Selection will help spearhead startup’s expansion into air cargo through access to industry expertise and funding

Qafila, the UAE’s first digital freight forwarder, has been selected by Intelak, the UAE’s leading aviation, travel and tourism-focused incubator, as one of the four winners of its sixth cohort. Winners were selected from more than 100 applications from around the world, following a week-long intensive pre-incubation bootcamp with ten finalists and a “Shark-Den” style demo day. Judges included Alex Alexander, the Emirates Group Chief Technology Officer; Rania Rostom, Chief Communications & Innovation officer, GE Global; Yousuf Lootah, Director of Tourism Development & Investments at Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism); and Hans Henrik Christensen, VP of Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC) at Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Upon being selected as one of the four winning start-ups, Atif Rafiq, CEO and Co-founder at Qafila, said, “This is an honour and an exciting time for us in our journey. This will allow us to have access over the next two months to key industry experts who can provide mentorship and help us fine tune our air cargo module, so that we can offer the same level of transparency and ease of shipping we currently offer for sea cargo. Our co-founder, Jithin Manoharan, our CTO, Imtiaz Hassan and I are grateful to Intelak for the opportunity to grow our business and provide a much-needed tool for air shipments.”

Qafila not only moves freight, it simplifies logistics. It uses technology to offer a digital freight & logistics platform where it currently supports FCL (Full Container Load) by ocean with plans to expand into air shipments and LCL (Less Container Load) by 2020. The platform is designed to enhance the customer experience, streamline operational efficiencies and provide around the clock customer support. Qafila’s platform offers shippers instant quotes, the convenience of online booking, management of shipment and finally track & trace across the supply chain with live notifications on a mobile app. This allows the shipper to create operational efficiencies, saving them not only time but cost in man-hours through a very transparent process.

Rafiq continued, “One of the key drivers for our business is the lack of transparency on the status of shipments and the needs and documentation requirements at multiple levels between shippers and different stakeholders up to the final customer. We hope to reduce man-hours and unnecessary documentation with a digital alternative.”

As part of Intelak, Qafila will receive a cash prize of AED 50,000, which will be distributed during key milestones on their entrepreneurial journey. They will also take part in Intelak’s two-month intensive learning-by-doing incubation program, which consists of structured workshops, mentorship, and a workspace to build their venture at DTEC. The incubation kicked off in early October and will conclude with an Investor Demo Day in December, during which each startup will get the opportunity to pitch to industry experts, angel investors, and venture capitalists for potential further collaboration and/or investment.

Photo caption: From left: Rania Rostom, Chief Communications & Innovation Officer at GE MENAT, Atif Rafiq founder and CEO at Qafila, CTO Imtiaz Hassan, Cofounder Jithin Manoharan, Alex Alexander, Chief Technology Officer at Emirates Group, Hans Henrik Christen