February 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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.