Gitex Global, which happened last week is considered the largest technology fair in the region. Lusa visited the fair and spoke with four companies - Adyta, Future Compta, My Lads and Omniflow - that participated in an event organized by ANJE - National Association of Young Entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Lusa, the executive president of Adyta, Carlos Carvalho, made a positive assessment of his participation in the fair.
"Adyta is a company that works in the area of cybersecurity and secure communications, it was born out of research and development projects at the University of Porto, specifically at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto", he says.
The areas the company focuses on are cybersecurity (which includes security testing, consulting) and also secure communication solutions.
In this context, "we have developed an application that allows for encrypted voice and message communication and we are also entering the area of secure communications in an IoT environment [Internet of Things] for 'smart cities' [smart cities", says the manager, who also he is a member of the board of ANJE.
With a presence at Gitex Dubai 2021, Adyta hopes to "hit other markets", he stresses.
"At this moment, we are still a company that is very focused on the Portuguese market, but, given what we do, we have a clear notion that the market is global and therefore we want to go everywhere", emphasizes Carlos Carvalho.
About the company's presence at this event, the CEO highlights it as "very positive".
This is because "we have had several contacts, whether from local entities, here in Dubai, as well as from countries not only in the Middle East, but curiously even some countries in Eastern Europe, which have sought us out both as end customers and as a possibility of partnership , to help us enter these markets," he says.
"I also found it curious that several government entities in Dubai itself had meetings with us, interested in what we are doing in Portugal. It is something that leaves us satisfied and motivated to continue", admits Carlos Carvalho.
The responsible is confident that the entry into Dubai of Adyta, created in 2015, can happen soon.
"We are a company created without recourse to external investment, without risk capital because, as we deal with information, which is often sensitive, we seek to have a sovereignty that is different from what is common" in the 'startups', he says.
Asked whether the fact that Portugal participates in Expo 2020 Dubai contributes to helping Portuguese companies present at Gitex, he says: "I have no doubts that it does".
In fact, "the more companies that come together and we appear as a team in these types of events, it helps. Portugal has a good image, I feel that people respect Portugal, they like it (...), I think we have to be able to capitalize on this more. that we have not done it", but "at this time when we need to bet on recovery, after these difficult periods of covid, I think it is very important that companies come and participate and that there is also more centralized support for this type of action".
Here, at Gitex, "we are with ANJE and it is positive that we carry this flag of Portugal, that we show what we do and that we are not at all behind what other countries do", he concluded.
Tiago Andrade, vice president for digital products at Future Compta, is also present at this fair for the first time.
"It's a strategic region for us, the 'Middle East' [Middle East] and Africa, we think Dubai is the right place to be" and Gitex "is the largest technology fair in the Middle East, a region that spans Africa and also the Asia region," he stresses.
Its presence at the fair "is going well", having contacts with many distributors who intend to distribute the products of the Portuguese company, which "are all oriented towards the area of efficiency, whether energy, solid urban waste", where they claim to be leaders in Portugal, and in the part of the detection of forest and industrial fires, "here [in Dubai] more industrial".
Future Compta is looking for partnerships, distributors, but is always open to investment opportunities.
"We make about 50/60 contacts a day, which is interesting in a fair like this. It's better, in my opinion, than the Web Summit", he says.
Future Compta positions itself as "a leading IoT company, we saw at this fair that we do not have products that compete with ours, which is great, we are in the right place to make a difference", he concludes.
My Lads, a business that consists of an 'engagement' tool that links fans to football clubs and federations, was also present at the fair in Dubai for the first time.
"We started in the football market, but in reality the technology can be applied to different markets. In the case of the football market, what we try to do is reduce this 'gap' that exists between teams and fans because they usually end up being more present on game days or special dates and we try to make an 'engagement' throughout the year," explained Dulce Guarda, 'Chief Growth Officer' (CGO), responsible for the company's growth area and co-founder.
"Our collectibles are always connected to the augmented reality that the fan can access on their mobile phone. Anywhere, wherever you are, you can take pictures with the player, visit the stadium, all private areas, get to know everything that exists within the club of your choice or federation of your choice, and share this information with all your friends and family," he explains
The deal started in 2020, first with Benfica, then came the pandemic and closed with Sporting Clube de Portugal and the Portuguese Football Federation (PF). Now, they are starting with Futebol Clube do Porto and Atlético de Madrid.
"We are in negotiations with around 30 clubs and federations, some of which have already been signed, to prepare the World Cup in Qatar", he says.
At this moment, My Lads sells the physical product still in Portugal, but has signed contracts with South America, Spain and will also start in the United Kingdom.
Participation in the fair "has been good, one of our investors is also present here in this region, it turns out to be interesting for us to be present at this fair as well, so that we can start working exactly on the World Cup next year", adds Dulce Guarda.
The My Lads product can also be applied to 'branding', so brands that want to, for example, sponsor one of the teams or some of the experiences.
"We have been talking to very interesting people in the telecommunications area, even at the level of other markets here in the region, who are interested in applying augmented reality technology in their businesses", he says.
The company hopes to start the business in Dubai this year.
And what other markets? "In principle also Saudi Arabia, we have already had very interesting contacts here from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition to the United Arab Emirates."
In its range of products, the company has Cristiano Ronaldo, through the FPF.
"It is one of our official partners and we have the Cristiano Ronaldo collectible and also the experience associated with augmented reality", he says.
"For next year, we want to be at least in the first three 'top' clubs of each strategic country for us: namely European clubs and also start already in the United States and then in terms of partnerships with 'branding'. We also want to start now close these partnerships, for example with official 'sponsors' of the teams, who end up monetizing the project", he stresses.
"At this moment, for the companies here at Gitex there was no great relationship [with the Portugal Pavilion] because the Expo ends up being physically far away from the Gitex space, but it turns out to be interesting to have people who come to visit the Expo and end up being more a few days and also visit Gitex. Therefore, this ends up having some impact, but perhaps not directly at the business level", he says.
Omniflow, in turn, is the only company that had ever been present at a Gitex.
"We were here in the past, more as a 'startup', now we are in a more 'business' part, so this presence is very different" from what we had in the past, says Paulo Guedes, CGO of the Portuguese technology company. "Right now, we are here trying to leverage the contacts we already have in this region," he adds.
"Omniflow created a sustainable platform for cities to create their smart services", in energy and with service integration, says Guedes.
"Dubai is a bridge to this entire region, it is an area where it is evidently easy to expose ourselves to Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf area, allowing us to create links with these regions and with important partners," he concludes.