A bunch of 20-somethings sit beavering away at the Pavilion Downtown Dubai, the city's trendy art gallery that also moonlights as a free office for entrepreneurs.
Eight budding Steve Jobses are all bouncing ideas off each other while taking tips from their mentor and angel investor, Rony El Nashar.
He is the co-founder of SeedStartup, a venture capital fund and business accelerator that puts entrepreneurs through a three-month mentoring programme and then helps bring their product to market.
The Pavilion's light, airy interior mixes pieces of art with long wooden benches and a chic cafe, all helping to build the perfect creative environment for entrepreneurs.
The group sipping coffee on this morning is collectively the founders of the first three companies in which SeedStartup has invested.
They are all tech start-ups and were whittled down from a list of 73 applicants, of which 25 were shortlisted for an interview.
Demand is high for early-stage funding and angel investing is gaining pace as bank financing tightens for entrepreneurs in the UAE.
"We wanted to do a pilot on a smaller scale before we go nuts," says Mr El Nashar. "Was it because we couldn't find companies to invest in? No, we just wanted to go for a smaller number to begin with."
Mr El Nashar founded SeedStartup with Salem Rashid Al Noaimi,the chief executive of Waha Capital.Together they invested up to US$25,000 (Dh91,827) in each of their class of companies for a flat 10 per cent stake. Each set of entrepreneurs is paired with up to 10 mentors who have started other companies or have valuable financial know-how.
Mentors include Dan Stuart, the founder and chief executive of GoNabit; Sim Whatley and JC Butler, the founders of Dubizzle; and Paul Kenny, the chief executive at Cobone.com.
For the three companies, the investment from SeedStartup is a lifeline to keeping their businesses afloat. Seed funding is not easy to come by in the UAE and banks in the West are also shutting their doors.
One of the first companies receiving finance is metwit.me, a website and smartphone application that is a cross between a weather station and social networking. Users post local weather reports and join groups sharing similar interests, such as climbers or kitesurfers, who are constantly checking the weather.
The company was founded by five Italian computer design and engineering boffins, the youngest of whom is 21.
"We are all technical guys in a way and lack some skills so talking with Rony and the mentors has helped us," says Michele Ruini, the Metwit chief executive and the oldest of the group at 30.
"There's lots of stuff we were doing like John Wayne - we weren't even looking where we were shooting and trying different ideas. But we came here and have people telling us what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong or that we should do it this way because it is probably better."
Many new entrepreneurs are in search of advice, but before SeedStartup there were few organisations in the UAE offering to pair beginners with mentors.
The ultimate goal for the three companies in the SeedStartup programme is to scale their product and raise further financing through an investor day at the end of the three-month programme.
"These companies are the ones we think have the biggest potential for scaling," says Mr El Nashar. "You want businesses that have the potential to one day become huge, therefore they have to be targeting large markets and based on business models that are scalable and have a strong team that can [execute] that idea."
The three companies that have recently received angel investment are:
Founders Michele Ruini, chief executive, 30, Duccio Catacioto, developer, 21, Simone D'Amilo, IOS developer, 21, Davide Rizzo, computer engineer, 25, and Gabriele Petronella, computer engineer, 22
Michele Ruini was fed up with going rock climbing and arriving to find the weather was too dangerous to go out, so when he met Duccio Catacioto and heard about his idea for a business, the rock climber was sold.
In a sentence, the business is a website that provides local weather conditions. Called Metwit, the website has been launched by a team of five Italian entrepreneurs including Mr Catacioto and Mr Ruini. They aim to piggy-back off the buzz about weather on social networking websites such as Twitter and are set to partner with a weather station in Italy to roll out marketing there first. "The big plan is to go global, because weather is global," says Mr Ruini.
The website will allow users to post reports on the weather and join different groups who are looking for certain information, such as climbers and conditions near the mountains.
To overcome a global language barrier, the website uses universal picture icons such as the sun and clouds.
The team of entrepreneurs are spending the money they received from SeedStartup on website functionality and marketing.
"People are already talking about the weather, so we need to gather this information from social channels and put it on our platform," says Mr Ruini.
Founders Naralino Mivenda, 28, Paspa Raj Bhatterai, 30
Rasello.com is a platform that connects businesses and people via text message in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. "About 95 per cent of businesses in these countries do not have a web presence," says Naralino Mivenda, one of the company founders. "We wanted to create a platform that could be a link between business and people, with people accessing the platform through mobile phones."
Users can send a text message to Rasello asking for details of a business or a particular service and immediately receive back the information. Any type of business can log their details with Rasello, but services such as restaurants have seen the most popular take up so far.
The platform is based on a website that is up and running and the two founders sought investment from SeedStartup to increase the level of business participation and consumer awareness of the text message service.
As internet penetration increases in Africa, Rasello hopes consumers will graduate to using its services online.
"We want to get to people first," says Mr Mivenda. "We want those same people who use the [text message] service to grow with us so that by the time they do get a smart phone the only platform they think of is Rasello."
Founders Zakaria Ben Hamouche, 24, Mohamed Sheikhaldeen, 24
Exa.io offers high-performance computing at a fraction of the cost. The technology the pair of founders, Zakaria Ben Hamouche and Mohamed Sheikhaldeen, have created is aimed at cutting down the time it takes 3D animators to render a project. Rendering is the last stage in the editing process before a 3D film is created.
"This is a pain for studios because it takes a long time for it to be done," says Mr Sheikhaldeen. "It can take days depending on the size of the project. We provide rendering in a fraction of the time at minimum cost."
From Bahrain, the pair of computer whiz kids were given a loan of Dh50,000 (US$13,612) by the Bahrain Development Bank and hope to use the additional investment from SeedStartup to access companies in the Middle East and market a website where 3D animation projects can be uploaded to be rendered.
The founders are constantly working on improving the speed of their technology and believe they can now process projects 100 times faster than some other studios can offer.
"They have a computer that competes with multimillion-dollar super computers," says Rony El Nashar, the SeedStartup founder. "It is very cheap and about alleviating a pain for various businesses."