Lead the Change: Apply to the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program and Drive Innovation in Early Childhood Development

Techstars, a global leader in pre-seed investment, joins forces with the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) to bring you the latest edition of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program.

This groundbreaking initiative is tailored for startups focused on early childhood development, centering on families and children aged 0-8. With a keen eye on addressing critical issues, the program aligns with ECA’s pillars of Health & Nutrition, Early Care & Education, Child Protection, and Family Support.

But that’s not all! For this upcoming cohort, we’re extending the invitation to startups to innovate within three additional thematic areas:

  • Intentional Parenting: Empowering parents on their journey to nurture young children, supporting holistic development from birth through age eight is what this theme is all about. It emphasizes fostering positive parenting and caregiving behaviors prioritizing children’s well-being in digital and physical environments.
  • Culture & Identity: Focusing on the rich UAE heritage, this theme encourages children to appreciate and celebrate their cultural identity. It aims to strengthen social ties and enhance a sense of belonging, promoting Emirati values and identity globally.
  • Sustainable & Family-Friendly Cities: Endeavors to reshape urban planning with a child-centered approach by supporting healthy development and social unity by integrating nature, technology and sustainability into city living.

Program Structure and Benefits

The Anjal Z program will run from August to November 2024. For the first six weeks, it will be offered virtually to the Ignite and Launch Track founders.

The final four weeks of the program will feature the all-expenses-paid, in-person program in Abu Dhabi in October. The program will culminate at the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Week, where the startups can network and explore potential collaborations with local ecosystem players. This opportunity is tailored for the established founders selected for the Launch Track to help them expand and refine their market strategies within Abu Dhabi and the broader Middle East.

Two Distinct Startup Tracks:

  • Ignite Track: Ideal for early-stage founders, this track offers virtual masterclasses, mentorship, and pitch feedback for startups with monthly recurring revenue (MRR) under USD 20k, less than USD 250k in funding, and a team size under five.
  • Launch Track: Geared towards more established founders with an MRR over USD 20k, this track includes a comprehensive four-week program in Abu Dhabi. Participants will attend masterclasses, receive mentorship and engage in a localization project that doubles as a go-to-market strategy. Additionally, startups will benefit from non-equity funding of up to USD 270,000 to aid their expansion efforts.

Unique Aspects of the Anjal Z Techstars Program

Now in its fifth cohort, the Anjal Z program offers non-equity funding and an extensive network of local partners, making it a unique program in the space of early childhood development.

“Joining the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst program was a game-changer for Storybutton. Not only did it provide us with invaluable resources and mentorship, but it also opened doors to new partnerships that accelerated our growth exponentially,” Jim Jacob, Founder of Storybutton, Launch Track

Call to Action

Apply now to join the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program! Startups focusing on the four pillars of the ECA (Health & Nutrition, Early Care & Education, Child Protection, and Family Support) and the three themed spaces are invited to seize this extraordinary chance for growth and influence. Whether you’re launching your entrepreneurial venture or ready to scale, our program equips you with the tools, resources, and backing needed to thrive.

Immerse yourself in an environment where your startup can achieve global impact. Apply now to the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program and be part of defining the future of our children and communities.

For more information and to submit your application, visit here.

Discussing the next wave of ECD-focused startups in Abu Dhabi Dr. Yousef Alhammadi, Executive Director of Knowledge and Impact of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, said, “As we embark on our fifth cohort, the launch of the Anjal Z program application underscores Abu Dhabi’s thriving startup ecosystem. With a focus on early childhood development, our program offers selected startups a unique blend of mentorship, financing, and access to collaborative opportunities. Beyond traditional support, our cohort members will benefit from tailored localization assistance and in-depth market insights, ensuring their success in tackling critical challenges. We eagerly anticipate welcoming innovative startups to join us in shaping the future of early childhood development.”

Commenting on the latest cohort of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, Techstars Senior Program Manager Zoe Evans said, “This week marks a pivotal moment for global innovation as we proudly open applications for Cohort 05 of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program. With a focus on Positive Parenting, Culture & Identity, and Sustainable & Family-Friendly Cities, this cohort promises transformative opportunities for participants. Tailored tracks for both early-stage and established startups, coupled with immersive experiences for those chosen startups in Abu Dhabi and access to significant funding, underscore our esteemed partner’s dedication to driving change in early childhood development. We invite visionary entrepreneurs to join us on this journey, shaping a brighter future for Abu Dhabi’s children, families, and communities.”

Founders interested in joining the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst program apply here until Friday, 28 June 2024. If you have any questions, contact us at  anjalz-foundercatalyst@techstars.com

About Techstars

Techstars is the most active pre-seed investor in the world, having invested through its accelerators in more than 3,700 companies that have a combined market cap of USD 100 billion. Founded in 2006, Techstars believes that entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to invest in an unprecedented number of startups per year enabling more capital to flow to more entrepreneurs around the world. We do this by operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, as well as by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. For more information, please visit https://www.techstars.com/ .

About The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA)

Founded in 2019, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) is a government entity based in Abu Dhabi, overseeing the early childhood development sector in the region. They work with service-providing entities, ensuring that the entities have the right policies and legislation in place to encourage holistic early childhood development. Their startup program, Anjal Z (Generation Z), has supported 32 early and growth-stage startups through three successful cohorts since 2020.  For more information, please visit https://eca.gov.ae/

About Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program

Anjal Z, an initiative led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), aims to instill entrepreneurship and innovation in early childhood development. The initiative’s name refers to ‘Generation Z’ in Arabic and to the generations inspired by the late founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The high-impact program empowers startups from all over the world to localize their solutions (interventions) across Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.

Anjal Z also engages, through its youth challenge, university students interested in entrepreneurship and its potential to solve modern challenges, to come up with innovative solutions to various early childhood development challenges, learning in the process how to take the solutions from the idea stage to startup. For more information, please visit https://eca.gov.ae/anjal-z-homepage/.

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