February 13 – 14,2019Dubai

The Most Experiential
Tech Festival in the Middle East

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Our Story

STEP started out as a series of workshops and small gatherings, and over 7 years has grown to become the largest tech experiential festival in the Middle East. With 4 conferences, more than 250 startups showcasing, and 6000+ attendees over two days, STEP is home to the best entrepreneurs, creatives, and digital enthusiasts.

6000+

Attendees

250 +

Showcasing Startups

1000+

Participating Entrepreneurs

$1 Billion

Funding Present

conferences

1 festival, 4 conferences

2019 Speakers

More Speakers Coming Soon

Amr
Awadallah

Cloudera

Amr
Awadallah

Cloudera

Co-Founder and CTO of Cloudera since it was formed in Oct 2008. Before that he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Accel Partners for about 3-months. Prior to joining Accel he served as Vice President of Product Intelligence Engineering at Yahoo!, and ran one of the very first organizations to use Hadoop for data analysis and business intelligence. Amr joined Yahoo after they acquired his first startup, VivaSmart, in July of 2000. Amr holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt, and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Mustafa
Shamseldin

PepsiCo

Mustafa
Shamseldin

PepsiCo

Vice President – Snacks Category for Middle East & North Africa region at PepsiCo. He has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and general management experience in both small and multi-billion-dollar businesses covering more than 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey where he led some of the most valuable global brands and trademarks, launched numerous successful products and innovations, and built new brands from scratch. In his role as Vice President Snacks Category, Middle East & North Africa for PepsiCo, he leads the development of PepsiCo’s snacks portfolio including the largest food brands in the region such as Lays, Doritos, Cheetos and Sunbites. Mustafa has been with PepsiCo since 2008 when he started as the Marketing Director for Pepsi Cola Egypt, before moving to different roles across the region including GCC Marketing Director, General Manager Saudi & Yemen Beverages, and Vice President for Sales & New Business Development. Prior to PepsiCo, Mustafa worked across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region at different companies including Procter & Gamble, Henkel, and Americana Foods. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo and has attended several executive education and development programs including ‘Creating and Implementing Strategy for Competitive Advantage’ from the Wharton Business School, and ‘Basics in International Management’ from the Cranfield School of Management. His passions are social and economic development and the support for startups and small businesses, which he has fulfilled through mentorship, judging in major startup competitions, as well as contributing opinion articles to key publications. Mustafa is currently based in Dubai, UAE.

Marta
Piekarska

Hyperledger

Marta
Piekarska

Hyperledger

The Director of Ecosystem at Hyperledger. Marta obtained her BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Warsaw University of Technology and a double Master from Computer Science and Informatics at Technical University of Berlin and Warsaw University of Technology. Marta received PhD in User-Informed Design of Privacy Tools while working at one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley - Blockstream. Marta also taught at Technical University of Berlin as a Post-doc. As part of her role in Hyperledger Marta evangelizes the technology and Open Source at conferences around the world and helps enterprises with applying permissioned Blockchains to their use-cases. Marta is passionate about how Blockchain can help in non traditional spaces, such as identity, last mile aid and education delivery and sustainability. She leads the public speaking and outreach at Hyperledger, has given numerous interviews, both written and in visual media. Marta also formed the W3C Blockchain community Group and is a valued member of the technical advisory to ID2020, DIF and participated in Rebooting Web of Trust on regular basis.

Karim
Banna

ICONIQ Motors

Karim
Banna

ICONIQ Motors

Began his automotive career with W Motors as the Head of Business Development in 2014. The team always had a vision to create a new electric vehicle brand in China and founded ICONIQ Motors in early 2016. Karim then became the Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of ICONIQ. The company aims to be the first passenger-focused electric vehicle to offer industry leading comfort, entertainment and productive technologies. ICONIQ's strategic partnership with Microsoft will enable a truly unique in-vehicle digital user experience.

Peter
DeBenedictis

Microsoft

Peter
DeBenedictis

Microsoft

Leads the marketing function for Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa region, a role he assumed in March 2017. His team takes an integrated marketing and communications approach, using digital marketing and traditional channels to both build the Microsoft brand and also engage customers and partners on their purchase journey. Peter’s has lived and worked in the Middle East region for over 30 years and has deep experience of growing business in diverse Emerging Markets. Prior to joining Microsoft, he has had a distinguished career leading the marketing function in several of the world’s leading brands, including General Electric, Philips, and FedEx, where he has led multiple growth and investment programs to drive top line growth. He has built multiple public private partnerships with large government organizations to drive regional technology development, local software and engineering skills , and entrepreneurship. Peter has been a regular speaker at Marketing conferences across the region and is a member of several industry organizations. He is a past President of the Alumni Association of Dubai College, one of the top non-profit British schools in the region, and is also a member of their Board of Governors. Peter is based in Dubai with his wife and two children aged 10 and 4.

Danny
Jabbour

Sarwa.co

Danny
Jabbour

Sarwa.co

I began my career with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management where I achieved my NASDAQ Series 7 and Series 66. I then made the switch to UBS AG where I partnered with one of the top Private Wealth Teams in Washington, D.C. I made the jump to Sarwa after understanding that Fintech and passively automated investing is the future. Sarwa and my commitment to you is to offer an affordable investment solution without sacrificing expert advice.

Eric
Fulwiler

VaynerMedia

Eric
Fulwiler

VaynerMedia

A sought-after expert, contributor, and speaker on key developments in and the future of social media and communications. Eric is executive director of the London office of digital agency VaynerMedia, whose clients include General Electric, Pepsico, Unilever and Anheuser-Busch InBev, among others. Previously, Eric worked at Mullen Lowe Group, an international full-service agency headquartered in NYC and London, which works with brands including Google, JetBlue Airlines, American Honda Motors, and Bose Audio.

Dia
Haykal

MIT Technology Review Arabia

Dia
Haykal

MIT Technology Review Arabia

The Editor in Chief of MIT Technology Review Arabia, where she leads the editorial, content, localization operations for both print and online platforms. She holds a BA in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut; two Master’s degrees in Corporate Communication, and in Visual Media, from IE Business School in Madrid. Dia’s experience in technology content goes back to her role as the founding editor-in-chief of Popular Science Arabia, where she has led the project launch including the website and the bi-monthly magazine. As head of content at Haykal Media, she’s overseen the creation and localization of hundreds of thousands of words every month.

Samer
Obeidat

Investifai

Samer
Obeidat

Investifai

A global entrepreneur, innovator, and an investor who believes in creating shared value and impactful entrepreneurship. He has over 10 years of experience as a Financial Markets Expert, FinTech Professional, Business Consultant, Scientific Researcher, Executive and an Outstanding Leader. Samer’s professional career bridged many geographies and cultures including the Middle East, North Africa, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, and Europe. During the last decade, he has been involved in the investment of over $1 billion in the precious metals markets in the EMEA region. Currently, Obeidat is leading an artificial intelligence-driven asset management firm, called "Investifai", and working with a team of data and machine learning scientists, quantitative analysts, and portfolio management practitioners to transform traditional asset management in the US and MENA region.

Anis
Sahbani

Enova Robotics

Anis
Sahbani

Enova Robotics

An Associate Professor of Robotics and Computer Science at Sorbonne University – France since 2004. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 in Robotics and Computer Science from Paul Sabatier University. His main current research interests are in the fields of human-centered robotics. He has been the principal investigator/partner of several European projects. In 2014, Anis Sahbani founded Enova ROBOTICS, the first company in Africa that manufactures its own-brand robots. Enova Robotics won several international awards such as: two gold medals from the World Intellectual Property Organization, gold medal of the International Invention Fair in Middle East, and the gold medal of the International Exhibition of Inventions at Geneva. Anis Sahbani is also the winner of the Best Young Leader award. Enova Robotics has raised $1.6-million Tunis-based investment firm Capsa Capital.

2019 Strategic Partner

2019 Media Partners

PAST SPEAKERS

Mark
D'Arcy

Facebook

Mark
D'Arcy

Facebook

VP, Chief Creative Officer at Facebook where he leads the company’s creative efforts to make advertising across Facebook and Instagram more relevant for people and more valuable for businesses. Mark joined Facebook in 2011 and today his team, The Creative Shop, operates from more than 40 Facebook offices and last year alone helped produce several thousand projects across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus for an extraordinarily diverse client base including 80% of the world’s top 100 advertisers. The Creative Shop does all this through close partnerships with all the major advertising groups and collaborations with independent creators, influencers, artists, production companies, media companies and technologists. The work these partnerships create is regularly recognized in the press for driving innovation and at leading award shows, including Cannes Lions, where Mark has served on the inaugural Innovation and 2016 Glass Lion juries. Mark helped establish the Facebook Awards to celebrate the best creative work on the platform and in 2012, he founded the Facebook Global Creative Council. Mark is proud to serve on the boards of AD and the IFP, Independent Filmmaker Project.

Bassem
Youssef

Satirist

Bassem
Youssef

Satirist

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg - which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Originally a 5- minute show on YouTube, AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week. AlBernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart twice in June 2012 and April 2013. In June 2013, Youssef hosted Jon Stewart on AlBernameg in Cairo marking the second season’s peak.

Fadi
Ghandour

WAMDA Group

Fadi
Ghandour

WAMDA Group

The Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, a platform that invests, nurtures and builds entrepreneurship eco-systems across the Middle East and North Africa. Fadi is also the Co-Founder of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics companies. Fadi spent the first 30 years of his work life as CEO of Aramex, building the company, making it the leading emerging market logistics company, employing over 15,000 people working in over 250 offices in 90 countries. He took the company public twice, first on Nasdaq making it the first company from the Arab work to do so, then on Dubai Financial market. He continues to be active on the Aramex board. Fadi is a serial entrepreneur. In his career, he was involved with founding, investing and launching tens of companies and non-profits, from digital tech, hospitality, F&B, fitness & wellness to security. Passionate about impact and social entrepreneurship, Fadi founded and Chairs Ruwwad for Development, a private‐sector led community empowerment platform that helps marginalized communities across several countries in the MENA region, overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion. He has also co-founded and continues to support one of the leading not-for-profit sports clubs in Jordan. Fadi also served and continues to serve on several global and regional boards of companies, education institutions and non-profits.

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Manages Unilever’s media investments across the Middle East and North Africa region. He is also responsible for driving digital transformation for Unilever brands across the region. Asad has been in Dubai since August 2013, prior to which he managed Global Media for Unilever’s Foods and Personal Care businesses, based out of Unilever’s HQ in London. Prior to joining Unilever, Asad did various assignments for MindShare/Group M in various parts of the world. He managed local offices in Vietnam and Pakistan for them, did a global role at their HQ in London, and managed regional projects in AsiaPac and LATAM. Asad is also the founding Chair of The Marketing Society Middle East chapter. The Marketing Society focuses on inspiring bolder marketing leadership in the region. Asad also sits at the board of the IAA UAE office. A graduate of IBA in Karachi, Asad is a technology enthusiast and an internationalist at heart, and considers himself fortunate to be working in the Middle East. You can find him on most social media platforms as @asadchawla

Bibop
Gresta

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc.

Bibop
Gresta

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc.

Expert in finance, transportation and media, Bibop G. Gresta has dedicated himself to improving the world. A world-renowned speaker, he has spoken about and discussed the future of transportation and human mobility at many high-level global meetings such as the World Economic Forum and the United Nations. He is a respected activist in Transhumanism and Ethical Entrepreneurship. He founded Bibop S.p.a, a digital content firm; he sold 40% to Telecom Italia for 11bn Italian Lira, creating one of the earliest successes of the Italian New Economy. In 2004, he co-founded the influential startup incubator Digital Magics SPA, responsible for more than 70 companies, and served as venture partner. He entered into the venture capital market in 2011 with two publically- traded companies in the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2014 Bibop partnered with HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn to become Chairman for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc.

Sagar
Sarbhai

Ripple

Sagar
Sarbhai

Ripple

The head of regulatory relations for APAC and Middle East at Ripple, a payment technology company named one of the 50 Smartest Companies by MIT and the recipient of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Award. Sagar manages Ripple’s relations with central banks and policy-makers across APAC and Middle East, focusing on payment innovation and virtual currency policy. Prior to Ripple, Sagar spent 9+ years in the banking industry across multiple functions including technology, strategy, risk and government affairs. Sagar holds an MBA from INSEAD Business School, where he founded and presided over the INSEAD Fintech Club. He was recognized as one of India's top young business leaders by The Economic Times, India's largest selling financial daily.

Sara
Grinstead

RAK Bank

Sara
Grinstead

RAK Bank

The Chief Innovation Officer to lead the Bank’s approach to product and service design, ensuring that solutions are customer-centric and leveraging new business models and technologies. This includes developing new capabilities within RAKBANK, establishing partnerships with FinTechs, and working with the broader UAE eco-system to support the FinTech agenda in the region. Prior to joining RAKBANK, Sara spent three years developing challenger banks in the UK and Middle East, taking new banks from paper concept to operational businesses. Sara lead the development of banking operations and controls, delivered the underlying technology, developed regulatory license applications, and supported in fundraising and investor relations. Sara has over 15 years of retail banking experience both as a strategy consultant and operational leader. She has worked for large multi-national banks helping to solve some of their most complex challenges and deliver lasting transformation.

Manal
Rostom

Mountaineer

Manal
Rostom

Mountaineer

Egypt’s most prominent female mountaineer, a name given to her last 2017 by What Women Want Magazine, and surely a name she earned, is someone who has achieved many firsts for Arab and Egyptian women, from being the first Hijabi woman to be featured in an international Nike campaign, to being the first Egyptian woman to run the Great Wall Marathon. Year to date, Manal has reached 5 mountain tops, 2 of which are Kilimanjaro & Elbrus , considered as two of the 7 highest mountains on each continent, as well as run 8 full marathons around the world including NYC & China Wall Marathon.

Jeremiah
Owyang

Crowd Companies

Jeremiah
Owyang

Crowd Companies

Jeremiah Owyang is the Founder of Crowd Companies, which focuses on how large companies tap the collaborative economy, maker movement, and customer collaboration. Prior, he was a founding partner at Altimeter Group and an industry analyst at Forrester Research covering social computing --the first phase of digital making and sharing. He focuses on how disruptive technologies—such as social media, the collaborative economy, and interactive marketing—impact the relevance of corporations to customers today and in the future. He is well recognized by both the tech industry and the media for his grounded approach to deriving astute insights through rigorous research. His site, “Web Strategy” is one of the premier blogs on how corporations connect with their customers using Web technologies. Jeremiah is frequently quoted in top- tier publications, and currently writes for Fast Company. Previously, Jeremiah was a founding partner at the Altimeter Group, worked at Forrester and at Hitachi, where he launched the company’s first social program. He was featured in the  “Who’s Who” in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and his Twitter feed was named one of the top feeds by Time.

Ronaldo
Mouchawar

SOUQ.com

Ronaldo
Mouchawar

SOUQ.com

The co-founder and CEO of SOUQ.com, the largest online retail and marketplace platform in the Arab world. Since co-founding SOUQ.com in 2005, Mr Mouchawar has overseen aggressive expansion of the company to become the first choice in online shopping for millions of customers in the Middle East. Mr Mouchawar has more than 15 years of experience in technology and business management. He started his career as a Technical and Systems Consultant with EDS in the US, and before starting SOUQ.com, he spearheaded a consulting company that managed numerous web and e- commerce projects in the Arab world. Mr Mouchawar holds a Master's degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Mr Mouchawar’s family background is in trading, which combined with his passion for innovation and technology, has led him to start, develop and lead the e-commerce market in this region. As keen to set high goals for himself and his team in his career as he did as a Basketball player, he is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs looking to blaze their own trail and he is passionate about creating jobs for Arabs and like-minded entrepreneurs to join his growing team. In March 2015, Mr Mouchawar received an award from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in recognition of SOUQ.com’s digital influence in the UAE. Recently, Mr Mouchawar was awarded the prestigious Retail Business Leader of the Year & Entrepreneur of the Year Awards by Gulf Business (Motivate Publishing).

Past Partners

Participating Companies

WHAT GOES ON

TALKS AND WORKSHOPS

STEP hosts 4 stages of content, and running workshops and programming simultaneously covering everything startups, digital media, fintech, and future tech.

STARTUP PROGRAMMING

With over 250 startups showcasing and more than 1000 entrepreneurs attending, STEP hosts multiple programs to facilitate connections with investors, clients, partners.

SATELLITE EVENTS & MEET-UPS

STEP curates focused networking opportunities and meet-ups across industries, job levels, and interests hosted by VCs, incubators, digital agencies, and other partners. 

EXHIBITION AREAS

Tech companies and brands across multiple industries participate at STEP so startups and attendees get a chance to connect with their next partner, client and learn about what’s new in the market.

BRAND ACTIVATIONS

Leading brands in the tech and digital space from FMCG brands to automotive companies, banks, media companies, and tech solutions, host first-of-their-kind activities to interact with attendees and startups. 

ENTERTAINMENT

STEP's festival format creates engaging networking opportunities beyond conference programming with outdoor activities with food trucks, music performances, and pop-up vendors all across the event areas.