AI startups: The difference between good and bad ideas

AI startups: The difference between good and bad ideas


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Abdalla Kablan (AI Investor and Entrepreneur and Chief Strategist at AIDEN) is a serial entrepreneur and tech investor with a knack for spotting opportunities – and he specialises in AI and machine learning in the finance space. 

Kablan’s experience building and exiting successful startups serves as inspiration to upcoming AI entrepreneurs. And his knowledge is far-reaching; from PhD research on the cryptographic block algorithms behind Bitcoin, to working on projects that were showcased at the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos. 

We asked him what led him to AI, and why he’s focusing on the intersection of AI and blockchain in 2024.

What was your very first entrepreneurial project – and what have been the biggest successes and failures in your life as an entrepreneur so far?

“My first entrepreneurial venture was a fintech startup focused on leveraging AI for algorithmic trading. The biggest success came with Wyzer, which transformed legal and compliance processes through AI, leading to a successful exit. 

“As for failures, they were in fact stepping stones; for instance, an early venture in AI-driven educational tools didn’t gain the market traction I hoped for, but it provided invaluable lessons in product-market fit and the importance of user-centric design.”

Could you share any pivotal moments that sparked your interest in AI? 

“I started my first degree in AI in systems engineering in 2001 – so I am not new to AI, unlike many new players! However, the pivotal moment came during my doctoral research when I realised AI’s potential to replicate complex human decision-making in real-time. 

“The idea that technology could not only augment but also accelerate human expertise and creativity was both exhilarating and inspiring, leading me to delve deeper into AI’s transformative capabilities.”

In the AI space, how can entrepreneurs know if they’ve got a really good idea…or a really bad one?

“An AI idea’s worth hinges on its scalability, applicability, and ability to address a genuine pain point. Entrepreneurs must ask if their solution truly simplifies a complex issue or enhances lives in a meaningful way. 

“Market validation is key – seek feedback, adjust rapidly, and ensure your solution isn’t just a technological marvel but a practical utility.”

What early-stage advice would you give to a founder who wanted to raise funds for their AI startup? 

“Clarity of vision is crucial. Investors need to see a roadmap where AI isn’t just a buzzword but a tool for tangible, scalable solutions. Demonstrate a clear understanding of your target market, show evidence of concept validation, and articulate how your AI delivers a competitive edge.”

What are you aiming to achieve in 2024? 

“In 2024, my aim is to catalyse the intersection of AI and blockchain, particularly within the fintech and legaltech arenas. I’m focused on democratising complex technologies, making them accessible and useful for businesses and consumers alike, and nurturing the next generation of tech entrepreneurs through mentorship and investment.”


Follow Abdalla Kablan on LinkedIn. Did you miss DeepFest 2024? Don’t worry! Join us in Riyadh for the 2025 edition.

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