The Surpluss wins LBS MENA Startup Competition

Zeal and Heluxo were named runner-ups in this year’s competition

MENA Startup Competition - The Surpluss - 1140x346

The Surpluss, the world’s first B2B platform for industrial asset exchange, has won the London Business School (LBS) MENA Startup Competition 2023 at the AstroLabs Academy Campus in Dubai.

The Surpluss is an innovative enterprise offering cross-industrial collaboration that aims to convert under-utilised resources into value. With a growing customer base in the UK, Denmark and the UAE, The Surpluss will, within the next year, assist 500 companies in the UAE take transformative climate action to halve their emissions by 2030. 

Hisham Akhtar, judge and program manager at Plug and Play, commended The Surpluss for their innovative approach and potential impact on environmental sustainability.

“I am very happy to have witnessed this strong selection of startups and pleased to have been part of the judging panel for this year's LBS MENA Startup Competition," he said, praising the competition's excellent organisation and the high quality of the startups from the region.

He added: "I would like to extend my congratulations to the London Business School Entrepreneurship Club for their outstanding work in curating a strong lineup of participating companies."

Sharif El Badawi, judge and the CEO of Dubai Future District Fund, commended The Surpluss for their ingenuity.

He said: “As venture capitalists and investors, what piques our interest are out-of-the-box and novel business ideations that provide exclusive solutions across the board. Our enthusiasm lies in fostering and elevating such startups, as they are the ones to bring real change to the entrepreneurial frontier in the region.

"The Surpluss platform has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about and manage industrial waste. It is especially timely given the upcoming COP28 in the UAE, which will focus on accelerating sustainable solutions. We eagerly await to see what Surpluss has in store and look forward to witnessing all the participants ascend to exceptional levels of success."

Rana Hajirasouli, founder of The Surpluss, said winning the competition - now in its second year - would open new doors for the business.

“The Surpluss was created as an answer to the climate change challenges that businesses face. Winning this competition in the Year of Sustainability resonates our purpose louder. This distinguished award will greatly improve our recognition across the UAE and across the MENA region, helping us to attract new and exciting opportunities, and deepen the strength of our network,” she said.

Zeal, a Cairo-based fintech company, and Hulexo, a UAE-based retail ERP system provider, were the competition runners-up.

The 2023 LBS MENA Startup Competition builds on the event’s growing reputation as a dynamic platform for fostering innovation in MENA. Supported by the LBS Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC), the competition has solidified its position as a crucial link connecting aspiring entrepreneurs with venture capitalists and investors throughout the region. It represents a distinctive opportunity for founders to catapult their startups to greater success, secure essential financial support, expand their market reach, and receive valuable media visibility.

This year’s competition attracted more than 90 applications and saw ten seed-stage startup finalists present their pitches to a panel of distinguished judges.

From sponsorship packages and awards generously offered by Innobayt, AWS Activate, Floward and community partner AstroLabs, to an impressive cash sponsorship of $USD10,000 from BNK Holding KSCC, a privately held shareholding company headquartered in the State of Kuwait, this year’s event attracted considerable backing. Other forms of invaluable support included immersive workshops hosted by respected businesses, such as Spark! Studios, ADG Legal, Bambucorn, and Khwarizmi Ventures.

Bader Al-Kharafi, Founder of BNK Holding & Vice Chairman & Group CEO of Zain Group, said: “This competition continues to showcase the remarkable entrepreneurial talent in the MENA region, reaffirming our belief in the potential for innovation and growth in this dynamic ecosystem. Witnessing the creativity and dedication of these startups has been inspiring, and I am excited to see their continued progress.

"BNK Holding remains committed to supporting emerging businesses and the London Business School MENA Startup Competition, and this competition aligns perfectly with our mission to foster entrepreneurship. Congratulations to all the winners and may your success serve as an inspiration to others. We look forward to witnessing your continued growth and innovation in the years to come.”

London Business School’s IEPC is a key backer of the competition, offering access to education, training and business and alumni network that it both has produced and continues to support.

In total the entire package of support is valued at a total of $USD80,000.

Speaking at the event, LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné, said: “On behalf of LBS and the School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, my heartfelt congratulations to the winners. The School very much looks forward to hearing more about your continued success and future endeavours.

"What heartens me about the LBS MENA Startup Competition is the participation from across the region in this competition, and the support the School, its local alumni community and the IEPC is giving to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are witnessing, right across MENA, the development of an ecosystem that allows for the fast flow of talent, information and resources that helps entrepreneurs quickly find what they need at each stage of growth,” he said. 

The full list of finalists participating in this year’s completion included the following startups:

  • AHAD, a cyber security company based in UAE;
  • Arab Therapy, a wellness company based in Jordan;
  • Caena, a startup fundraising marketplace based in UAE;
  • DUDI, a wellbeing company based in UAE;
  • Hulexo, a retail point-of-service providing company based in UAE;
  • Innotech, a 3D construction company based in Oman;
  • Organic Waste Management Solutions, a food waste management company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
  • Playbook, a media and women career empowerment based in the Kingdom of Bahrain;
  • The Surpluss, an industrial waste management company based in the UAE;
  • Zeal, a fintech and payment facilitation company based in Egypt.