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 5 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 2018 will bring you the latest in tech and digital.

conferences

step start

STEP Start is the home-base for founders, startups, and entrepreneurs. STEP Start includes startup mentorship sessions, flagship pitch competition, and partner activations. learn more

step digital

STEP Digital focuses on the most forward thinking topics and global trends on digital, advertising, content, and technologies. learn more

step x

STEP X focuses on future technology including smart cities, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, cloud, IoT, and regulation. learn more

step money

Tackling the most relevant topics in financial technology including blockchain, cryptocurrency, and payments across roundtables, workshops, talks and panels. learn more

2018 main stage 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.

Ashekman Brothers

Ashekman

Ashekman Brothers

Ashekman

Started in 2001 in Beirut Lebanon by identical twin brothers Omar and Mohamed Kabbani, ASHEKMAN is an Arabic street art crew and it's considered among the early adopters of Arabic calligraphy in street art. Born in the midst of the Lebanese civil war in the early 80's, the twins witnessed several wars in 3 decades that made them organically start a platform to fight social, political and religious extremism that fueled the false propaganda about the Middle East. ASHEKMAN's mission is to revive the Arabic culture using an urban context, to bring back the golden Arab age where poetry, science, and knowledge used to be exported and translated to all cultures and finally to spread a positive message of tolerance. ASHEKMAN style is Arabic Calligraffiti, mixing classical Arabic calligraphy with modern Arabic graffiti, the twins tagged over 100 walls in Beirut, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Doha, Geneva, Birmingham, Yerevan, and Stockholm. Their positive messages and creative approach put them on the map where they were interviewed on CNN, BBC, MTV Europe, Rolling Stones Magazine, Forbes magazine, France 24 and featured in several books and other major media outlets plus they gave workshops and lecture in prestigious design universities in Beirut and Dubai.

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.

Katie Way

Babe

Katie Way

Babe

A staff writer for Babe.net. She enjoys writing about pop culture, crime and politics. Her work has previously appeared in Inverse and In These Times, and when she's not at work, thinking about work or dreaming about being at work she enjoys reading, horror movies and traveling.

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.

Elias Bou Saab

American University in Dubai

Elias Bou Saab

American University in Dubai

The founder and Executive Vice President of the American University in Dubai, the first US accredited university in the Gulf. Through his role at the university and as Former Minister of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon, Elias Bou Saab has garnered vast experience in international higher education, working on diverse projects and collaborations such as establishing new institutions/programs and scholarships; negotiating and implementing educational collaborations with major universities in the US and Europe; and advising governments on higher education and other investment projects throughout the Arab world. As Minister of Education, Elias Bou Saab was in office at the peak of the Syrian Refugee crisis, calling on the international community to help resolve the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. He proposed actions for a comprehensive education solution, using the current Lebanese educational infrastructure and school system to educate hundreds of thousands of refugee children. The solution was implemented with the support of the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, UNICEF, UNCHR, the World Bank, DFID and USAID. An advocate for youth empowerment, Elias Bou Saab works on several regional and international initiatives to give a voice to youth and to engage them in higher education. During the span of his 20-year career, Elias Bou Saab has ventured in many entrepreneurial initiatives, founded reputable media outlets and organizations, along with keeping active memberships and participation in many associations & foundations around the world.

Fadi Yaish

B&W Report

Fadi Yaish

B&W Report

Described by Dubai’s Media Week as “The Dark Horse” in the region, Fadi made his agency and the region famous and took a place amongst the World’s Top 10 in Advertising today. He was the first creative director from his region to be ranked in The World’s Top 10, finding himself at #3 ECD Worldwide in 2015, #4 2016 and #2 2017. Fadi strayed to the world of Design, Digital and Advertising two decades ago working for small independent agencies to large leading networks. He joined Impact BBDO in late 2013. Under his creative direction and leadership, Impact BBDO Dubai delivered the most innovative crosschannels body of work that has been recognized nationally and globally. Within his first year, Fadi led his agency to be ranked #6 Worldwide and #1 Agency and Network in MENA for the first time ever. In 2016, Impact BBDO Dubai also won ‘Dubai Lynx Agency of the Year’ for the first time and again in 2017. The same year Impact BBDO Dubai got ranked #8 Worldwide. In 2017 Impact BBDO Dubai won ‘Agency and Network of the Year’ at Dubai Lynx, Cristal, Loeries, and MENA Digital. It also won ‘Most Awarded Agency in MENA’ in Cannes Lions, One Show, D&AD and LIA. Fadi is one of the world’s most awarded creative leaders in advertising. His work has been recognized with a plethora of industry honors at award shows such as D&AD, One Show, Cannes Lions, Clio, LIA, NYF, Dubai Lynx, Cristal and many others. He has Chaired D&AD, PIAF, Cresta, AdFest and judged other prestigious shows such as One Show, Cannes Lions, LIA, Clio, NYF, Spikes, Adfest and Loeries. With a career that has seen many firsts for his Clients and Agencies, he continues to adamantly raise the benchmark for innovation and creativity year after year.

Osman Sultan

Du

Osman Sultan

Du

The founding CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), having joined the company in January 2006. Today, in more than a decade of operations, du has built a subscriber base of more than 9 million customers. Sultan has enjoyed a successful career for over 30 years spanning Europe, North America and the MENA region. Prior to EITC, Sultan was the founding CEO of another successful Middle Eastern operator – Mobinil in Egypt he set up in 1998. During his tenure, he achieved his vision of putting ‘a mobile in the hands of everyone.’ A notable public speaker, Sultan often shares his knowledge and experience at industry lectures on the subjects of the digital society, the Internet, telecommunications and information technology. He has also mentored a generation of key telecom sector players, who have gone on to occupy leadership roles, many of them as CEOs across the world. As one of the most influential figures in the region in the telecommunications field, Sultan’s drive and acute business acumen has earned him several industry accolades, including being selected as one of the most 100 powerful executives in the telecoms industry in the world on GTB Power 100 List in 2010 and 2011.

2018 step start speakers

Vijay Tirathrai

Techstars Dubai Accelerator

Vijay Tirathrai

Techstars Dubai Accelerator

Managing Director of Techstars Dubai Accelerator, where he is currently launching the first GCC-based accelerator that attracts global talent backed by the $300M Techstars Ventures Fund. Prior joining Techstars, Vijay was the former CEO and Chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) based in Washington D.C. where he led 12,000 leading entrepreneurs worldwide whose combine revenue of $600billion, learn and grow through an extensive network with access to global resources. Vijay is a serial entrepreneur having founded 3 successful start-ups in Asia. In earlier years, he also lead mid-size organizations in retail and manufacturing for international markets. He is proactive in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as mentor and investor, as well as served on several non-profit boards such as the Young President Organization (YPO) and Richmond University.

Sarah Heck

Stripe Atlas

Sarah Heck

Stripe Atlas

Launched by Stripe in 2015, Stripe Atlas enables entrepreneurs around the world to start and grow global internet businesses. Sarah also serves as an advisor on international entrepreneurship and youth programs to the Obama Foundation. Prior to Stripe, Sarah served as Director for Global Engagement on the National Security Council at the White House where she worked on global entrepreneurship policy, private sector engagement, youth demographics, and expanding the impact of U.S. public diplomacy on national security. Sarah also held several positions at the U.S. Department of State including Chief of Staff for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Before joining government, Sarah worked at Kissinger McLarty Associates, supporting the international work of Fortune 500 companies across industries. Sarah also worked with Amigos de las Americas, where she served as their Country Director in Paraguay, creating and managing rural community development, entrepreneurship, and leadership projects. Sarah is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Maryland. She is a Truman National Security Project Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, and serves on the board of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

Ahmed El Alfi

Sawari Ventures

Ahmed El Alfi

Sawari Ventures

The founder of Sawari Ventures a Cairo based Venture Capital firm established in 2010 with a goal to help transform Egyptian and MENA region economies through creation of high impact businesses.  In 2011, Sawari created Flat6Labs, its own startup accelerator. Flat6Labs immerses startup entrepreneurs into real-world challenges of creating and managing sustainable enterprises, supported by a dedicated staff, mentors and over the past 3 years has launched 46 companies in Egypt, 26 companies in Saudi, 14 companies in Abu Dhabi and will be opening Flat6Labs locations soon in Beirut, Manama and Tunis.  In 2013 he established TATP which took over a large part of the American University Cairo downtown campus to form the GrEEK Campus, a 25,000 square meter office park near Tahrir Square where over 100 startups now work and collaborate and was the home of RiseUpSummit.  He also founded Nafham the top online video educational platform covering the Egyptian, Saudi and Syrian public school curriculums, Nafham currently gives over 110,000 free video lessons per day, Nafham recently won the WISE awards in Doha as one of the most innovative education companies. He has extensive experience in creating and nurturing early stage companies, is or has been a member of the Board of Directors or Advisors of Waqf Endowment, Polytechnic School Pasadena, Claremont Graduate School of Religion, several non profit and for profit corporate boards and is also an avid collector of Islamic coins.

Hans Christensen

Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre

Hans Christensen

Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre

As the Director of Dtec, Hans is leading a team that with him has built the largest and most economically impactful tech eco-system in MENA hosting more than 800+ start-ups from 70 nationalities. The objective of Dtec is to create a sustainable impactful entrepreneurial ecosystem of tech companies that drives innovation in the UAE. Apart from partnering with international partners like IBM, Microsoft, SAP, du, Volkswagen, Thomson Reuters, Visa, Smart Dubai and many more, Dtec hosts the aviation and travel-tech Intelak incubator run by Emirates Airlines together with GE and Etisalat, the Intel IOT ignition lab and the Dubai Smart City Accelerator powered by Startupbootcamp. DTEC also acts as a start-up investor currently has an active portfolio of 21 successful well-known start-ups: Yalla Compare, Shortpoint, Wrappup, STEP etc. Hans has decades of business experience, building departments in MNCs and start- ups around the world. In his several positions as founder and CEO of start-ups, he attracted millions of dollars from both private and venture capital investors. He built up the first Siemens ICN nCubator in 2000, a captive incubator and one of the first incubators in Europe at the time. Its most successful venture (Garderos) was successfully spun-off in 2001 under Hans’ leadership attracting VC funds from SAP, Siemens Ventures, and Wellington Partner. Hans held international positions with Macquarie Technology Investments and Deutsche Leasing AG and joined DSOA in 2012. DTEC has won several awards:  Arabian Business Startup Awards: o 2015 Special recognition for entrepreneurial support o 2017 Best Start-up Program o 2017 Best Accelerator  Entrepreneur Agility Award o 2017 Best Startup Hub  Islamic Economy o 2017 Best SME Supporter He serves on the board of 11 start-ups and is a board advisor to RIT and AUE Dubai. He holds a BA in Ec/Fi from Bentley University and a MBA from Hult Business School. He is a sought-after speaker on Entrepreneurship, Corporate Innovation, Smart City, Blockchain AI technology, and frequently assists corporations, universities and event organizers as a judge and mentor for business plan competitions.

Najla Al-Midfa

Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center

Najla Al-Midfa

Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center

General Manager of Sheraa - Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center - a government entity that aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide startups with a launchpad for growth and success. Launched in January 2016, under the chairmanship of HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Sheraa has grown to become an integral part of Sharjah’s startup ecosystem, with a community of over a thousand aspiring entrepreneurs and an inaugural cohort of ten ventures graduating in February 2017. Najla is also Founder of Khayarat, a platform that empowers young, high-potential Emiratis to make informed career choices, and enables them to succeed in the private sector. In her previous role, as Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing. She also set up and operated the Northern Emirate branch of Khalifa Fund, covering Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah.   Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company‘s New York office, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell. Najla is a board member of United Arab Bank, where she also chairs the Board Audit Committee and is a member of the Board Risk Committee. She is Vice-Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders, and a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative. Najla holds an MBA from Stanford University.

2018 step digital speakers

Charli Ursell

PHD UAE

Charli Ursell

PHD UAE

Charli has over 11 years of global media experience, known for her expertise and leadership in digital planning operations and efficiencies. She began her career as Planner with Mindshare London. Today, she is the Senior Director of Digital Planning and Data for PHD UAE, responsible for directing the agency’s digital and data initiatives and managing a growing team of over 30. Throughout her career, Charli has applied a curious and committed approach, offering her expertise in the digital space on both brand-and performance-led campaigns. Using her knowledge in areas of automation, Artificial Intelligence, programmatic planning, and the all- encompassing future of technology in media, Charli has spearheaded the agency’s service and structure redevelopment, as well as employee training programs to ensure PHD remains the agency of the future. Some of her projects include work on future-facing technology and search strategies, pioneering new technology and measurement solutions, data-led creative approaches, digital-first TV planning and an entirely new method for competitive analysis using index methodology to benchmark brand success versus that of competitors for her clients. Charli’s implementation of digital products and practices within the agency have been integral to PHD UAE’s notable success, having grown six-fold and become a major market player in just 10 years and most recently, named ‘Most Effective Media Office 2017’. Charli is a contributor to several industry publications, which most recently, includes authoring the feature article, ‘Why big data needs big AI’, in Campaign Middle East. Outside of work, Charli enjoys spending time with her young son and daughter, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and painting.

Christian Eid

Noon

Christian Eid

Noon

Chris is passionate about driving the Middle East to the forefront of innovation, creativity and progression. Chris has spent the last 10 years in startups. From social enterprises to building some of our favorite homegrown brands. Passionate about brand, and more importantly impact, Chris leads noon’s journey to becoming the strongest, most impactful and beloved brand of our region."

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

Hussein Dajani

Head of Digital Marketing at Nissan

Hussein Dajani

Head of Digital Marketing at Nissan

Has over 17 years of solid Marketing Communication experience in the space leading and building integrated marketing practices within multinational agencies (JWT, Leo Burnett, and TBWA\) and client side (Fortune 500 companies - Virgin Mobile and Red Bull), across the Middle East and Africa region. Hussein was among the first batch of WPP MENA employees to receive the renowned WPP Young High Potential Leaders award from Sir Martin Sorrell (Chairman and Worldwide President of WPP) and Bob Jeffrey (ex Chairman and Worldwide President of JWT). Recently, by nomination from the Global Chairman and Patron of the World Marketing Congress, Hussein has been featured in the 50 most influential digital marketing leaders listing for 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, Hussein has been voted by the Huffington Post as among the 10 people changing the marcomm landscape in the MENA region, and in Gulf Marketing Review's GMR’s list of 40 of the brightest marketing professionals under the age of 40 in the Middle East. At present, after a 2 years stint with hug digital as its Chief Operating Officer where he grew gross billing grew by 9% &12.5% and revenues by 21% & 26.5%, won 27 out of 29 pitches in MENA across various verticals, and built, the first of its kind in the MENA region, a state of the art Social Intelligence Hub (Command Center) for analysis of data in real time on all social platforms and online portals, Hussein joins Nissan as General Manager Digital Marketing for AMI region (Africa, Middle East, Turkey and India) to be responsible for its Digital Transformation, CRM deployment, and Digital Customer Experience. Furthermore, Hussein plays an active role in the advisory council of the World Marketing Congress. Hussein is also a speaker at various conferences throughout the EMEA region, a weekly guest speaker on numerous TV and Radio stations, and a jury member in renowned global festivals.

TJ Lightwala

Mindshare

TJ Lightwala

Mindshare

Began her role at Mindshare in 2013, and is responsible for leading the digital platforms, developing new and relevant product streams, planning and overseeing full end-to-end digital performance growth of clients and internal teams across the MENA region. In 2017, she was appointed as the Future Adaptive Specialist Team (FAST) lead for the region, toensure a 360 approach to client outcomes by putting an integrated performance unit at the heart of the business. She brings in depth digital and product perspective, having worked in the US and the Middle East on both the agency and client sides across many industries. In previous role, she led digital business for Staples USA, Canada, and international businesses at Aegis Media in Boston. She holds her bachelors, from American University in Dubai and Masters in Science, from DePaul University, Chicago.

2018 step x speakers

Colin Rhys

Hyperloop One

Colin Rhys

Hyperloop One

Colin Rhys’s desire to explore the human experience in relation to environment and creativity launched in 2004, with his role as owner/executive director of the RHYS art gallery. Simultaneously at RHYS’s founding, Colin began his education at Tufts University later earning degrees in Fine Arts and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Nine years, stunning international exhibitions in six different continents & over thirty-two countries later, RHYS was a globally-recognized brand. Ignited by his unequivocal success in fine arts, Colin was driven to the intersections of design and architecture in 2010. He began building and designing bespoke residences in the greater Los Angeles area for the Xanadu Group, with the purpose to enrich human experience in physical spaces. His Xanadu spaces were more than just homes, with work spanning commercial projects and high profile landscapes. Colin became a master craftsmen of entire environments, capable of creating aesthetic worlds for his clients that held not only innovation, but purpose.  Inspired to adventure not only in his design, Colin founded the Xanadu Explorers Society in 2012. Guided by the pursuit of knowledge and interpersonal connection through the outdoors, the Explorer’s Society knows no bounds. With expedition goals to see all natural seven wonders of the world in seven years — Paricutin volcano, the Aurora Borealis and the Grand Canyon already visited — the journey remains to unfold. By 2016, after recognized successes on multimillion dollar projects—several of which earned international acclaim, awards and critical acknowledgement, including multiple features on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing – Colin was ready for his next creative evolution. Hyperloop became that visionary opportunity where Colin’s passion of the experiential and his expertise in design intersects with a company whose mission will rewrite our ideas of transportation.

Georges Aoude

Derq

Georges Aoude

Derq

Dr. Georges Aoude is the CEO and co-founder of Derq, an MIT spin-off with a mission to eliminate road accidents for both conventional and autonomous vehicles using patented artificial intelligence and connected vehicle technology. Derq has been hailed in the media, including CNN, BBC, and TechCrunch as the leading advanced technology start-up in Dubai. In 2017, Derq was only Middle East start up to be selected to join the prestigious Techstars Mobility program in Detroit, and opened an office in Michigan to expand operations and business to the US market. See recent BBC (http://tiny.cc/DerqOnBBC) and CNN (http://tiny.cc/DerqOnCNN) coverage of Derq. Dr. Aoude holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, where he worked closely with NASA, US Navy, and Ford. Dr. Aoude is also an inventor and his patented work in connected and autonomous technologies has been featured in the press, including New York Times, Wired, and MIT News. His satellite research has also been tested and validated in the International Space Station in collaboration with NASA. Dr. Aoude has consulted governments and global companies in North America and the GCC for more than 10 years. His points of view are regularly published in key outlets including Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Brink. He is a board member of the Transportation Research Board and the MIT Arab Alumni Organization.

Sam Blatteis

The MENA Catalyst

Sam Blatteis

The MENA Catalyst

A tech executive, global thought leader, and specialist on the Middle Eastern digital economy, high tech public policy, and Middle Eastern market access. Sam Blatteis sat at the table representing Google as MENA high tech laws have been drafted, that will affect the region for years to come. He has spent the past two decades at the intersection of the Middle Eastern digital economy and high tech public policy making. As Google’s Gulf Countries Public Policy Lead, Sam was responsible for all of Google’s policy diplomacy in the region winning policy wars, delivering mega-scale Middle East public policy programs, and building up the region’s high tech ecosystem. He worked in Google’s US and Middle East offices on the full range of public policy matters that impact the Middle East’s high tech sector. Sam worked at the highest levels of government, in Arab royal palaces and beyond, advising Arab leaders on high tech bills that impact the Middle Eastern digital economy. Mr. Blatteis has received numerous national and departmental awards for Gulf public policy and high tech ecosystem development programs from the U.S. National Fulbright Scholarship to being acknowledged by Google’s Philanthropic arm as leading, “one of Google's most impactful philanthropic programs to date”(2015). Sam has a deep track record of writing and delivering intelligence and presentations on global high tech policy themes to senior-level audiences. He has been interviewed as a specialist on Middle East social media public policy and strategic affairs by The New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Sam is widely known as among the most well-connected people in the Middle East. He previously worked in the U.S. Senate, the State Department, and Deloitte and Touche. His previous roles included advising the White House, Fortune 500 Companies, and numerous head­-of­-state offices on the Middle East public policy landscape and regional innovation. Blatteis has a masters from Georgetown in Middle East Public Policy and studied Arabic and Chinese for five years, each. He has worked and lived in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait, Syria, Cairo, and the United States. Sam is from Silicon Valley, where his family has been north of 100 years.

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.

Nadim Ghrayeb

Cadillac

Nadim Ghrayeb

Cadillac

Head of Marketing for Cadillac Middle East, is responsible for driving all strategies relating to sales operations across the region and the communication of the brand. His previous position as the Regional Brand Manager for Cadillac Middle East saw him focusing exclusively on achieving long-term marketing objectives and delivering sustainable brand growth solutions. Prior to that, Ghrayeb oversaw the vision and management of marketing initiatives for GMC Middle East. As part of this role, he led communications campaigns that helped to elevate the brand’s legendary reputation. Ghrayeb first joined GM as a Marketing Manager for Cadillac Middle East, a title that saw him spearhead cross-media communications initiatives for the luxury auto brand – spanning myriad product launches – across key markets. Ghrayeb holds a Bachelor of Science from Beirut’s Lebanese American University.

2018 step money speakers

Noelle Acheson

Coindesk

Noelle Acheson

Coindesk

Noelle works on new media products at CoinDesk, the #1 media resource for the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. After many years in finance and tech entrepreneurship, Noelle caught the bitcoin bug in 2013. As she researched, she realised that she was looking at the tip of the iceberg, and hasn’t looked back since. Don’t get her started on the possible impact on capital markets… After living, studying and working in four different continents, she now resides in sunny Spain.

Matthew Van Niekerk

Settlemint

Matthew Van Niekerk

Settlemint

CEO of Settlemint, an Economist and MBA by education. He has had an international career with 7 years in Tokyo in education, online retailing and the FX business, before he started at KBC in 2007 where he worked in several functions consulting senior management, as COO for the Belgian Consumer Finance business, and finally as the Head of Platform Innovation at KBC Securities Bolero.

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.

Michael Arrington

TechCrunch

Michael Arrington

TechCrunch

The founder and former co-editor of TechCrunch, a blog covering the Silicon Valley technology start-up communities and the wider technology field in USA and elsewhere. Magazines such as Wired and Forbes have named Arrington one of the most powerful people on the Internet.In 2008, he was selected by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.

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.

2018 super partners

strategic Partner

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2018 main partner

2018 Transportation partner

2018 pr partner

2018 media content partner

2018 magazine partner

2018 media partners

2018 Event app partner

2018 hospitality partner

What goes on

5 stages of content covering fintech, future tech, digital media, and all things entrepreneurship.

Talks & Workshops

We’re bringing back our flagship startup showcase, pitch competition, and mentor’s corner.

Startup Activities

We’re curating focused networking opportunities and meet-ups across industries, job levels, and interests.

Meet-Ups & Networking

Connect with your next partner, client and learn about what’s new in the market.

Exhibition Areas

Engage with brands that are leading in the tech and digital space.

Brand Activations

Food trucks, performances, and pop-up vendors all across the event areas will keep you entertained and relaxed.

Entertainment

Dubai Internet City

We're bringing you the most experiential tech event at the heart of Dubai's innovation hub.