A three-day workshop participated by three startups from the Middle East and Singapore took place last week at the Marriott Al Jaddaf, Dubai. The three participants for the Marriott TestBED bootcamp, as the workshop was called, were handpicked after a long screening process.
As many as 200 startups from around the world applied to be a part of the workshop. Only six of them were shortlisted for the final round, which then saw only three startups going all the way through. These included:
- Beachill from Lebanon.
- Twistar from Dubai
- Unified Inbox from Singapore
Beachill was selected because of its innovative solar-powered beach mattresses that charge guests’ mobile devices. It’s an eco-friendly product that can also be used to keep your drinks cool. Twistar made it all the way through because of its smart customer feedback device that listens to and analyzes a guest’s voice and actions for real-time insights.
Singapore’s Unified Inbox, meanwhile, impressed the judges by showing off their self-titled platform that enables guests to communicate with smart devices using voice and text-based commands.
The purpose of the workshop was to help the three participating firms to better understand the 10-week acceleration program and come up with a roadmap. The acceleration program will require each startup to pilot their innovations in three Marriott properties in the UAE.
Marriott Hotels launched the TestBED initiative in Europe last year before bringing it over to the Middle East and Africa region in 2017. The program aims to provide regional startups with an exciting opportunity to test their ready-to-pilot products in a major Marriott property.
The initiative is beneficial to Marriott as well as their hotels get a chance to further revolutionize their services in the ME and Africa.
Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Marriott International’s vice president of premium and select brands for the Middle East & Africa, said they were overwhelmed by the response from Middle Eastern startups.
“We have received nearly 200 applications, which exceeded the number we got in Europe. We did not expect it,” Schulze-Potgieter noted.
The Acceleration phase of the TestBED 2017 is expected to be wrapped up by Feb 6, 2018.