5 Tech Startups that Will Reshape Early Childhood Development in MENA

April 27, 2020

In the past 4 months, Seedstars has been facilitating a high-impact growth program titled Anjal Z, an initiative that was started and led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), to bring in global startups from across the world and have them localize their products in Abu Dhabi.

There is a set of different challenges facing early childhood development of kids between the ages of 0-8 globally. Being able to help tackle these obstacles across various sectors such as health and nutrition, early care and education, child protection, and family support is key to building better communities.

ECA and Seedstars’ mission for this program is to support the expansion plans of selected startups in various ways. The program includes in-depth training sessions from over 20 local and international startup mentors and early childhood development experts. It also facilitates public and private connections with various governmental entities and ecosystem players in the region. In addition to that, Anjal Z provides each startup with a $60,000 grant to support the entrepreneurs with their localization and growth efforts in Abu Dhabi.

After having received more than 150 applications from all over the world, ECA and Seedstars have selected 5 startups to participate in the program.

"During the program, we worked closely with five brilliant startups from our first cohort, supporting their growth in Abu Dhabi as well as introducing and facilitating numerous connections with key private and public partners including the Department of Health, the Department of Community Development and the Department of Education and Knowledge. Innovations occur everywhere, but breakthrough innovations, the kind that leverage novel technologies and business models to increase accessibility, improve offerings and reduce costs have for years, tend to stay within the private sector. The ECA, as part of the public sector, is spearheading innovation in order to effectively empower children and parents of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.", says Dr. Yousef Al Hammadi, Acting Executive Director of Knowledge & Impact at the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority

Here are all the participating startups:

Kinedu - Mexico

Kinedu is a platform that fosters quality learning experiences at home by providing parents and caregivers with thousands of fun activities personalized to the baby's age and needs through a video-centric mobile and desktop platform.

Lamsa - United Arab Emirates

Lamsa is a digital platform that provides hundreds of culturally relevant and interactive content developed through their intensive learning strategy that both teaches and entertains the child. The platform contains a variety of stories, games, and videos that also encourage parents to engage with their children.

Nurturey - United Kingdom

Nurturey is an intelligent assistant that serves as a diary in which parents can track the health and development of their children such as vaccination, dental care, weight, and other aspects starting from pregnancy.

Afinidata - Guatemala

Afinidata is the smart early childhood chatbot assistant that equips parents with free weekly early childhood education activities to help the cognitive development of children under six.

Kinderly - United Kingdom

Kinderly is a platform that supports early year childcare professionals in nurseries by improving their paperwork efficiency, enhancing their communication with the parents, and helping them easily access all EYFS information and reports all in one place.

After the program, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority and Seedstars will continue to support the startups with their efforts to grow in the middle east in order to impact every child.

Special thank you all the mentors that supported us during this program:

Alessandro Casuccio, CEO at Convz
Amel Badr, Senior Manager at Abu Dhabi Global Market
Andrew Kabrit, Co-founder of Seez
Anuj Adhiya, Head of Growth at Jamber
Brian Meenagh, Partner at Latham & Watkins
Chris Sciarrino, Director of Early Childhood Practice and Innovation at Early Learning Lab
Saleh Shaalan, Director at Allied Health
Eyad Latif, Counsel at Latham & Watkins
Gabriel Leyva, Analyst at MEVP
Jennifer Kanaan, CEO of Avoid Agency
Jennifer Stedron, CEO of Early Milestones Colorado
Krysta Foxx, Co-founder & Principal at Changeosity
Macky O'Sullivan, Corporate Lawyer at King & Spalding
Maha Abouelenein, Managing Director at OC
Mahmoud Bartawi, Co-founder of Under500
Maria Dolores, Analyst at Venture Souq
Marwan Abdelaziz, CEO of Ureed
Mohamad Bilal, City Head at Talabat
Nabile Shabbani, CEO of Steering Advisory
Nader Aboulhosn, Head of Growth at Smart Crowd
Omar Maayeh, Associate at Latham & Watkins
Paul Ark, Fintech Venture Capitalist
Rakesh Ramesh, Head of Digital Performance at Virgin Mobile
Rashel Al Aridi, Partnership Manager at Talabat
Robert Chokr, Product Lead at Careem
Suhayb Mahmood, Director atThe learning Initiative
Tayfun Ugur, Managing Director at BT Global Services
Torghul Samadov, CEO of Buglance
Youness Yaghcha, Program Manager at Seedstars
Talal Al Jandali, Entrepreneur in Residence at Seedstars

If you are interested in participating in this program as a startup, partner, or mentor, please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you!