Mindshare MENA & STEP Group launch The StartUp Studio
Posted on May 17, 2018

Mindshare MENA and STEP Group have recently announced the launch of The StartUp Studio, a first of its kind program in the region, which is set to facilitate partnerships between corporates and start-ups to deliver technology-based business solutions across fintech, adtech, and martech.

Nizar Fakih, co-Founder & VP of Strategic Partnerships at STEP Group said, “In the past five years, we have worked extensively with over 1,000 startups from the region through STEP Conference and other entrepreneurial programs, and the recurring challenge founders have voiced was about the difficulty to access and work with big corporations. For this reason we believe that a platform such as The StartUp Studio is essential to facilitate this process for startups and also add value to companies looking for innovative solutions to their strategic business challenges.”

With fast-paced growth and dynamic consumer needs, businesses today need to stay ahead of the curve and continuously adapt to deliver successful results. The talent and expertise required for necessary transformation often sits outside a company, and increasingly resides in startups or emerging entrepreneurs. The StartUp Studio will build the bridge between both worlds. 

“Client feedback clearly shows the need for digital transformation across the businesses they operate. Some are already structuring for this change, so we saw this opportunity to create a defined innovation platform, by joining hands with STEP Group. The goal is to create valuable products/solutions for The StartUp Studio clients. Initially, we will have two key tracks, Fintech and Adtech/Martech covering areas of expertise like Blockchain, AI, Payments, Banking, Smart Finance Management, Performance & Predictive Analytics, personalization and more all focused on specific technologies keeping a startup-side approach at the crux of the program. Later, as program accelerates we will bringing more tracks to help provide tech enabled business solutions,” said TJ Lightwala; Head of Future Adaptive Specialist Teams (FAST), Mindshare MENA.

The keynote speaker at the launch event, Yousuf Al Mulla, Partner at E11 Capital, knows exactly how important it is to drive this cross collaboration both within in the corporate & government sector. The launch event also hosted a panel highlighting the need for collaboration exactly in line with The StartUp Studio’s vision, led by Zaira Lakhpatwala, Managing Editor, Communicate Magazine with Khalid Hassan, Head of Performance & Programmatic MEA and Nadine Mezher, co-Founder at Sarwa.co.

Ravi Rao, CEO of Mindshare MENA views The StartUp Studio as a logical and natural progression for Mindshare in the region,  “Being adaptive is at the heart of Mindshare’s culture and thinking.  Our clients are increasingly seeking tech based solutions & the growing startup market often is the best source for the necessary expertise. We strongly believe Mindshare can help accelerate this need in the market, and are very proud to be the first in MENA to put together a results based opt-in model in place.”

The StartUp Studio is a dedicated opt-in program facilitated by Mindshare MENA and STEP Group where companies can access qualified startups to deliver solutions to their briefed business challenge. The program consists of three core phases; firstly, a disruption workshop where industry specific future trends are used as a thought starter to build a client specific business brief; secondly, based on the brief, a hosted session matches the client with multiple pre-selected relevant startups, and finally, shortlisted implementable proposals are delivered against the client’s briefed business challenges. The first sessions of the pilot program are aimed to start as of June 2018, with the full pilot program completed by August 2018.