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22 April 2024

Three startups win contest to ramp up Dubai’s next-gen COVID-19 response

Photo: WAM


in5 has announced three winners in its competition challenging entrepreneurs and startups to create an innovative product or service to boost the UAE’s response to COVID-19 using next-generation technology, media or design.

Dubai-based ventures Robomask, CoviBot Pro and Vision Health came out on top. The trio have won a year’s free membership with in5, a business incubator and enabling platform launched by TECOM Group in 2013. This includes 30 days unlimited use of in5’s prototyping labs, 3D printers and state-of-the-art facilities. Membership and access to the facilities has an equivalent value of more than AED 125,000.

The membership includes access to exclusive workshops and talks, one-on-one advisory and mentorship sessions with global experts, along with networking opportunities with entrepreneurs and investors.

"We have continued to nurture startups during these challenging times, and today’s winners emphasise the tremendous depth of talent, knowledge and creativity in the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem," noted Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City and an in5 leader.

in5’s open-call competition was launched in May, having attracted dozens of entries. Ideas ranged from multimedia content, digital tools to help people cope with stress and anxiety, and creative products designed to sterilise food deliveries, groceries and retail spaces.

The winning team from Robomask – Co-Founders Mohamed Ishag Hassan and Mohammed Saqeeb Mandlik – proposed a sustainable and technologically-superior facemask that purifies the air with tiny ultraviolet light LEDs. Designed with soft materials to provide a comfortable wearing experience, its durability will combat the growing build-up of non-biodegradable PPE waste and provide greater health and safety benefits.

To help retailers, restaurants, businesses and commercial establishments implement effective thermal screenings, hand sanitisation and capacity control, Paul Anand created CoviBot Pro. The autonomous vending machine dispenses sanitisers, surgical gloves and masks within 20 seconds, simultaneously scanning the body temperature of every person walking into a school, coffeeshop, gym or other public space.

Najia Maqsood created Vision Health, an app to bridge the gap between different generations, by matching young and old people together to encourage COVID-19 volunteering initiatives that address feelings of social isolation.

All three startups now have an opportunity to take their concept to the next level through their membership with in5.

The winners were selected by a three-person panel of startup experts who, between them, boast decades of experience supporting and enabling Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.