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Rocket Fuel

LEAP's Start-up Pitch Competition

About the competition

We are on the hunt for 90 startups to pitch their business ideas live at LEAP in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 6-9 February 2023. This is your opportunity to win a share of a lucrative prize pool!

After 6 semi-final heats from 6 to 8 February, the 15 best pitches will enter the Grand Finale on 9 February. Five startups will be crowned category winners, and a sixth shall ascend to victory and hold the LEAP Award for the best overall startup. All of this will take place in front of seasoned judges, angel investors, tech experts and government stakeholders from around the world!

Meet Maqsam, winner of

the LEAP Award 2022!

Here's what they said...

"LEAP was one of the most amazing experiences for us as a company. Not just the energy, the exposure, the number of people who are interested. LEAP gave us the exposure to many partners, customers, and investors, who are talking to us today very seriously about growing the business."


LEAP's Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition has six different categories and an award for each one. The six awards divide the start-up entrants by size, scale, the impact they have had on society, amount of funding, years in business and number of employees. 

Successful applicants will take the stage on 6-9 February 2023 live at LEAP to a panel of major global investors and entrepreneurs. The top competitors will then go into the Grand Finale on the 9th of February, with six winners crowned in the categories below: 

LEAP Award

For the strongest, most outstanding startup across the whole competition.

Shooting Star Award

For the early stage startup beginning their journey. 

The Aviatrix Award

For the best, most innovative startup pioneered by women founders.

Technology for Humanity Award

For the startup that best embodies the "tech for humanity" spirit of LEAP.

The Into New Worlds Award

For the most impressive startup occupying the Metaverse and Web 3.0 space.

The Artificial Intelligence Award

For the startup that presents the most exciting, ground-breaking usage of artificial intelligence.


The semi-final judges

Our expert judges are coming from all over the world to find the most brilliant participating startups. From investors at top firms to seasoned tech entrepreneurs, they are looking out for outstanding candidates, ready to impress and achieve success! 

David Gram-hanssen 

Co-founder & Partner, Diplomatic Rebels 

Innovation Leader, Keynote Speaker, Former Venture Partner at Lego Ventures and Co-founder of Lxgo. 

Sonali Goila 

Head - Venture Capital & Private Equity, Panthera Capital Investments  

Sonali is a full-cycle, multi-stage investor, operator and business-builder with over 15 years of experience across emerging markets (Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and India).

Minja Wu  

Principal Partner, SOSV

Minja manages over 20 software companies across logistics, entertainment, fintech, education, gaming, mobile, e-commerce, and real estate.

Dr. Sarah Saska

CEO, Feminuity 

3x Top 100 Powerful Women in Canada. 

Danielle Graham

Managing Partner & Co-Founder, Phoenix Fire  

Founder of the Fierce Founders Programs, the first female-focused accelerator and bootcamp series in Canada.

Tim Ringel  

Investor & Advisory Board Member, Adit Ventures

Tim's investment portfolio counts names like Adomni, AirBnB, Algolia, Animoca Brands, Astrocast, SpaceX and Spotify.

Padmaja Ruparal

Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network Fund 

She has been awarded as one of the ‘Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business’ by Fortune India for 2017, 2018 2019, & 2021. 

Kinga Stanislawsa  

Managing General Partner & Co-Founder, Experior VC 

Founder of Europe’s first ever women-run VC company and named one of the Top 50 Women in Tech in Europe by Forbes.

Yasin Aboudaoud 

Chief Development Officer & Managing Partner, Brinc

His expertise in China in the last 10 years, has allowed him to connect people with products of every kind across the globe.

Walid Faza  

Partner & Chief Operating Officer, MSA Capital

Walid is responsible for investments, partnerships, and running operations for MSA in emerging technology markets.

Hamad Al Fahad

Managing Partner, Tajawoz

A technology leader with over 15 years of experience, growing companies in the telecommunications, security, and IT services industry. Hamad managed tech products with a cumulative online transaction value of $300m+, and 10,000+ active users.

And the judges of

the Grand Finale

Ghazal Alagh
Co-Founder, Mamaearth & Judge, Shark Tank India

Co-Founder of well-known beauty brand MamaEarth, India's latest unicorn, and judge on the popular TV series, Shark Tank India.

Baroness Karren Brady CBE
Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club

Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE is one of the most influential, high profile and respected British female business leaders.

James Caan CBE 
Entrepreneur, businessman, investor & former Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den

One of the UK’s most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs, James was also named LinkedIn’s 2nd most influential voice of 2017.

Steven Bartlett
Entrepreneur, investor, podcaster & current Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den

Newest and youngest ever Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and host of Europe’s most downloaded Business podcast.

The competition timeline

Entries open

Entries close at 11pm (KSA) 

90 successful start-ups are notified 

Final deck for presentation must be submitted

List of session allocations and timings will be published 

Semi-Final Heats 1-6 take place, with 15 start-ups being selected for the Grand Finale 

The 15 qualifying semi-finalists will pitch for the six amazing awards and other potential prizes

The competition

Hall of Fame

Congratulations to our LEAP Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition winners for LEAP 2022, who pitched their technology innovations in front of our esteemed judges on 3 February 2022 in Riyadh.

The LEAP Award

Maqsam is the friendliest cloud communications suite for SMBs in MENA and beyond. Maqsam is a communication solution that allows you to erase borders and reach your global customers wherever they are. 

The Aviatrix Award

GameIT is a Native Cloud Gaming Hub with scientifically designed 3D fun video games for children facing cognitive, behavioral and social challenges growing up.

Tech for Humanity

Nadeera is a social enterprise with objectives to promote sorting-at-source and increase the sustainability of the waste value chain using technologically innovative methods. 

The Shooting Star

Omniful is a quick-commerce operations software for retailers and dark-store operators to ship orders ultra-fast.