Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) successfully featured eight start-up companies with innovative technology solutions at its Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition at HITEC® Dubai on June 1, 2021. This was the Dubai debut for E20X, which was first established in 2015 at HITEC North America. The competitors each pitched their solution to a panel of six industry experts for four minutes, which was then immediately followed by four minutes of Q&A from the judges. At the conclusion, the judges selected the top competitor and presented The Judges’ Choice Award, which included a $2,500 USD prize. The 2021 E20X was held at HITEC Dubai co-located with The Hotel Show at the Dubai World Trade Center which ran May 31-June 1, 2021 in Dubai, UAE.

The winning company was Hoick presenting its Mining Experiences™ (MX) software platform. It is a modern software platform that unlocks experience potential and helps organizations to continually assess the quality of their two core experiences: customers and employees. The company molded cutting-edge technology that eliminates the experience gap and allows service-oriented companies to discover, understand and develop actionable insights to drive the performance forward.

“Competitions like E20X helps startups gain confidence, and through invaluable feedback, it enhances products and services that entrepreneurs are aiming to develop,” said Vladan Pantelic, principal and co-founder at Hoick. Pantelic was the company representative who pitched MX at E20X.

The additional competing companies included:  A short-form video streaming app for the hospitality industry including catering.

effa  A company providing 100 percent eco-friendly recyclable and renewable toiletries for hotels and airlines, aiming to fight disposable plastic pollution.

Faundit  A company which reaches out to guests who have left behind items at hotels and offers them options of retrieval. They coordinate and facilitate the process, leaving the staff to care for in-house guests instead.

Work&  Provides businesses with the means to access a database filled with candidates who are qualified, reliable and verified.

PocketTrainer  An app designed to support F&B managers of all levels and save them from the constant hustle of creating, printing and distributing operation related information.

Hotel Data Cloud – A service which stores hotel descriptions, details and photos, then automatically distributes this information so the hotel can instantly update listings on any booking channel.

StayK – A Dubai-based online travel agency, crafted for hoteliers and inspired by local travelers and the UAE which offers staycation deals, transparently.


The panel of judges included:

  • Frank Wolfe, CAE, FIH | CEO, HFTP
  • Raman (R. P.) Rama, B. Com, CHA Emeritus, CHTP, CHAE | President & CTO/CIO, Sarona Hotels & Holdings
  • Tariq Valani | Sr. Vice President IT, Accor Group
  • Mazdak Rafaty | Managing Partner, Ludwar International Consulting FZC
  • Nic Watson | Managing Director, UDrive
  • Mohammad Hanif Alqassim| Managing Partner, The Manor By JA


HFTP is producing two other HITEC events in 2021. First is HITEC Europe Sessions, a five-week series of virtual education, every Wednesday from 26 May – 23 June. The program centers on themes of hospitality technology, business resilience and operating in a post-pandemic world, and will offer breakout rooms in English, French, Spanish and German. HITEC North America will be held in-person in Dallas, Texas from 27–30 September, and will be the largest event from the HITEC brand.