Tech startup Ollang wins the first ever London Business School's prestigious MENA Startup competition – ZAWYA

Ollang, AI Dubbing tech startup, was selected from over 70 startups
Dubai: Leading tech startup Ollang was crowned the winner of the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022. The competition, backed by global giants, Amazon Web Services Activate, Strategy&, part of the PWC network, and regional telecommunications powerhouse Zain, marks the first time the London Business School has brought its highly successful entrepreneurship model to the Middle East.
Ollang from Turkey, a provider of end-to-end human powered AI localisation through subtitles and dubbing for video and audio, and runner-up Vaqat from the UAE, an online platform for companies outsourcing intern support, were announced during the finals held last week in Dubai at the DIFC campus. The 12 finalists made their pitches to the prestigious judging panel made up of Roger Rabbat of Strategy&, Manya Pamnani of Dubai Cultiv8, part of Dubai Economy, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, Philipp Pabst of Dubai Future District Fund and Haya AlMana, currently heading Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Zain Kuwait.
London Business School is leading the charge for entrepreneurs, recognised as being a powerful hub for its global network of alumni entrepreneurs. Its highly successful London-based Incubator has supported and developed over 100 new ventures, helping them to raise an impressive £100 million in seed capital; and it was recently reported in Business Leader, the School’s alumni raised almost $4 billion of funding for their companies last year.
Commenting after the final, one of the competition judges, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) said:
 “This competition has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to expanding our involvement in the startup community in the Middle East in the near future. The innovation and entrepreneurship on display was truly inspiring. Tech startup Ollang, were worthy winners, though I have no doubt many of the finalists will go on to great success with their ventures. I very much hope that this competition can provide the platform for LBS’ next unicorn business and develop the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.” 
Six of the companies founded by alumni from London Business School have gone on to win unicorn status (being valued at more than $1 billion), including Livspace, whose CEO Anuj Srivastava spoke at the final in Dubai.
The London Business School model provides mentorship to startups and access to VCs and has a proven track record of success. Over 93% early-stage companies supported by the London Business School programme over the last 5 years go on to sustained business success.
Ollang, the winning startup provides end-to-end human powered AI localisation through subtitles and dubbing for video and audio globalisation teams, changing the way people communicate. It merges human intelligence with the AI automation power and brings out a technology that it calls: Ollang Augmented Intelligence.
On winning the event, Ebru Yildirim, Founder of Ollang said: “It is a huge honour to be announced as the winner of the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022. The finalists we participated alongside brought incredible ideas and innovation to the competition. We are extremely grateful to be recognised in this prestigious event and to take away the coveted prize. The opportunity provided by the school, the Entrepreneurship Club and Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital is fantastic for startups, helping inspire new entrepreneurs in the region. We are excited for what this achievement means to us as a business, and as we now strive to go to the next level and continue to grow.”
 Ollang walks away with a $15,000 cash prize along with runner up Vaqat receiving $5,000. Beyond this, the competition gives startups the opportunity to develop traction for their companies, reach a wider audience, gain financial investment with access to VCs, exposure to the London Business School global network, and increase their media exposure.
Runner-up Vaqat, founded by LBS alumnus Daniel Robaczewsk, is a platform where companies outsource intern-like tasks to pre-vetted students and can hire the best of them full-time. This platform enables employees to get an intern on-demand, for students to explore various careers, while talent acquisition managers can identify top talent. 
Speaking at the event, co-founder and CEO of Livspace Anuj Srivastava and LBS alumnus said: “Being a part of the LBS MENA Startup competition has been really inspiring and amazing. It was heartening to see and hear the finalists who have come up with some really exciting and cool ideas. Startups have always been the centre of innovation and incubation of innovative solutions, and it is vital that such forward thinking solutions and services get all the recognition they truly deserve. As a proud alumnus of LBS, I was elated to be at the event and supporting the LBS Middle East fraternity as they enable these incredible entrepreneurs to shape their business journey."
 The inaugural competition was created by the new MENA-based Entrepreneurship Club, part of London Business School’s Gulf Association, and supported by the School’s London-based Entrepreneurship Club. The new club, which was founded at the beginning of the year, brings together and supports LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures. With its ambition to grow the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation, London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital also provides support and encouragement to the Entrepreneurship Clubs, and the new competition.
Demand was high for the prestigious competition which received more than 70 applications from right across the MENA region and represented a wide range of sectors.  The competition aims to connect inspiring and innovative Middle East entrepreneurs with prominent VCs and investors alongside extensive mentoring. After rigorous assessment phases, the LBS MENA 2022 finalists were selected out of 20 semi-finalists who followed months of extensive mentoring.
The Competition Finalists: 
The 12 startups in the final have come from across AI, Fintech, Healthtech, e-commerce, HR tech, marketing tech, mobility data, and remote working. They include the following:
About London Business School:
London Business School is one of the world’s leading business schools. London Business School’s academic strength and global outlook drives original and provocative business thinking. They challenge conventional wisdom, transform careers and empower people to change the way the world does business. Renowned for teaching entrepreneurship since the late 90s, for the cultivation of startup ventures, and the promotion of innovation, London Business School is similarly well-known for its research insights into financial markets and its exceptional teaching of the key instruments that drive today’s financial sector.
About London Business School’s The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital:
The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) was forged from a union of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Private Equity at London Business School. The IEPC aims to further the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation and financing and as an accelerant for enterprise growth. The IEPC will support the development of the entrepreneurial mindset and ideas that drive impact, create wealth and advance well-being while giving wider exposure to probing and insightful research into the crucially important aspects of today’s private capital markets, such as venture capital, growth and buyouts, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
 About London Business School Gulf Association’s The Entrepreneurship Club:
The London Business School Gulf Association is the community that brings together all London Business School alumni and students that are currently located in the Middle East or have a special interest in networking in the region. Currently over 2,300 members participate in professional, social activities as well as events that bring together top universities with presence in the region.
A new Entrepreneurship Club was established by the London Business School Gulf Association to create an eco-system for LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures in the MENA region, raising brand awareness of the Club and growing connections within the School’s regional network. The Club aims to manage a programme of networking and support, panel discussions and prominent guest speakers drawn from industry and commerce.
For further information and interview opportunities, contact Natasha Moor at Manara Global:

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