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Reinventing startup incubation in the digital age

InspireU — Saudi Telecom Company
Case Study
PiServe helps Saudi Telecom Company to reimagine the InspireU startup accelerator into a highly secure, transparent, and available digital environment

About the client

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is a frontrunner in telecommunications and a national pioneer in digital enablement. It maintains an overarching presence in the MENA region and is purpose-driven in delivering world-class ICT solutions for industry verticals, including Fintech, Media, and Cybersecurity. Today, STC is trusted worldwide for steering transformation through innovation and digital leadership.


STC launched InspireU as part of its social responsibility and firm sustainability commitments. It is a startup accelerator targeting financial, administrative, and technical assistance for budding entrepreneurs and SMEs. Since its inception, InspireU’s performance has been impressive, launching over 70 startups and generating 600k+ employment locally. Now, to build on the success and help InspireU play an affirmative role in the nation’s bold socio-economic reform measures, STC intends to completely digitalize the startup onboarding and mentorship cycle with improved outcomes.

Business challenges

As an initiative, InspireU is wholly aligned with STC’s stated purpose of enriching people’s personal and professional lives. Seeking collaborative growth at the confluence of financing, ideas, and technology, it soon clocked over SAR10bn ($2.67bn) in financial transactions. However, as InspireU grew in size, buoyed by a surging startup culture worldwide, maintaining its peak performance involved resolving the following questions:

  • How to seamlessly automate the journey from participant application, screening, mentorship, and idea evaluation to the seed capital allocation, reducing the turnaround time, eliminating bias, and improving user satisfaction?
  • How to deliver end-to-end visibility for the management team using analytical dashboards, fostering informed decision-making practices with assured transparency?
  • How to replace InspireU’s dependency on third-party tools like Wufoo, Calendly, and Dropbox with bespoke and localized alternatives that line up smoothly with STC’s newly adopted cybersecurity protocols? These alternatives must be turnkey solutions offering end-to-end functionalities, eliminating the earlier need to use multiple third-party tools for a single job.

Our approach

PiServe consultants conceived a comprehensive solution roadmap built around STC’s own Data Center. The team proposed a microservices-based, three-tiered architecture that catered to the localized hosting requirements, resolving possibilities of conflict with the latest corporate cybersecurity guidelines. It gathered requirements in an Agile Model and submitted the Functional Specification Documentation and solution wireframes for client review. Once approved, PiServe’s designers and developers commenced the project in Agile Sprint. As part of the engagement:

The Java Spring Boot framework has been used for building the backend, pacing up the development of web apps and microservices, and simplifying configuration

The frontend was built using AngularJS, making it possible to design rich, interactive features for the website and the user app within a single framework

MinIO, the high-performance object storage, has been leveraged to provide a fast and efficient file repository for the solution

Customized solutions were built to replace InspireU’s integration with third-party tools like Wufoo, Calendly, and Dropbox

PiServe delivered with ingenuity, using best-of-breed services and unmatched talent, transforming InspireU into a secured, scalable and user-friendly platform

The result

The solution was developed with high fidelity to STC’s expectations, serving as a digital gateway to InspireU. Here, STC stakeholders and startups can interact, collaborate and share inspiring ideas on building the next Unicorn. But what exactly did the PiServe engineers bring to the table that transformed a predominantly manually-driven, high-toil environment into a thriving epicenter of growth?

Enriched user experience

Earlier, the system was improvised, running on off-the-shelf resources and third-party tools that were in potential conflict with the company’s cybersecurity policies. However, Piserve reimagined it into a highly automated, mission-driven solution built around the company’s own Data Center, putting User Experience at the forefront. Now, the startup founders, mentors, and facilitators have turn-key access to functions, saving time for what they do best.

Clear visibility

The solution, embedded with analytics, offers STC decision-makers clear visibility into the KPIs of each startup. It helps them decide on the necessary strategic and tactical changes at the click of a button.

The future

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gradually opens up, driven by a welcoming Vision 2030 Agenda, the new InspireU platform is expected to play a pivotal role in how its economy and society will be perceived in the New Normal. Its transformation aligns with the solid national intent and a sense of purpose shared by both the public and the private sector that has consistently ranked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia high in the digital competitiveness and business readiness indexes worldwide.

Indeed the InspireU project has been a definite step towards modernization, intuitively bridging enthusiastic, industrious, and talented Saudi youths with a world of opportunities and mentorship. It is a giant leap forward, bringing the startup incubation realities in the country in sync with some of the most advanced economies globally.

PiServe stands invested in STC’s growth, targeting to build enduring relationships through end-to-end support in all critical areas, including digital business strategy and consulting.

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