One day back in 2014, Nicolas Zaatar, co-founder of NAR, decided to put his know-how on engineering to solve the problem that firefighters were facing when trying to locate small fire spots inside forests. With his best friend and co-founder Charlie El Khoury, he developed as a final year university project, a drone solution that autonomously detect hotspots and assist firefighters during their operation. Upon graduation, the team took their project to the next level and launched their own startup “NAR”. Currently NAR is exploring and working on other solutions such as pipeline monitoring in the oil & gas sector for leakages, encroachments and others.
The Lebanese market is very limited for NAR when it comes to drone applications such as wildfire monitoring and specially pipeline monitoring in the oil and gas sector. Their ambitions drove them to go beyond the Middle East and the country. NAR was selected among the top 2 startups of their batch in speed’s accelerator programme and were sent to Silicon Valley to join the post-accelerator programme Blackbox connect. While there, Zaatar and El Khoury took part in LebNet ignite which offers mentoring, 1o1 meeting with investors and experts feedback.
"It’s never too late to take risks especially if you’re still young and love solving world problems. As we grow, our responsibilities increase, our time becomes limited and it becomes harder to dedicate ourselves to something we’re passionate about." Nicolas Zaatar, co-funder of NAR.
NAR founders wanted to go beyond detection of wildfires and use the drones for anything that could be beneficial to society and where inspections could be made by drones (i.e. agricultural industries, or oil leakage detection).
Their main challenge was acquiring people specialized in the AI field. This was solved by training local talents through online courses and mentoring which proved to be effective.
- Microsoft Imagine Cup: NAR won the competition in Lebanon in 2015
- Speed @BDD: co-organised among others by Berytech, EU|BIC, this acceleration programme hosted NAR in 2015.
- Top 20 Lebanese Entrepreneurs 2015: NAR founders were selected among the top 20 Lebanese entrepreneurs by Executive Magazine.
- Blackbox Connect: accelerator programme that placed NAR in to Silicon Valley and develop their idea further.
- Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC): NAR won the green edition prize in Lebanon, the prize consisted on an incubation programme at Berytech and support from ‘Fondation Diane’ to get a trip to Paris for their participation at the semi-finals of global GSVC.
Berytech is an incubator and Business Development Centre guiding startups and SMEs like NAR through incubation, business support, networking, mentoring. Berytech was the first accredited EU|BIC in the region and EBN member since 2003.
“At Berytech, we are always enthusiastic when we incubate teams like NAR. It gives us great pride to see passionate, talented and hardworking young professionals thriving to resolve world issues.” Ramy Boujawdeh, Berytech Deputy General Manager.
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