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Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge

If you’re a startup using blockchain technology to transform an industry, now is your chance to compete in the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge!

Take your company to Dubai to meet world-leading investors, network with VIPs, connect with customers and ultimately win a prize at the Future Blockchain Summit at DWTC.

What is the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge?

Dubai launched a city-wide Blockchain Strategy in October 2016 with the aim of becoming the first blockchain-powered city by 2020. Smart Dubai Office (SDO) and Union are looking for game-changing applications of blockchain technology in any industry. Blockchain has the potential to improve people’s lives, and Dubai is posed to be a leader in moving such applications forward.

The Dubai Blockchain strategy is based on three pillars.

  1. Government Efficiency: Implementing blockchain technology in government services
  2. Industry Creation: Supporting the creation of a blockchain industry through empowering startups and businesses
  3. Thought Leadership: Leading the global thinking on blockchain technology

The Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge supports the second pillar, Industry Creation, and aims to discover the most innovative blockchain startup ideas from around the world, and bring them to pitch at the Future Blockchain Summit at DWTC.

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Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge 2017

Sdo 2017

In May 2017, Union and the Smart Dubai Office launched the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge. From an initial application pool of over 100, Union and SDO selected 21 startups from around the world participate in a a pitch competition hosted in Dubai. Representing 18 cities on 6 continents, three winners were selected to receive awards and connections to Dubai-based stakeholders.

First place winner
Sunexchange

Capetown-based Sun Exchange is a blockchain powered marketplace where customers can purchase solar cells and have them power businesses and communities in the sunniest locations on earth.

Second place winner
Edulogo

Vancouver-based Educhain creates the first comprehensive academic passport of student achievement. It enables institutions to issue official digital credentials, creating happiness through empowering students to own their accomplishments throughout their learning journey.

Third place winner
Everledger

London-based Everledger is a global FinTech company that uses the best of emerging technology including blockchain, smart contracts, and machine vision to assist in the reduction of risk and fraud for banks, insurers and open marketplaces.

About Smart Dubai Office

The Smart Dubai Office oversees and facilitates Dubai’s city-wide smart transformation with the aim of delivering efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experiences for residents and visitors. The office realizes that at the heart of providing these experiences, is the city’s willingness to test and adopt new technologies.

In this context, Dubai aims to be a pioneer in the adoption of emerging technologies such as blockchain, which it recognizes has a major potential to transform city services.

Requirements
  • Your startup must be implementing blockchain technology in its solution or product.
  • Your startup must be a for-profit business.
  • Your business must be a scalable product or service and in-market (MVP or pilots are fine but must fundamentally be beyond “idea stage”).
  • Your startup must have at least two team members.
  • Your startup’s product or service should be possible to implement in Dubai from a technical and legal standpoint.
  • Your startup must be willing to implement your product or service in Dubai.
  • Your startup must ultimately be enhancing the quality of life and city of Dubai.
  • Your startup must be less than 3 years old
Benefits of Competing
  • Finalists
    • Competing startups will receive pitch training by mentors and experts in Dubai
    • Competing startups will meet a Smart Dubai Office representative to support with remaining questions about blockchain initiatives in Dubai on Day 1 of programming
    • Competing startups will pitch and showcase to an audience of investors, venture capitalists, dignitaries, public and private sector representatives at the Future Blockchain Summit at DWTC
    • Competing startups will receive free travel and accommodations to and from Dubai
  • Winners
    • Winning startups will receive prize money based on placement
    • Winning startups will have meeting scheduled with the support of Smart Dubai Office with potential clients
The Competition Process

The Smart Dubai Office and Union will select Competing Startups for the Blockchain Challenge:

  • All companies must submit an application through the SDO Blockchain Challenge website by April 1st, 2018.
  • 15 startups will be selected as competing startups for the SDO Blockchain Challenge. The selected startups will compete at the SDO Blockchain Challenge in Dubai on May 3rd, 2018 at the Future Blockchain Summit at DWTC.
  • A panel of judges will select 3 startups from the competing startups as winners of the Blockchain Challenge.
Prize Packages

The three top winners of the SDO Blockchain Challenge will receive the following prizes:

  • First Place $20,000 USD
  • Second Place $15,000 USD
  • Third Place $10,000 USD
Judging Criteria

Judges will evaluate startups based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative use of blockchain technology
  • Size of market opportunity
  • The extent to which the product solves a problem for a particular target industry
  • A clear and strong market rollout plan
  • Traction (customers, revenues, users, etc.)
  • The extent to which the product increases efficiency and cost savings, and can be implemented effectively
  • A clear revenue model
  • A motivated and skilled team
  • Presentation skills
Competition Timeline
  • February 15: Blockchain Challenge Launch & Applications open
  • April 1: Applications close
  • April 7: Selected competing startups are notified and announced
  • May 1: Competing startups arrive in Dubai
  • May 2: Pitch training
  • May 3: Blockchain Challenge event
  • May 4: Competing startups depart from Dubai

Frequently Asked Questions

About Blockchain in Dubai

What is the Dubai Blockchain Strategy?
The Dubai Blockchain Strategy was launched in October 2016 by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince with the aim of enabling Dubai to become the first blockchain-powered city by 2020.

The strategy is based on three pillars: implementing blockchain technology in applicable government services (Government efficiency), supporting the creation of a blockchain industry through empowering startups and businesses (industry creation), and leading the global thinking on blockchain technology (thought leadership)

Read more about the strategy here.

Do institutions use blockchain in the UAE?
Yes, both government and private institutions are looking to integrate blockchain solutions.


About the Competition

Why is Smart Dubai Office hosting this challenge?
Smart Dubai Office (SDO) and Union are looking for game-changing applications of blockchain technology in any industry. Blockchain has the potential to improve people’s lives, and Dubai is posed to be a leader in moving such applications forward.

What are the benefits of competing?

  • Finalists
    • Competing startups will receive pitch training by mentors and experts in Dubai
    • Competing startups will meet a Smart Dubai Office representative to support with remaining questions about blockchain initiatives in Dubai on Day 1 of programming
    • Competing startups will pitch and showcase to an audience of investors, venture capitalists, dignitaries, public and private sector representatives at the Future Blockchain Summit at DWTC
    • Competing startups will receive free travel and accommodations to and from Dubai
  • Winners
    • Winning startups will receive prize money based on placement
    • Winning startups will have meeting scheduled with the support of Smart Dubai Office with potential clients

What is the process for competitors?

  • All companies must submit an application through the Blockchain Challenge website by April 1st, 2018.
  • 15 competing startups for the SDO Blockchain Challenge will be selected by April 7, 2018.
  • The selected startups will compete at the SDO Blockchain Challenge in Dubai on May 3, 2018.
  • The judges will select the three winning startups of the SDO Blockchain Challenge.

When is the deadline for applying?
The application deadline is April 1st, 2018.

What are the requirements to apply?

  • Your startup must be implementing blockchain technology in its solution or product.
  • Your startup must be a for-profit business.
  • Your business must be a scalable product or service and in-market (MVP or pilots are fine but must fundamentally be beyond “idea stage”).
  • Your startup must have at least two team members.
  • Your startup’s product or service should be possible to implement in Dubai from a technical and legal standpoint.
  • Your startup must be willing to implement your product or service in Dubai.
  • Your startup must ultimately be enhancing the quality of life and city of Dubai.
  • Your startup must be less than 3 years old

What are the prize packages and how are they broken down?
The three top winners of the SDO Blockchain Challenge will receive the following prizes:

  • First Place $20,000 USD
  • Second Place $15,000 USD
  • Third Place $10,000 USD

What are the judging criteria?
Judges will evaluate startups based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative use of blockchain technology
  • Size of market opportunity
  • The extent to which the product solves a problem for a particular target industry
  • A clear and strong market rollout plan
  • Traction (customers, revenues, users, etc.)
  • The extent to which the product increases efficiency and cost savings, and can be implemented effectively
  • A clear revenue model
  • A motivated and skilled team
  • Presentation skills

How many team members are allowed to be present and to pitch?
If you are selected as a finalist, SDO will be providing one roundtrip ticket to Dubai from your home base. Any additional members are welcome but at your own expense. Only one team member is allowed to pitch on competition day.

How long is the pitch?
The pitch will be strictly 3 minutes long. There will be a 2 minutes for question and answer from the judges. However, you have the chance to network together and perhaps answer any inquiries afterwards.

When are pitch decks due and what format do they need to be in?
The final presentations are due on May 2 at midnight (Dubai time). They should be submitted in pdf and ppt format, with slides 16:9 ratio. You are highly encouraged to have pitch decks prepared well beforehand. The program includes a pitching workshop, so you will have the chance to edit it while you are here but not enough time to do it from scratch.

How do I submit my presentation deck?
All final pitch decks should be submitted as a .pdf and .ppt file. You will need to send them through a link or submitted via USB to Tarek Ghobar, 1776’s startup services manager in Dubai (tarek@union.vc).

If I have a question about my pitch, who should I contact?
For any questions regarding your pitches, please email Tarek Ghobar, Startup Manager in Dubai, at tarek@union.vc.


Logistics

If I lose my credentials, can I get another one?
You can contact Tarek Ghobar at tarek@union.vc if you lose your identification badge.

Can I get additional credentials for investors, partners, family, and friends?
The SDO Blockchain Challenge event is open to the public, therefore credentials will not be necessary for access. Everyone is welcome!

Where can I find the full schedule?
The schedule can be found on the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge website and a final, updated version will be shared via email a few days before your arrival.

When and where is the competition?
The location of the competition day will be communicated closer to the event day.

What is the dress code?
Dress code is casual/smart casual for all days of participation.

What hotels are we staying in? Where are they?
Accommodation information will be shared via email once confirmed.

What is the easiest way to get to/from events?
The easiest way to travel is to take a taxi/Careem/Uber or the metro.

How do I book my travel?
You will need to fill out a form once you are confirmed as a finalist with the details of your departure airport, passport, etc. Flight and accommodation will be booked on your behalf. You will receive all confirmation documents via email when arrangements are ready.

What types of transportation can I use to get to/from the airport?
Taxi/Uber is the recommended option to get to/from the airport.

I would like to arrive in Dubai before May 2 and leave after May 3, is that ok?
Yes, but please know that SDO will pay for flight and accommodation only for the official competition days: May 2-3. Any days you stay outside of those dates you will need to arrange and pay for flight and accommodation on your own.

I would like to fly into/out of a city that is not Dubai because I would like to take meetings in other parts of the UAE while I’m here, is that ok?
SDO will only pay for one round-trip ticket (or two travel legs) to Dubai per company. If you’d like to have meetings in other cities, the travel arrangements must be made on your own.

I booked my flight already but I need to make a change. How do I do this?
Please contact Tarek Ghobar, at tarek@union.vc with the changes you would like to make. Please note that you will be responsible for paying any change fees or difference in fares.

Other members on my team want to come to the competition, and I want to make sure we all get on the same flight — what do I do?
Once you receive your flight and accommodation confirmations, you can share with your team members to purchase their flights.

What should I do about airport transportation?
You are responsible for arranging and paying for your transportation to/from the airport. Recommended are taxi, Uber, or Careem.

How should I arrange for a visa if I need one?
If you require a visa, you will need to send the below information to Tarek Ghobar at tarek@union.vc

  • Full name (As it appears on your passport)
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Country of Origin
  • Country of Passport
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Expiry Date (mm/dd/yyyy)

I have other team members that will be traveling to the UAE for the competition and will need to get visas. Will SDO provide an invitation letter for them?
Yes, please email the below information for the respective team members to Tarek Ghobar at tarek@union.vc. Please give Tarek 48 hours to produce the invitation letters.

  • Full name (As it appears on your passport)
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Country of Origin
  • Country of Passport
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Expiry Date (mm/dd/yyyy)

I am going to be in Dubai before/after May 2-3 and want to stay at the same hotel. How can I make this happen?
SDO is providing accommodation for one team member. If you would like to book extra accommodation for additional team members, you will have to make those arrangements.

More than one person from our team will be traveling to the competition, and I want more than one bed in my room — how do I make this happen?
SDO is providing accommodation for one team member. If you would like to book extra accommodation for additional team members, you will have to make those arrangements.

I want to get an additional hotel room(s) for more people on my team or friends and family that are planning to attend the competition — what do I do?
SDO is providing accommodation for one team member. If you would like to book extra accommodation for additional team members, friends, or family, you will have to make those arrangements.