Sia Partners launches competition for CX start-ups in Middle East

08 January 2020 3 min. read

Global consultancy Sia Partners has teamed up with Riyadh-based BIAC to launch a new customer experience challenge for tech start-ups operating in various locations across the GCC.

Applications are now being accepted to this year’s Middle East APIficator programme launched by global management consultancy Sia Partners in collaboration with BIAC, a subsidiary of the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company. APIficator is aimed at tech start-ups in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait with a focus on innovative customer experience solutions.

Open to individuals or a team, the competition seeks innovative technological solutions – either in progress or proposed (although a project’s maturity will be taken into account under the criteria) – for businesses that address customer experience challenges in areas such as social media listening, humanising chatbots, experience personalisation, self-service solutions, and customer data collection.

“APIficator is more than just a challenge or a competition, it is the opportunity for regional innovative startups to build long lasting business partnerships with us that will create value and enable business growth in the Middle East," said Roberto Wyszkowski, a Partner at Sia Partners.

What it takes to win

As outlined in the guide, entries will be evaluated according to several criteria – “designed to judge the technical resilience of the API or software, the project’s business vision and the cohesion within the team” – with reference to impact, innovation, adaptability, feasibility, and originality. There is also a practical element. The first question; does the use of the proposed tech respond to a need or problem?

Agenda for the Challange

Submissions are due by the February 10th with finalists announced in the following fortnight, after which the selected start-ups will pitch before a jury in Riyadh in early March. And up to three laureates will be in line for some serious prizes, including six months’ worth of coaching from a Sia business mentor, support in the co-creation of a technology or service offering, and access to Sia’s global network.

With the consultancy having recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary, that in-house network – which continues to grow apace through ongoing acquisitions and a new affiliate programme – alone now spans 25 offices in 16 countries worldwide, with a headcount of 1,400-plus professionals generating revenues in excess of $250 million. Beyond that, the firm has a roster of over 350 clients worldwide.

In addition to the other prizes, the chosen winners – to be revealed at an awards ceremony in mid-March – will receive up to $25,000 worth of ‘Sia Tokens’, which can be exchanged for various means of additional support, such as aid in creating communication medium, assistance regarding legal compliance, data science support, pitch training, and help in formalising a business model or plan.

Supporting Sia Partners as a programme partner in the Middle East is Saudi-based company BIAC, which focuses on the operation and management of incubators, accelerators, entrepreneurship and technology support platforms in addition to offering specialised consulting and training services and facilitating access to finance through a collaborative approach with the Kingdom’s investment community.

Oussama Ajdor, a Senior Consultant at Sia: “APIficator is a wonderful opportunity for us to build bridges between our clients and innovative startups offering disruptive technologies in customer experience.”