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LEAP 2023 to award $1.54 million cash prize in startup pitch challenge and cloud hackathon

Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice and Shark Tank judges among those attending LEAP23

LEAP 2023 to award $1.54 million cash prize in startup pitch challenge and cloud hackathon
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Let’s just say it: It’s going to be bigger and better. After last year’s edition saw more than $6 billion worth of investments, LEAP 2023, a major tech event in Riyadh, will see an increase in investors, exhibitors, and attendees.

The second edition, to run from February 6-9 at the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Center, will host startup competitions with a prize purse of $1.54 million.

The inaugural LEAP Rocket Fuel Startup Pitch Challenge is a collaboration between the kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the MiSK Foundation, and NTDP. It involves 90 global startups to compete to be one of the 15 nascent businesses selected to pitch before a judging panel consisting of Shark Tank India’s Ghazal Alagh, Baroness Karren Brady, an aide to The Apprentice’s Alan Sugar, Saudi angel investor Tala Al Jabri, and Dragon’s Den stars James Caan and Steven Bartlett.

The judges will present the LEAP award and its accompanying $250,000 main prize to the outstanding startup, while $150,000 will go to categories like the winning early-stage startup, the most innovative startup pioneered by women, the new business that best embodies the LEAP spirit, the most impressive metaverse and Web 3.0 startup, and the pitch that represents the best use of artificial intelligence.

The tech event will also host the winners’ ceremony of the ongoing Alibaba Cloud Saudi Hackathon, which comes with a prize pool of $532,000.

Organizers said the response to the four-day hackathon, which started on January 29, was huge. The winning solutions – those that have made the best use of Alibaba Cloud technology to facilitate deployment, development, scalability, and fast go-to market solutions – will be presented with their awards on February 9.

LEAP 2023 will see 920 scheduled investors, including Sequoia Capital, Octopus Ventures, and 500 Global, which controls under management $1.9 trillion in assets. 

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