Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority launches Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program

The Anjal Z Program looks to promote innovation in early childhood development by offering support to 20 startups across the globe

The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has announced the start of their in-person Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program and the first Demo Day on 16 March 2023, which will include startups pitches, keynotes from thought leaders, and networking sessions. The Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program is in Cohort 03 of the Anjal Z initiative and was launched on 16 January 2023. Over the past number of weeks, the program has offered virtual mentorship and localization to six growth-stage startups, which are eligible for funding, along with 14 early-stage startups. The aforementioned six start-ups met for the first time on Monday, 20 February 2023, in Abu Dhabi for the in-person phase of the program.

The ECA is a government entity based in Abu Dhabi that supports holistic early childhood development. The goal of Anjal Z is to support and empower global startups that are at their growth stage of development. The initiative helps disruptive businesses put their research 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 Cohorts 01 and 02, Cohort 03 in partnership with Techstars offers mentorship and resources to help early childhood education entrepreneurs grow their businesses and localize their solutions to have a positive impact on the children and families in Abu Dhabi. The program is designed to support innovative solutions that improve the quality of early childhood and meet families’ needs.

The 20 startups selected for the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program are:

  • Cappella
  • Enrichly
  • Femtech Solution
  • HolexP
  • Kanjo Health
  • Kidaura Innovations
  • Kindello
  • Kokoro Kids
  • Littera Fun
  • Magic Kids
  • Nuwa Robotics
  • Ostaz
  • Peekabond B.V.
  • Peekapak
  • Pengguin
  • Pink Fox Games
  • Snapi Health
  • Teach Kloud
  • Think Nursery
  • Toto Sleep

Of these the six who have met on Monday, and will receive AED 820 thousand in funding and in-person mentorship in Abu Dhabi to partner with a local entity to create a proof of concept (POC) project on the ground are:

  • Enrichly
  • Kanjo Health
  • Kokoro Kids
  • Nuwa Robotics
  • Peekapak
  • Snapi Health

The startups focus on the development of solutions across a wide range of areas including edtech, healthtech, gaming, wearables, communications, and social learning.

The ECA formed a strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) in order to provide support for startups in the form of AED 15 million over three years. Previous Anjal Z Cohorts have supported 12 startups via virtual and in-person mentorship, localization, and funding.

According to Wamda’s monthly report, startups in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) raised $125 million USD in December 2022 across 38 deals, taking the total amount raised last year to approximately $3.6 billion USD (a rise of 13 percent compared to 2021) spread over 628 deals. Figures from Nesta show that global venture capital investment specifically in apps and technology for parents has risen 50 percent faster than the total investment growth over the last decade.

Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, said: “Abu Dhabi offers an enabling environment for edtech startups to develop and commercialize their ideas to address challenges facing the next generation and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. ADIO is an advocate for the ECA’s Anjal Z program and the opportunities it creates for startups to thrive in Abu Dhabi’s early childhood sector.”

Commenting on the launch of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, Dr Yousef Alhammadi, Executive Director at ECA said: “We are delighted to launch Cohort 03 of Anjal Z in partnership with Techstars. Our mission is to help develop early childhood projects and startups to promote innovation in this sector across the region. The early years of a child are key to helping them grow into healthy and capable adults and it is essential to offer parents and industry professionals the support they need. We are certain that Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program will positively impact the wider society in the long-term.”

 

Speaking about the program, Katie Smith, Head of the Founder Catalyst Program at Techstars said: “We are excited about the powerful platform we are creating alongside the Early Childhood Authority to support startups that improve the quality of early childhood education and meet families’ needs across Abu Dhabi and the Region. The high caliber of diverse founders from around the world who applied demonstrates the need for this program and indicates the deep impact on the community we will see as a result of it. We are so proud to welcome the participants and celebrate their successes now and in the future. We also send a special thank you to ECA for making this opportunity a reality.”

 

The Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program will take place between January and March 2023.

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