Jon Bradford, DFA advisor and the ‘Godfather of European Accelerators’, and DFA’s first batch of entrepreneurs detail how to get it right.

Business Reporter Shoshana knows her way around Europe and the Middle East with a notebook and video camera. She has worked as a multi-media journalist for Channel NewsAsia, Ruptly video news agency, the UN, and most recently, with 7Days in Dubai. She speaks Arabic and English and has degrees in Middle East History and Political Science.

Jon Bradford, Dubai Future Accelerators advisor and the ‘Godfather of European Accelerators’, has launched nine accelerators from Montreal to Moscow. He and DFA’s first batch of entrepreneurs detail how to get it right.

Reach For The Stars

The first and most important is the ambition of the startup and its potential impact as well as the ambitions of the founding team, Bradford says. “We also consider the willingness of the startup to relocate to Dubai for the program and subsequently if they secure a contract.

Finally, we look to their potential willingness to use Dubai as a location from which they might export their capability in the longer term as they expand into other markets.”

Not For Babies

“While we consider applicants on a case-by-case basis, companies should have already built and launched their core technology, and be able to demonstrate traction or use cases,” Bradford says.

“The program is not open to early-stage startups that are still at the ideation or minimal viable product (MVP) stage.”

Companies With Capital

Technology companies that have raised the first stage of funding, or employ some staff are best suited to the program, according to Bradford. “It’s important that a company has the resources to commit to the program, without it being a concern for founders or investors.”

TechStars of the Future

Dany El Eid, founder of augmented reality startup Pixelbug Dany El Eid says that being on the front lines of innovation was key to their selection: “Because of our innovative approach to delivering content and experiences to audiences, we were selected by the DFA to be part of the program.”

Cool Connections

Connections are everything in Dubai, especially when getting your foot in the door of the UAE, Sean Dennis of blockchain startup Loyyal says.

“I think I had an unfair advantage in that I grew up here, and had a lot of contacts coming into the region. Family contacts definitely open up a lot of doors here. Dubai is a relationship-based economy and having the contacts definitely helps, but for people who don’t have them, the DFA really helps open it up.”

An All- Star Crew

A winning team was another deciding factor for their selection, El Eid of Pixelbug says. “We had a very talented and A-caliber team that have been really the driving force behind all this innovation. And the network we have, the support system around us, have validated and constantly supported us in our journey to keep developing and keep innovating.”