The World in Dubai


The Largest Tech Festival in Dubai


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Our Story

STEP started out as a series of workshops and small gatherings, and over 8 years has grown to become the largest tech festival in the Middle East. With 4 conferences, more than 250 startups showcasing, and 8000+ attendees over two days, STEP is home to the best entrepreneurs, creatives, and digital enthusiasts.

8000+

Attendees

400+

Showcasing Startups

100+

Participating Companies

$1+ Billion

Funding Present

conferences

1 festival, 4 conferences

Previous Speakers

Bibop
Gresta

Hyperloop

Bibop
Gresta

Hyperloop

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.

Christopher
Schroeder

Entrepreneur & Venture Investor

Christopher
Schroeder

Entrepreneur & Venture Investor

Christopher M. Schroeder is an American entrepreneur, advisor and investor in interactive technologies and social communications. He is author of the recent best seller, and first book on startups in the Arab World, Startup Rising — The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East. Schroeder was the CEO and Publisher of washingtonpost.newsweek interactive and co-founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital backed startupHealthCentral.com. Schroeder serves on the board of advisers of the American University of Cairo School of Business, American University School of International Service, and the boards of directors of the American University of Beirut, The German Marshall Fund and the American Council on Germany. He is on the Investment Committee of The Wamda Fund, one of the largest venture capital funds in the Middle East. He has co-led the Economic Recovery and Revitalization working group of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force. He was named one of LinkedIn’s first 50 Influencers. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Patrick
de
Laive

TNW

Patrick
de
Laive

TNW

Patrick de Laive (36) is co-founder of TNW, the most influential tech media entity with a global audience which is not based in the US (The Netherlands actually). He is one of the young leaders under 40 of the European tech scene. Patrick is a frequently asked speaker at international tech events (Slush -Helsinki-, Launch.co -SF-, ARABSmiss -Dubai-, 4YFN – Barcelona, IDCEE -Kiev-, The South Summit -Madrid- and many more), but as he just entered the ‘fatherhood’ he is limiting the number of speaking engagements. In the past year he has been secretly working on a big data project, recently launched as Index.co. Index provides insights in private tech companies by turning unstructured content into structured intelligence on over 100k private tech companies.

Mike
Butcher

TechCrunch

Mike
Butcher

TechCrunch

Mike Butcher (FRSA) is currently Editor of TechCrunch Europe. Mike is also involved in a project to bring European technology entrepreneurs and investors together in a club environment called TechHub (@TechHub), in London initially. A long time journalist, Mike has written for UK national newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman. He is a former editor ofNew Media Age magazine, the leading new media weekly in the UK, and the European edition of The Industry Standard magazine. Since 1996 he has launched or re-launched numerous media web sites and in 2000 he was nominated as NetMedia’s European Internet Journalist of the Year. In 2004 he was voted “One of the 100 Innovators of the UK Internet Decade” by GfK NOP, the fourth-largest custom research business in the world. In July 2008 he was put at No. 47 out of the Top 100 people in London’s creative industry by The Independent newspaper and The Hospital Club. In August 2008 TechCrunch Europe was awarded the best “Web 2.0 and business blog” in the UK, by the readers of Computer Weekly magazine. In 2009 it was named as one of the Top 10 blogs out of the UK. Also in 2009 he was named one of the Top 10 bloggers on Twitter in the UK. In October 2009 he was named one of the Top 50 most influential Britons in technology by The Daily Telegraph. In April 2010 he was named as one of Britain’s Top 100 “digital power-brokers” by Wired UK magazine. In April 2010 TechCrunch Europe was shortlisted in the Specialist Digital Publisher category of the prestigious UK-based Association of Online Publishers’ Digital Publishing Awards. In November 2010 he was named as one of London’s most influential people in New Media and “king of dotcom commentators” by The Evening Standard Newspaper. In February he was listed as one of the Top 100 most influential people on Twitter in the UK. He has spoken at the prestigious Monaco Media Forum and Le Web, among many other conferences. Mike is a regular commentator on the technology business, appearing on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 and Bloomberg. Mike’s personal blog is mbites, while he Twitters as @mikebutcher.

Noah
Raford

Dubai Future Foundation

Noah
Raford

Dubai Future Foundation

Dr. Raford is an advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office and has played a role in the establishment of the UAE’s first national foresight unit, the Dubai Future Foundation and the Museum of the Future. He is also involved in a team that looks into future opportunities, strategic partnerships and initiatives for the Government of Dubai

Noor
Sweid

Global Ventures

Noor
Sweid

Global Ventures

Ex-Chief Investment Officer at the Dubai Future Foundation Founding Partner at Leap Ventures, a growth-stage VC firm based out of Dubai and Beirut Active angel investor Led the IPO of the first company onto the NASDAQ Dubai and the LSE, Depa, where she scaled the company tenfold in three years prior to listing at US$1.1B (April 2008) Founded and scaled ZenYoga, which was later sold to a private equity firm in 2014 Biopharma strategy consultant at Accenture in Boston Director-in-Residence for the Corporate Governance program at INSEAD Founding Board member at Endeavor UAE Bachelors’ degrees in Finance and Economics from Boston College MBA from MIT Sloan

Henrique
Dubugras

BREX

Henrique
Dubugras

BREX

Henrique Dubugras is Co-Founder & CEO of Brex — the first of its kind corporate card for startups. A Brazilian entrepreneur, Henrique built payments company Pagar.me — the Stripe of Brazil — when he was sixteen years old. In just three years, Pagar.me grew to $1.5 billion in volume of transactions processed. In the fall of 2016, Henrique sold Pagar.me and enrolled at Stanford University. After eight months, he left school and founded Brex, which raised $215M in funding across three rounds in its first 18 months and was the fastest U.S. business-to-business company to be valued at over $1bn.

Kinda
Ibrahim

Twitter

Kinda
Ibrahim

Twitter

Kinda Ibrahim @kindaibrahim joined Twitter as the Director of Media Partnerships for the Middle East and North Africa. Her team focuses on accelerating Twitter’s push for content partnerships across the news, politics, sports, TV and entertainment verticals through working with key publishers to prioritize Twitter as their first and immediate platform to reach, delight and engage with their audience across Twitter’s live, public platform. Kinda has over 12 years of international experience in digital media, marketing and analytics acquired in both the Middle East and North America. She joins Twitter from Microsoft where she was the Editor-in-Chief responsible for English MSN Arabia. Prior to that she led the media operations division at Yahoo Maktoob. Previously, she played an instrumental role in shaping the digital and data strategy at companies such as EMAP Middle East, the Yellow Pages group and the National bank of Canada.

Mudassir
Sheikha

Careem

Mudassir
Sheikha

Careem

CEO and Co-Founder at Careem Mudassir looks after growth and expansion. He spent a geeky decade in Silicon Valley before becoming a management consultant in the region. He aspires to build the Middle East's first corporate institution that will improve people's lives and inspire others. When not traveling, he is hanging out with Captains and giving engineers feedback on user interface. He is an alum of McKinsey, Stanford and USC.

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.

Ali
Jaber

MBC

Ali
Jaber

MBC

Dean, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Communication at American University of Dubai (AUD) Group TV Director, Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, MBC. Ph.D. (in progress) Arab Satellite Television, King’s College, University of Cambridge, UK M.S. Communications, Syracuse University, USA B.B.A. Business Administration, American University in Beirut, Lebanon Born in Lebanon in 1961, Mr. Jaber completed his Bachelors in Business Administration at the American University of Beirut in 1984 before going on to earn his Master’s degree in Communications at Syracuse University in the US in 1986. Upon returning to Beirut, Ali joined the Fine Arts faculty of Beirut University College. There he helped set up their Broadcasting Department and for eight years taught a range of courses in television production. Concurrently, Ali worked as a Journalist covering the war in Lebanon and Iraq between the years 1987 to 1999, he was the correspondent of New York Times and The Times of London between 1989 and 1994, and Chief Correspondent for Lebanon and Syria for the German Press Agency (DPA) from 1987 to 1999. In 1992 he was approached by then Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and was asked to set up, from the ground up, a privately owned pan-Arab television station. Ali founded and managed what later became Future TV till 2003. While with Future, Ali oversaw the building of Future’s satellite broadcast and also started and managed a youth-oriented sister channel, Zen TV, which he ran for five years. In 2004, he was approached by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and brought in as a consultant to head Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), to revamp and re-launch its seven national and pan-Arab satellite channels. In 2006, after 2 years in which Ali successfully managed to restructure the channels’ on-air branding and their content as well as re-organize the company’s out of date management structure, Ali was appointed DMI’s managing Editor. Working closely with now UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DMI’s Board Members and the Chairman of Dubai’s governmental organizations, his responsibilities are wide-ranging and have grown to include the development of the media sector in the UAE. In 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum instructed Ali to set up a Communication School at the American University of Dubai. In July 2008 Ali was named Dean of Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Communication (MBRSC) and this year MBRSC graduates fifty students with degrees in Journalism and Digital Storytelling. One of the unique characteristics of the School is that it teaches all media writing courses in the Arabic language and its curricula focuses on Digital Media and Multi-platform Storytelling. In 2011 Ali was approached by Middle East media leader, MBC Group for a different type of challenge – this time in front of the camera, as a judge for the internationally mega-successful format, “Arabs Got Talent”. The show was a ratings hit, and raised the profile of MBC 4 to the #2 channel in the region. During that same year, and in parallel, Ali closed a deal with MBC to become Group TV Director of MBC’s 20 channels. In that capacity, and as of October 2011, Ali oversees content planning, acquisition, and programming for all the Group’s general entertainment and niche channels. Ali Jaber serves on the Dubai government Council for Design and Fashion, he also helped set up thenon-governmental organization: Young Arab Leaders (YAL) and was on the Advisory Board of American University of Beirut, School of Architecture and Design, in Beirut, Lebanon. Ali currently spearheads the Dubai government initiative the set up the Dubai School of Design in association with Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and the New York based Parsons school of design and Fashion. Ali is also the goodwill ambassador for Sanad, the home hospice organization in Lebanon which offers free physical, psychological and spiritual support for terminally ill patients.

Jenny
Zeng

MSA Capital

Jenny
Zeng

MSA Capital

Managing Partner at MSA Capital and brings over 18 years of experience in the Chinese VC industry. At MSA, Jenny leads investments. Jenny (Yu) Zeng was the founding Executive Director of the China Venture Capital Association in 2002. In 2004, She founded one of the first Financial Advisory firms in China (Maple Valley), and led many landmark deals in the industry. She also organized the first series of Angel Investing events which pioneered the concept of angel investing in China. She graduated from Beijing Information Science and Technology University. She is one of the founders of the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab).

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.

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.

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).

Previous 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. 

 


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