding from the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), as part of the comprehensive range of growth-enabling support provided to promote Abu Dhabi’s private sector and knowledge economy. The ECA is a government entity based in Abu Dhabi that supports holistic early childhood development. Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, is the program’s community partner, supporting the startups’ growth by facilitating access to the ecosystem’s value-add programs.
Anjal Z’s goal is to source and select leading ECD global startups and help them scale out of Abu Dhabi. The initiative helps disruptive businesses put their product to use and tackle early childhood development challenges across Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates through a partnerships-driven, customized and experience-based fellowship program.
Following the success of the three previous cohorts, the fourth installment, in partnership with Techstars, offers mentorship and resources to help ECD entrepreneurs grow their businesses and localize their solutions to have a positive impact on the children and families.
The 20 startups selected for Cohort 04 of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program are:
The selected startups for Cohort 04 of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program who will meet in-person (January-February 2024) in Abu Dhabi to explore the local ecosystem and create a proof of concept pilot on the ground are:
- Storybook (USA) is an award-winning app that improves children’s emotional health and sleep through the combination of relaxation techniques and audio stories.
- Zenimal (USA) brings mindfulness to life with its portable and child-friendly design, making meditation easy and enjoyable for children.
- Cappella (USA) uses AI to interpret baby cries for soothing babies and providing peace of mind to parents, while making baby monitoring sustainable and accessible to all communities.
- Storybutton (USA) makes it easy for families to listen to great audio content without using screened devices.
- Kindello (New Zealand) is the AirBnB of daycares – every option, one place, instantly book a visit.
- EveryBaby (UK) is a medical device company pioneering accurate and user-friendly preterm birth risk assessment for expectant mothers.
According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report, Abu Dhabi is the fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the MENA region and the sixth fastest globally.
Since the launch of Anjal Z in 2020, the program has completed three cohorts, through which it has supported 32 early and growth-stage startups and helped establish half of the growth-stage startups (nine of 18) in Abu Dhabi.
Badr Al-Olama, Director General of Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said: “Abu Dhabi’s dynamic education and healthcare ecosystems hold boundless promise in advancing the well-being of young individuals. The commencement of the fourth cohort of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program positions us at the forefront of pioneering solutions to address early childhood development challenges with vigor and ingenuity. This initiative exemplifies the spirit of collaboration with our flourishing startup ecosystem and underscores the unwavering support extended towards addressing paramount social concerns.”
Commenting on the launch of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, Dr Yousef Alhammadi, Executive Director at ECA said: “The Anjal Z program is at the forefront of creating economic opportunities for global ECD startups by strategically investing in them, a commitment that distinguishes us in the ECD landscape. As we launch our new cohort, we endeavor to not only foster innovation but also contribute to the economic growth of Abu Dhabi and beyond.
This initiative exemplifies the value that the ECA brings as we actively participate to enhance the startup ecosystem. We are committed to bolstering these entrepreneurial endeavors, fostering a dynamic environment that not only serves the startups but also drives social and economic advancement and innovation.”
Welcoming the new cohort participants, Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: “Our team is committed to supporting the latest cohort of startups from the Anjal Z program at Hub71 as they continue to grow and scale within our ecosystem. Our goal is to empower these startups to make an impact, not only in Abu Dhabi but beyond. We are proud to be a partner of this initiative to contribute to building a brighter future for early childhood development.”
Speaking about the program, Katie Smith Head of Ecosystem Development at Techstars said: “Techstars is proud to be a key partner in the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, an initiative that aligns seamlessly with our commitment to fostering innovation and supporting startups across the region. Together with our esteemed partners, The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), we will continue to create a positive impact on the families and children of Abu Dhabi and we look forward to seeing the amazing results that this new cohort of startups will achieve.”
The Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program is taking place between November 2023 and February 2024, both virtually and in person.