Not many can say they have had the chance to demonstrate their work to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
But Pakistan’s Arslan Javed, founder of property platform Graana and generative AI firm Musavir, got to do just that when he took part in Dubai Future Foundation’s accelerator programme.
It started when Musavir was one of 30 startups selected for the programme last year under the theme ‘the future of generative AI in media and communication’ out of some 650 that had applied.
“The crown prince came over to the accelerator to review progress and I showed him an image of an Emirati woman with an Arabian horse and Burj Khalifa in the background,” recalled Javed in an interview with media.
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“So he got naturally attracted to it and came over to see it, and I showed him how Musavir is more culturally sensitive (than its competitors).
“I generated an Emirati woman using another image generator, and it generated a very nice image, but it wasn’t as (culturally) appropriate as ours. He really liked that.”
According to its website, Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) facilitates collaboration between startups, private entities and government to work on pre-specified challenges. It combines startups’ innovation and agility with the scale of forward-thinking public and private sector organisations with the idea that this will position Dubai as an attractive destination for startups and entrepreneurs, and as a citywide testbed for innovative technology.
Up to two members of the chosen teams get flown to Dubai for an in-house residency with flights and accommodations fully paid.
“It’s very intelligent of them. They’re bringing all the talented people from around the world into Dubai,” says Javed.
“In our cohort, we had companies from around 50 nationalities, including the US and Europe.” Musavir was the only one from Pakistan.
Praising the accelerator further, Javed said it entailed many trainings and workshops and helped immensely in networking in the region. In fact, some of their initial B2B clients came as a direct result of this.