KARACHI: Two Pakistani startups, Cubex and Autilent, are among eleven from around the world who have won funding out of a $1.1 million Saudi grant, the founders of the companies said on Wednesday.
Since its launch in 2016, more than 130 startups have graduated from TAQADAM. During that time, TAQADAM has given more than $10 million in non-dilutive funding to startup founders.
Last week, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and its partner, the Saudi British Bank (SABB), reviewed 23 startups during the annual TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Showcase for a $1.1 million grant.
Among the startups chosen this year and which received $100,000 funding each are Cubex, an online marketplace for sea freight founded by Lahore-based Sheikh Ahsan Tariq and Wajiha Khalid Paracha, and Autilent, a startup by Karachi-based university graduates that uses computer vision (AI) to prevent traffic accidents.
Cubex Tariq said his online marketplace, which connects freight forwarders with shippers in real time, had done $4,000,000 in revenue since 2020 and had 3,900 customers from 82 countries.
“We are targeting the global freight forwarding industry and currently have offices in UAE, Pakistan, USA, Oman,” Tariq told Arab News, adding that the startup would be launching in the Saudi market next month with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Cubex has previously won the Global Ocean Innovation Award by the World Economic Forum in 2020, the Maritime Innovation Award by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2021 and the Aviatrix Award at LEAP Conference, Riyadh, 2022.
Tariq said collaboration between the Saudi and Pakistani startup ecosystems was "very important" to help generate future unicorns from this region.
“This is the start of a new era of innovation. The Saudi government has opened doors for the world to come up with innovative ideas and build successful companies,” he said.
Another Pakistani startup, Autlient, was selected as the People’s Choice Recipient at last week's accelerator showcase and will also receive $100,000 in funding.
“There were going to be 11 winners out of 23, and each would get $ 100,000,” co-founder Asad Anwer told Arab News. “All hopes were gone by the tenth name. I was crying, but Alhamdulillah, our name was announced at the eleventh number.”
Anwar said his team conceived the idea of the startup because road accidents, which take 1.35 million lives annually and cause losses of $120 billion, were preventable.
“We, at Autilent, are leveraging the technology of AI to prevent these human errors,” said another co-founder Manal Farooq, “to save precious human lives and valuable assets.”