Yesterday, Dubai hosted its first TechCrunch Meetup and PitchOff event at Turn8 TheCribb in Al Quoz. The pitch format consisted of 2 minute presentation (no slides) followed by a 3 minute Q&A featuring TechCrunch Editor-at-Large Mike Butcher, who’s in town for the Step Conference taking place today.
I caught a few of the pitches. Some were very well done and clearly companies that were beyond the “pitch” stage, while some were downright atrocious and me wonder what, if any, pre-screening the organizers had done. The venue was over-packed and could have been organized better. Nevertheless, here were the winners:
3rd Place – Laundrybox
Laundrybox are a laundry pick-up/delivery service. They install lockers in buildings (you’ve seen them in some of the Emaar properties in Dubai), where residents drop off their laundry. They’ll pick up the clothes – have them pressed/cleaned – and returned back to your locker. You pay via the app or using the credit card machine built into the lockers. LaundryBox has raised $5M in funding from the Middle East with Fadi Ghandour as one notable investor. They are also launching a new brand called Mybox whereby the lockers can be used for e-commerce/other logistics providers for deliveries, thereby avoiding the hassle of being home. And in case you’re curious, this is how they sign-up new buildings.
2nd Place – Melltoo
Melltoo is a P2P classifieds platform that takes care of payments and logistics to make the reselling process hassle-free. Want to sell your iPhone? Once you’ve identified the buyer on the marketplace and confirmed the price, Melltoo will pickup the item from you and deliver it to the buyer. Once the sale is completed, they’ll automatically credit your account for the money. Melltoo has raised $205K in funding locally.
1st Place – BitOasis
I didn’t manage to see this pitch but am familiar with Ola Doudin, the co-founder of BitOasis, who gave the pitch yesterday. BitOasis is the Middle East’s first Multi-Signature Bitcoin wallet making it easy to buy, use and spend bitcoin in the Middle East. They are currently in invite-only beta phase. Considering the scale of potential market, it’s no surprise they were the winner of the PitchOff competition. BitOasis will be a part of StartupAlley at TechCrunch Disrupt in NYC this coming May.