STEP Conference 2018

Tech | Digital | Entertainment
April 5 & 6 | Dubai International Marine Club

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Our Story

Since the event started in 2013, STEP has grown from 300 to more than 4000 attendees in 2016 interacting, engaging and sharing experiences, while the conference has expanded from technology-centric to become the largest gathering for technology, digital and entertainment industries in the MENA region.

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Who Attends


Osman Sultan

Osman Sultan is the founding CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC-du. Having joined the company in January 2006. Today, in less than a decade of operations, du has reported annual revenues exceeding USD 3.4 billion and a market share of 47% under his guidance and leadership.

Sultan has enjoyed a successful career for over 30 years spanning Europe, North America and the MENA region. Prior to joining du, 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. In his free time, Osman Sultan spends quality time with his family – his wife, five children and his parents.

Hyperloop One

Colin Rhys

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.

Dentsu Inc.

Kei Shimada

Kei Shimada is a Japanese American entrepreneur from New York. After working for global companies big and small, he successfully established and ran Infinita, one of Japan’s first multinational mobile strategy firms.

Today Kei is Global Director of Innovation and Business Development of Dentsu Inc., Japan’s largest agency. He is responsible for leading a group wide innovation initiative while supporting the growth around 10 core areas of innovative technologies including artificial intelligence, biometrics, drones, fintech, IoT, locational big data, robots, space, VR/AR and wearables.

Kei also works with government ministries and municipal governments on crisis management infrastructures, going beyond the traditional advertising business to cultivate new and sustainable business opportunities. He leads a project team that created Japan's first smart device based evacuation management platform and evacuation shelter database and holds several related patents. The team is the only team in Japan that has won three government awards (each by a different ministry) in this category. He is also the Chief Lab Officer of dmLab, Dentsu’s media innovation lab in South East Asia.

Kei is one of the world’s most prominent speakers. He has delivered keynote presentations and moderated panels on future tech in more than 20 countries around the globe.

Wamda Capital

Fadi Ghandour

Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Capital, a Venture Capital fund that invests in technology-enabled companies in the Arab World, and the Founder & Vice Chairman of Aramex, a global logistics and transportation company.

He is also a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the Board of Endeavor Global and the Board of Trustees at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab.

Fadi is the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, a private-sector led community empowerment initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.

Jabbar Internet Group

Samih Toukan

In the year 2000 Samih founded and became the CEO of the world’s first Arabic email and largest Arab Online community. In 2005 Samih cofounded, the Arab Worlds largest ecommerce site. In 2009 Maktoob was acquired by Yahoo! and in 2017 was acquired by Amazon in the largest technology acquisition deals in the history of the region.

Samih is currently the Chairman of Jabbar Internet Group ( Jabbar today is one of the leading investors in Internet and technology companies in the region.

Samih holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of London and a Masters in Management and International Business from HEC University in France.

On 9/9/2009 Samih received Al Hussein Medal for Distinguished Performance of the First Order from His Majesty King Abdullah II in recognition of his contribution to the IT and Telecommunications sector in Jordan and the region.

On 15/12/2016 Samih received the Social Media Entrepreneurship Award for the private sector from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed al Maktoom in Dubai.

In 2011 and in 2012 Samih was named by ArabianBusiness magazine as one of the most 500 influential Arabs in the world. In 2014 Samih received the Takreem award for Outstanding Corporate Leadership in the Arab World.

Samih serves on several boards of companies and organizations and this year he was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Jordan. Between 2003 and 2005 , Samih was appointed by the Jordanian government as a member of the board of the Social Security Investment Fund (a fund of several billion Dollars).

Today Samih is an active investor, investing in many startups in the region and around the world. He also acts as a mentor to many entrepreneurs. Samih is also a founding investor in Oasis500, Jordan’s leading startup incubator.

Furthermore Samih is the Chairman of the board of UnderMyOliveTree, a non profit organization focusing on educational support for the unprivileged, and an investor and member of the board of Ruwwad Micro Venture Fund, which provides grants for entrepreneurs in marginalized communities in Jordan. He is also a cofounder of the RBK bootcamp in Jordan to train and graduate Jordanian and refugee computer programmers.

Ronaldo Mouchawar

Ronaldo Mouchawar holds a Master's degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

He has accumulative 15 years of experience in technology, and business management. He served as a technical and systems consultant with EDS in the US. In 2000, he spearheaded a consulting company that managed numerous, web and e-commerce projects in the Arab world. In 2005, he launched the first auction site for the Arab world.

Today Ronaldo is the co-founder and CEO of ( which has grown to be the largest online shopping mall in the Arab world. provides buyers and sellers with a convenient, competitive and safe shopping experience - with the widest selection of brands and products - anywhere in the region.


Maged Wassim

Maged Wassim is the Vice President for the IBM Cloud Business Unit across Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, including Pakistan and Turkey. His responsibilities include coverage for Cloud Software, Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Services and Advisory. His mission is driven by Innovation with Cloud which is leveraged through a growing ecosystem of enterprise customers, business partners, entrepreneurs, ISV’s and academia.

Maged joined IBM in 1999. He worked in the Consulting Services business as an Account Manager and acted as the Public Sector leader for Middle East and Africa. In 2010, he became the Integrated Technology Services Executive covering MEA region. In 2012, Maged led the building of IBM’s Business Partner network in GeoExpansion territories including Latin America, Africa, Central Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia Pacific, India, China and Australia.

In 2014, Maged became Vice President, Industry and Value Creation for IBM Middle East & Africa. As such, he was responsible for the strategy and execution of Cloud, Big Data & Analytics, Social and Mobile portfolios as well as other key growth initiatives for IBM globally across the Communication, Financial and Public sectors.

Entrepreneur & Venture Investor

Christopher Schroeder

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

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.


Christian Eid

Resident crazy, Christian heads up our marketing and finds it difficult to do things by the book. A true people person, he leads a team of equally innovative thinkers and strives to make sure Careem provides the vehicle to take colleagues, captains and customers further than they ever thought possible. Committed to the region, Christian drives our mission to build an institution that harnesses the trailblazing potential of the MENAP region as well as amplify the boldness of our ambitions.


Eddy Maroun

Eddy is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. In late 2012, seizing the opportunity of a lack of proper digital music service, Eddy and his partner Elie Habib launched Anghami (meaning My Tunes in Arabic). Since then, Anghami has reached over 33 million users, streams close to 20 million licensed Arabic & English tracks and is integrated with 20 mobile operators. Anghami successfully raised VC money from MEVP and recently from Samena Capital, it also has 2 telcos on board Mobily-KSA and du-UAE - it partnered with MBC the largest media group in the region.


Nadim Ghrayeb

Nadim Ghrayeb, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager 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.

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.

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.

UAE’s Ambassador to Russia

Omar Ghobash

Omar Saif Ghobash is the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Russian Federation. He is also the author of the recently published book Letters to a Young Muslim, which is written as a series of personal letters to his older son and offers a bold and intimate exploration of what it means to be Muslim in the twenty-first century.

Ghobash began his career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat at the UAE Mission to the United Nations. Prior to his appointment to Moscow in 2008, Ghobash founded the Third Line, Dubai’s first international contemporary art gallery showcasing artists from the Middle East. He is also a founding trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, which runs with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London; sponsors the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in memory of his father, Saif Ghobash, who was the UAE’s first minister of state for foreign affairs; and serves on the acquisition committee of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, and the board of trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi.

Ghobash was born in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah in 1971 and is of Arab and Russian descent. He studied law at Balliol College, Oxford University, and mathematics at the University of London.


Jonathan Labin

Jonathan is an experienced and hands on tech and media leader that is passionate about building high performance teams and growing businesses internationally.

He is the head of the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan at Facebook and leads the regional office in Dubai. As Facebook’s first employee in the Middle East & North Africa, he built the MENA team and business from the ground up and is responsible for growing revenues across Facebook’s family of brands. In September 2016, Jonathan was named media and marketing business leader of the year by Gulf Business.

Prior to Facebook, Jonathan was VP, Head of Ad Sales, Emerging Markets at MTV Networks and tasked with maximizing advertising revenues for brands like MTV, VIVA, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central across all media channels. During his tenure at MTV Networks, he also held the position of Strategy & Business Development Director for Viacom International, and played a key role in strengthening the company’s position across multiple lines of business and regions.

His passion for the technology and startup ecosystem combined with the corporate finance experience he gained as a consultant at Stern Stewart & Co also led him to become an investor and active advisor to a variety of startups in the Middle East.

Jonathan holds an MBA with highest distinction from Columbia Business School in New York and bachelor degrees in International Business from Universidad Pontificia Commillas in Madrid and the European School of Business in Reutlingen.

He speaks 3 languages fluently and has lived in Germany, Spain, Argentina, the US, the UK and the UAE.


Matt Brittin

Matt heads up Google’s business and operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa - helping consumers and businesses make the most of the digital opportunity.

Joining Google in 2007 to help build its business in the UK, he became MD of Google UK two years later. In 2011, he was promoted to VP of Northern and Central Europe, before taking over as President of Business and Operations in EMEA in 2014.

Matt is a non-executive director of Sainsbury’s, and a Trustee of charity The Media Trust. Matt has had a long career in media and marketing, joining Google from the newspaper industry, where he led commercial and digital operations at the biggest UK publisher. He previously worked at management consultancy McKinsey.

He has an MBA from London Business School, an MA from Cambridge and won silver medals for Cambridge in several Boat Races. He was also a member of the British rowing team and has won medals in eights and fours at the World Rowing Championships and represented Great Britain at the Olympics. In 2014, he was appointed a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta and he still rows regularly, though more slowly.

Matt lives in London, near the Thames, with his wife, teenage sons and small dog.


Anthony Le Roux

Anthony joined Uber in December 2013 as General Manager of Cape Town. A year and a half later, he moved to Poland to manage and expand Uber’s Eastern Europe - covering Poland, the Baltics, the Balkans as well as the CIS markets. In mid 2016, he moved back to Cape Town, now overseeing the whole of Uber’s Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEA) rides business. In this role, Anthony covers market strategy and operations in the MEA region, and works with expansion teams to identify and manage new market entries.

Having grown up in South Africa, Anthony began his career in investment banking at Standard Bank, providing mergers and acquisitions advice to a broad range of companies in the SSA market. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Cape Town, a Higher Diploma in Taxation Law from the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a CFA Charterholder. Anthony has a passion for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.


Dima Khatib

Dima joined Al Jazeera in 1997 as a broadcast journalist in Al Jazeera's Doha newsroom. She quickly became a news producer, known for managing the coverage of the channel during the Iraq War. She set up bureaus in China and Venezuela for the network and was the first female bureau chief of Al Jazeera's (in Latin America). In 19 years, Dima has reported from over thirty countries, interviewing presidents and people from all walks of life. In 2012 Dima was classified as the most connected woman on Twitter in the Middle East. Dima has also worked for WHO, Swiss Radio International, Radio Qatar (French), AFP and has lectured in journalism at the American University in Dubai. Of Palestinian and Syrian heritage, Dima studied English Literature at Damascus University, holds a Masters' Degree in Translation, Geneva University, Switzerland. She speaks eight languages and writes in four of them. Dima has one published poetry collection in Arabic: Love Refugee.

Planetary Scientist

Charles Elachi

Dr. Charles Elachi is Professor (Emeritus) of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology.  From 2001 to 2016, he was the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he played the lead role in developing the field of space borne imaging radar, and Vice President of California Institute of Technology.

During the late 80's and 90's, as the Director of Space and Earth Science programs, Dr. Elachi was responsible for the development of numerous JPL flight instruments and missions for Solar System Exploration, the Origins program, Earth Observation and Astrophysics.

In the mid to late 90’s, Dr. Elachi chaired a number of national and international committees, which developed NASA roadmaps for the exploration of neighboring Solar Systems, our Solar System, and Mars.

During his 16-year tenure as JPL Director; JPL launched 24 missions. He is a member of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency International Advisory Council, the past chair and member of the Lebanese American University Board of Trustees New York and Beirut, a member of the International Advisory Board of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia, a past member of the International Advisory Council of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and a member of the International Advisory Board of the University Oman.

Dr. Elachi participated in a number of archeological expeditions in the Egyptian Desert, the Arabian Peninsula and the Western Chinese Desert in search of old trading routes and buried cities using satellite data.


Robert Dearborn

Rob is Head of Elevate Operations for Uber Technologies' Advanced Programs. A group led by Uber's Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden, Advanced Programs focuses on future-forward initiatives to advance Uber's core mission of providing reliable, ubiquitous transportation and making cities more efficient. Elevate is Uber's initiative to accelerate on-demand, urban aviation. With help from a team of industry experts, the Elevate Team recently co-authored a lengthy whitepaper detailing Uber's goal to accelerate the ecosystem for bringing affordable electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft to market on their platform.

Rob has held roles on Uber's U.S. strategy team, Philadelphia city team, and at the National Football League. He is a native of Massachusetts, an alum of the University of Pennsylvania, and has been an aviation lover and nerd since installing Microsoft Flight Simulator in the 2nd grade.


Evan Burfield

Evan Burfield is the cofounder and CEO of 1776, where he works with startups around the world tackling important challenges in areas like education, health, energy, transportation, and cities. He is a frequent speaker and contributor to publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Huffington Post.

Evan matriculated at St. Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford, where he received a first class bachelor’s degree in triple honors philosophy, politics, and economics. While at Oxford, Evan received the George Webb Medley Prize for most outstanding thesis in economics for his game theoretic analysis of collaboration and organizational design. In parallel to his studies at Oxford, Evan was the Director of Strategy for Oakwood Global Finance in London, where he analyzed market opportunities in asset backed finance in markets across Europe and Asia.

Evan returned to Washington, DC in 2006 to found Synteractive, a consulting form focused on Gov 2.0 solutions. Synteractive designed and built platform that redefined how government can operate, such as for the Obama Administration. Synteractive was acquired by Smartronix in 2011.

Evan currently serves as a Trustee of the Federal City Council in Washington, DC and is on the board of advisors to the Rothermere American Institute in Oxford.

Wamda Capital

Khaled Talhouni

Khaled is Managing Partner at Wamda Capital, a Venture Capital fund investing in technology-enabled companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. He started his career at Dubai International Capital where he supported the development of the MENA region’s first seed capital fund. Since then Khaled assumed a number of venture capital and startup roles including heading investments and strategy at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. Khaled has centered his career around identifying and investing in disruptive businesses that displace incumbent inefficiencies in traditional sectors of the economy. His areas of interest include ecommerce, Fintech, marketplaces, digital content and enterprise solutions. Through out his career Khaled has focused on building lasting partnerships with the entrepreneurs delivering the region’s digital economy.

Khaled has invested in and managed over 60 early stage transactions including Careem, Littlebits, Mumzworld, Insider, Modanisa and Luxury Closet and Step Group.

Khaled attended Duke University and graduated with a BA in Economics.


Jose Maria Arrabal

More than fifteen years of experience in sports marketing and sports internalization, helping the NBA and clubs such as Real Madrid and Malaga CF go global among others

He currently heads LaLiga in MENA with a clear vision of leveraging its global reputation and phenomenal audience into partnership and sponsorship agreements.

North Base Media

Marcus Brauchli

Marcus Brauchli is co-founder and a managing partner of North Base Media, a boutique investment firm specializing in media and media-technology companies in growth markets. He serves as an advisor or director of several, including leading news sites in the Philippines and Taiwan, a business-information provider in Africa, and the top digital-content monetization software company.

Before establishing North Base, Mr. Brauchli was a vice president of the Washington Post Co. and executive editor of The Washington Post. During his editorship, the Post won seven Pulitzer Prizes and quadrupled its digital audience. Before joining The Post, Mr. Brauchli was the top editor at The Wall Street Journal, overseeing its print and digital editions, as well as the Dow Jones Industrial Averages and MarketWatch, the financial news website. Mr. Brauchli oversaw the development and launch of the luxury lifestyle magazine, WSJ. He stepped down in April 2008, after News Corp. acquired the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones.

Mr. Brauchli spent 15 years as a Journal correspondent and bureau chief in Asia and Europe, living in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Stockholm. He served as the Journal’s national editor when the paper’s offices were damaged in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and helped to guide its Pulitzer-winning coverage that day.

Mr. Brauchli is a native of Boulder, Colo., and a 1983 graduate of Columbia University. He was a 1991-92 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He has served on the boards of the Overseas Press Club, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, the Knight-Bagehot Fellowships at Columbia University and the International Center for Journalists. He is chairman of the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, a U.S.-German exchange program. He is a trustee of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and on the advisory board of the Prix Pictet in photography. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Economic Club and a past media leader at the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Brauchli is married to Maggie Farley, a journalist. They have two daughters and live in Bethesda, Maryland.


Michel Malkoun

Michel Malkoun is Chief Operating Officer at DMS - the digital media arm of Choueiri Group. No stranger to the media scene, Michel has amassed a notable career, encompassing some of the most prominent regional media groups. He joined Choueiri Group in 2005, five years prior to his current engagement, which he took on in 2010. Prior to this, Michel spent a decade with the region’s top broadcasters (MBC Group). With a solid understanding of integrated media solutions across print, radio, TV and online, Michel’s role is centered on the promotion of next generation digital advertising solutions. Extending the MENA’s region’s largest hub of premium digital publishers to advertisers and brands, Michel’s commitment to harnessing greater innovation and effectiveness is aimed at transforming DMS into a major player on the digital media scene.

BuzzFeed News

Sara Yasin

Sara Yasin is a Palestinian-American journalist raised on a steady diet of hummus and fried chicken. When she's not busy making bad jokes on Twitter, she works for BuzzFeed News, leading the News Curation team in New York. She has previously worked at GlobalPost and Mic. She enjoys obsessing how we consume news, and the impact of false stories that go viral about Muslims.


Kim Ghattas

Kim Ghattas covers international affairs for the BBC from her base in Washington D.C. She also covered the 2016 American presidential campaign. She writes a regular column for Foreign Policy magazine. She was the BBC's State Department correspondent from 2008 until 2013, travelling around the world with three secretaries of state. She wrote a NYT best seller The Secretary- a Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power. Before moving to DC, she covered the Middle East for a decade, for the BBC and the Financial Times among others, from her base in Beirut, where she was born and raised. In 2006, she was part of an Emmy-Award-winning BBC team covering the Lebanon-Israel conflict. She has covered Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran extensively. Her work has also been published by the Daily Beast, TIME magazine, and the Washington Post. She appears regularly on NPR and American television shows to discuss foreign policy.

Eight Inc.

Tim Kobe

Tim Kobe founded the globally recognized strategic and experience design firm Eight Inc. in 1989. Today, Eight Inc. has offices in San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, Tokyo, London, Singapore, and Dubai and across China and is a leader in innovation and branded experience working with companies such as Apple, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Nike, Lincoln and Citibank. Eight Inc.'s projects have received international design awards and have been published across Asia, Europe, and the United States including Fast Company, Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg. Kobe has spoken globally in large-scale public conferences and events, private organizations and colleges and universities. He is also a trustee at Art Center College of Design and currently serving as Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee. Kobe also serves on the Board of Directors for the Grabhorn Institute in San Francisco California and divides his time between California and Singapore.


Stefanos Loukakos

Stefanos Loukakos is SMB Director at Facebook based in Dublin. His passion is to assist SMEs on how to use Facebook to grow their businesses. Before joining Facebook, Stefanos was the Country Director of Google Greece. In the past he has been CEO of a broadband operator and an investment banker in Paris, London and New York. He has received an MBA from INSEAD in Paris and also a Master degrees in Engineering from Stanford University and Berkeley in the US. He has two daughters and loves running.


Antoine Drevon

Antoine Drevon joined Orange Jordan family in January 1st 2016 as Value Creation and Customer Base Management Director.

Antoine a great knowledge and expertise in the ICT field, with over 16 years of experience mainly in the Home and Mobile marketing divisions in Orange Jordan and Orange France. He first joined Orange Group in 2002 shortly after graduating from EDHEC Business School, and his first professional experiences were at Reckitt-Benckiser France and Alcatel Mozambique. Before joining Orange Jordan, he worked at Orange Senegal for more than 3 years, initially within the Mass Market Division, where he focused on performance, CBM, and mobile prepaid portfolio, and eventually assuming the responsibility of performance and transformation in the Sales Division.


Ahmed Shihab-Eldin

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is an Emmy-nominated journalist working for AJ+ as a Senior Correspondent. In 2010, Ahmed created, produced and co-hosted Al Jazeera English’s “The Stream,” an award- winning interactive talk show nominated for an Emmy award for Most Innovative Program in 2012. That year, Ahmed helped launch the award-winning HuffPost Live for the Huffington post where he produced and hosted World Brief, a 30 minute interactive global news show, averaging one million views a day. Ahmed joined VICE in 2015 where he served as a correspondent/producer for eight pieces on their groundbreaking, award-winning documentary series VICE on HBO. In 2015 and 2016, he was featured on the Arabian Business power list of the planet’s 100 most influential young Arabs. In 2012 he was featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of ‘young disruptors, innovators & media entrepreneurs impatient to change the world’.

Before joining Al Jazeera English in 2009, Ahmed helped launch the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar where he worked as a Correspondent and led the site's editorial content. Before Qatar, Ahmed worked in New York as a Digital Producer at PBS’s award-winning series Wide Angle, a videographer for FRONTLINE/World and for The New York Times foreign desk.

In 2009, Ahmed began teaching digital media courses as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School Of Journalism, his alma mater, where he graduated with honors in 2007. In 2013, Ahmed published his first book, 'Demanding Dignity'

Ahmed has interviewed Presidents and A-list celebrities, but his passion is in giving voice to the voiceless and reporting under-covered global stories. Ahmed often appears as a commentator for CNN, NBC, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Yahoo and other online platforms. He is often invited to speak at leading media, technology, and ideas conferences around the world, including the UN, World Economic Forum, SXSW, Aspen Ideas Festival and Google Zeitgeist. In 2013, the Network of Arab-American Professionals honored him with the 2013 Professional Excellence Award.


Hans Christensen

Hans is currently serving as Director of Dtec, the largest technology entrepreneur centre of its kind in the Middle East housing 700 Tech start-ups and incubators, labs and soon also accelerators. He has 20+ years’ experience in building up departments in large organisations and starting small companies in South America, Europe and the UAE.

He has successfully attracted venture capital to several start-ups and held important global positions in large IT and financial institutions. Hans built-up and directed the team of the only technology incubator of Siemens ICN and ICM, successfully spinning off Garderos Software Innovation GmbH, a company specialised in access gateway software and routers for fixed and wireless hotspots.

As the Director of Dtec, Hans’ responsibility is to lead a team that manages a co-working, incubation and growth investment unit supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs from 64 nationalities with running their ventures. Additionally he serves on the board of several start-ups.

Hans is a member of the DSOA Smart City Committee and of the DSOA Dubai Islamic Economy taskforce. The Smart City concept is based on creating a new approach to managing cities of the future. The Islamic Economy initiative targets building a technology centre focusing on start-ups and Muslim consumers using the seven pillars of the Islamic economy as guidance.

Hans, holds a BA in Economics and Finance from Bentley University, and is currently finishing his EMBA at Hult International Business School.

More to be announced soon

Super Partners


What Goes On?

The crowd tunes in to big-name speakers and influencers as they engage in talks and discussions on our tech, digital and entertainment stages.

Talks & Panels

STEP attendees get access to numerous workshops about industry trends and best practices held by regional and international experts from the tech, digital and entertainment industries.

Workshops & Activities

400 startups will be showcasing their products & services in STEP2018 to a room filled with investors, industry experts, and fellow entrepreneurs.

Startup Basecamp

Startups pitch to an audience of fellow entrepreneurs, VCs, investors, and other professionals with prizes presented by our partners.

Pitch Competition

Startups and attendees get their very own 1-on-1 sessions with influential mentors.

Mentor’s Corner

Meet the hottest companies from tech, digital and entertainment industries, watch their latest innovations in display and find out about what they're up to next at STEP Exhibition Square.

Exhibition Square

Main Conference Partners

Conference Partners


Startup Basecamp

STEP2018 Startup Basecamp will feature 400 startups from all around the world exhibiting their products & Services in the largest startup showcase in MENA.

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