Dubai: The UAE’s homegrown AI startups are starting to show up on investors’ radar, with one of them – Bedu – expecting to raise between $5 million to $7 million for a pre-seed funding round.
The Dubai-based company, which launched in December 2021, will be using the new funds to ‘enhancing the capabilities of our ‘AI Builder Tool’’, said Amin Al Zarouni, founder.
“We are not solely focused on AI for its own sake. We’re dedicated to harnessing the impactful synergy between AI and the evolving Web3.0 landscape. This fusion opens new horizons for businesses, enhancing customer experiences, streamlining operations, and driving innovation.
“By emphasizing AI within the context of Web3.0, we’re addressing a broader spectrum of opportunities and challenges, further differentiating Bedu in the startup arena.”
Such differentiation can be a decisive factor, given that AI is getting everyone’s attention and seen as the tech space to be in. Every tech company wants to be involved in creating some or the other form of AI – and making sure it catches investors’ fancy.
At the same time, there is also a lot of hype around the tech and what it can do. Bedu and Al Zarouni are solely interested in what their version can actually deliver for clients.
The AI Builder Tool, for instance, allows businesses - and individuals - to create immersive digital experiences using AI, ‘without requiring any technical expertise’.
“This approach resonates strongly with investors and customers who are seeking genuine innovation that addresses real-world needs,” said Al Zarouni. “Our recently launched Bedu AI products are tailored for B2B interactions, each serving a specific role based on their functionality.
“’Docusense’, for instance, streamlines document processing by analyzing inbound documents via email to trigger workflows or converting them into transactions.
“Our Mediasense image processing AI product is for organizations dealing with large volumes of pictures, facilitating instant grouping.”
For a company that only launched in 2021, being in line for up to $7 million in new funding does represent a breakthrough. At a time when private equity or venture capital funding has been running a bit sedate after a blockbuster period between second-half 2020 all the way to first-half 2022.
Al Zarouni is not perturbed. “Although Bedu has been operational for more than a year, the timing of our pre-seed round is geared towards acquiring necessary resources to effectively drive our vision,” he added. “During this period, we were heavily focused on experimenting with innovative Web3.0 and identifying the most impactful product to invest in for our long-term success.
“Bedu has also leveraged an existing network and strategic partnerships to access funding sources. By tapping venture capitalists, Bedu seeks partners who not only provide capital but bring valuable insights and connections to the table.”
Our investment in the company's development has been substantial, driven by our exploration in the field and the creation of our AI products. Valuations in the market can significantly differ based on various factors, such as a company's growth stage, revenue, trajectory, competitive landscape, and market sentiment
Getting heard over the AI ‘noise’
As far as funding inflows are concerned, 2024 could be the breakout year for AI-focussed startups in the UAE, the Gulf and the Middle East. Investors will, for sure, will want to check out the proof-of-concept thoroughly before they commit funds.
This is where Bedu’s operational run since December 2021 can be handy.
“In the dynamic landscape of AI and machine learning startups, the competition is indeed fierce,” the Bedu CEO said. “And the noise level can be overwhelming at times.
“However, we see this as an opportunity rather than a challenge…”