Start-ups from around the world are being invited to go head-to-head to win a share of a $600,000 prize fund at the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition, and to pitch their businesses to powerhouse venture capitals (VCs) and leading international investors.

The competition will be held as part of LEAP, the world’s largest debut technology event, which will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in February 2022.

Entries are now open for the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition, which will challenge start-ups in a pitch contest to find some of the most exciting and impactful new businesses from around the world.

Ninety start-ups will be invited to pitch their business ideas live on stage during LEAP on 1st and 2nd February.

The finalists will have just five minutes to present their best pitches to a panel of international and local investors during LEAP, and convince them that they have what it takes to be one of the top 10 businesses who will go into the Grand Final on 3rd February.

These 10 best entrepreneurs will then get another chance to showcase the merits of their businesses, scored on creativity, innovation, potential, functionality and impact on people and society.

The winner will be presented with the LEAP Award for the strongest, most outstanding start-up across the whole competition, and will be awarded the grand prize of $200,000.

The finalists will also compete for three other awards, including The Shooting Star Award for best early- stage start-up, which will win $100,000; the Aviatrix Award for best female-led start-up; and the

Technology for Humanity Award for the start-up that best embodies the spirit of LEAP “Technology for Humanity”. The winners of these awards will each receive a prize of $150,000.

LEAP has assembled a world-class judging panel of celebrity investors and business leaders to assess the Rocket Fuel Pitch Competition contestants and put them through their paces.

The panel will include: Steven Bartlett, businessman, speaker, investor and content creator, best known for the BBC’s Dragons’ Den; Baroness Karren Brady, business executive and television personality; James Caan, entrepreneur and television personality; Kelly Hoppen, interior designer, author and entrepreneur; Michael Salgado, retired Real Madrid footballer and celebrity investor; Dr. Nabeel Koshak, Chief Executive Officer and board member of the Saudi Venture Capital Co., a prominent Saudi academic, entrepreneur and angel investor, and Hattan Ahmed, Director of Entrepreneurship at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the core of the technology sector, so it is fitting that the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition will recognize some of the best start-ups worldwide as part of LEAP. Saudi Arabia is developing its own booming start-up ecosystem, supported by the Saudi government and private investors, and we look forward to welcoming outstanding international start-ups to join us in Riyadh for LEAP,” said H.E. Eng. Haitham Alohali, Vice Minister at Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

“I am honored and excited to be speaking at LEAP, which brings together the worlds of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation all in one place,” said Steven Bartlett, Founder of Social Chain and an investor on BBC One show Dragons’ Den.

LEAP is the largest debut technology event in history, taking place from the 1st – 3rd of February 2022 in Riyadh, and is set to become a truly global platform for the entire innovation ecosystem, connecting pioneers and disruptors with business and government leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and more to experience and learn about the technologies of the future.

The Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition is taking place as a part of LEAP’s Investor Program, which will connect local and international VC investors and funds through an exclusive line-up of matchmaking, networking and investment events that will take place during LEAP.

The investor program will include workshops, 1-on-1 meetings and after-hours functions, to connect VCs and funds from the Middle East region with new tech-focused investment opportunities, as well as supporting local start-ups to explore potential new sources of funding from outside the region.

“LEAP will feature an extensive, dedicated program of activities for investors in line with Saudi Arabia’s aims of developing its own entrepreneurial ecosystem and technology industry. Informa is very excited to be organizing the program and the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition to showcase the ingenuity and business potential of local and international start-ups and to connect them with a global investor audience,” said Michael Champion, Regional Executive Vice President – MEA at Informa.

Entries for the Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition close on Jan 18, 2022.