The ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition saw a selection of the region's most innovative travel and tourism start-ups give pitches on the ATM Travel Tech Stage for the potential to earn up to $500,000.
Alaa Ismail Al Haija, Founder and CEO of AladdinB2B, SalesMENA, and the Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition; Hadi Saeed AlShakhori, Business Incubation Manager at Wa'ed; Walid Tarabih, Founder and CEO of PLATX, and former advisor to the UAE Prime Minister's Office; Matthew Gardiner, Founder of A1 AI; and Bashar Sami El-Khasawneh, CEO
In addition to 'Welcome to the World,' the judges considered proposals from AirportAssist.com, Elves, Gauvendi, Hotailors, Lykos, Octoos, on arrival, Road.Travel, SmartGuide, SLF, S-Rate, Teamatix, Telgani, and Travelexic.
'Welcome to the World' intends to address the issue of internet travel firms charging exorbitant commission fees (OTA). The platform, which Founder and CEO Stefanie Schachtschabel describes as "YouTube for tourism," allows tourism firms and influencers to drive direct bookings commissions. -by sharing videos for free
We are certainly very thrilled," Schachtschabel remarked after being presented with her award and payment. We've worked hard to get to where we are now, and having the support of so many investors means a lot to us. So, how am I doing? That is for certain!
"We're in the middle of a seed round, which means we're taking on new investors." These monies will be utilized to implement cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence, to monetize our data and to expand our business to the 48 destinations that we are currently pursuing," she added.
'Welcome to the World' has already attracted brands such as Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Accor, Address Hotels + Resorts, W Hotels, Radisson Blu, and Ritz-Carlton Dubai, with over 185,000 monthly customers. The money came from the first ever ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition, on top of the $264,000 raised in the firm's pre-seed round.
'Welcome to the World,' which won first place at the ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition, will now compete for a second $500,000 investment as part of the hit TV show Meet the Drapers.
SmartGuide, a digital tour guide platform, and Road. Travel, a route marketplace, came in second and third, respectively.
"I'm an entrepreneur myself, so I know what it takes to have a dream to be successful," AladdinB2B's Alaa Ismail Al Haija said of the competition's goals. The most important thing is to feel supported and not to feel alone. That is why entrepreneurs are receiving so much assistance in Dubai today. The most essential thing is the ecology, and I'm privileged to be a small part of it."
"The ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition is a brilliant idea, which we feel will function as a springboard for innovative travel and tourism companies trying to alter our sector for the better," said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME for Arabian Travel Market. I'd like to congratulate all of the finalists, especially Stefanie and the other members of the Welcome to the World team.