The Most Experiential
Tech Festival in the Middle East

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STEP Start

STEP Start includes startup mentorship sessions, flagship pitch competition, and partner activations.

2018 Speakers

More Speakers will be announced soon

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.

Patrick Rogers

Support Legal

Patrick Rogers

Support Legal

Patrick Rogers is a Co-Founder and Principal of Support Legal, a disruptive legal services platform dedicated to entrepreneurs and emerging companies that is leading the innovation of the legal sector across the Middle East and Africa. Having honed his skills at DLA Piper and Jones Day, two of the world’s largest law firms, Patrick has extensive experience in guiding clients through the maze of legal issues they face every day. He is unwavering in his belief that the legal industry needs to be driven in a fresh and innovative direction in order to maintain its relevancy. Patrick believes entrepreneurs are the engines of every economy, driving positive growth, not only in their respective sectors, but the world as a whole. He is passionate about using his unique skill set to support entrepreneurs and the companies they are building through the innovative legal services platform that Support Legal has developed.  Patrick has worked on a wide array of transactions in over 40 countries, from venture capital financings and private equity deals to franchising and IP-related matters. Acting as director and advisor to a number of high growth companies, Patrick also serves as a Venture Corps Mentor with the Endeavor organisation, a global non-profit organisation that aims to catalyse economic growth in emerging countries. He was also selected as a member of the founding mentor team of the Dubai chapter of 1776, a global incubator and seed fund helping start-ups transform industries that impact millions of lives every day: education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation and cities.  Patrick is licensed to practice law in England and Wales and Canada. He holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia and a J.D. from Western University and has lived and worked in Toronto, Hong Kong, London and Dubai, where he currently resides with his family.

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.

Faaris Naqvi

Bakery

Faaris Naqvi

Bakery

Responsible for the execution of Bakery’s strategy and vision. He works across all aspects of the business, in addition to serving on the Investment Committee of Bakery. Prior to the establishment of Bakery, Faaris worked at The Abraaj Group in various roles, namely within the investment and value creation team, in addition to the central execution team. Both experiences enabled him to understand and identify strong patterns for to leverage growth markets, while also understanding the requirements of their particular consumers. The majority of his time within the investment teams was spent focused on technology enabled businesses – something he has always been keenly interested in – the most recent of which was being seconded into Careem for the duration of The Abraaj Group’s investment in the company. There he was responsible for liaising between Careem and Abraaj and executing on the value creation plan that was co-developed by both organizations. His belief in ‘convening power’ created the basis for Bakery’s mission to build both physical and digital spaces for the entrepreneurs it invests in and was instrumental in the organization providing them with access to its infrastructure – something that enables them to go far beyond the typical early stage investment capital model. Bakery invests with a focus on value creation, while building an ‘enabling’ culture and environment for its entrepreneurs. Faaris has been an early stage investor in a personal capacity for a number of years, and is also a director of MENA Venture Investments – an angel investment vehicle that holds more than 80 early stage investments globally. He holds a BA in History and Political Science from Columbia University, New York. He also serves as a Trustee of AMAN Foundation, a social sector enterprise in Pakistan. The Foundation is dedicated to transforming lives by focusing on the key pillars of health and education to positively impact the lives of millions of marginalized Pakistanis.

Hosam Arab

Namshi

Hosam Arab

Namshi

As co-founder of Namshi, the Middle East’s premier online fashion destination, Hosam Arab is committed to revolutionizing the way the region shops. Hosam and his partners have overseen the dramatic growth of the online fashion retailer - taking it from a small fashion upstart in 2012, to the region’s leading online fashion and lifestyle destination. Working collaboratively with a team of industry experts, Hosam is currently driving the company’s transition into becoming a household fashion brand across the region. Prior to co-founding Namshi, Hosam worked in Private Equity with Waha Capital in Abu Dhabi, sourcing new investments for the firm across multiple industries and managing Waha's portfolio of assets. Other earlier posts include a regional Project Management role at GE, as well as a Project Engineer post, with responsibility across Europe and Africa, at Schlumberger. A UAE resident for more than 30 years, Hosam earned a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Canada’s Queen's University and holds an MBA from the prestigious Harvard Business School in Boston. In his spare time, Hosam enjoys spending time with his two children and is an avid football fan. As a fitness and football enthusiast, Hosam’s go-to Namshi brands include Nike, Adidas and Lacoste.

Saad Umerani

Enabling Future

Saad Umerani

Enabling Future

Managing Partner at Enabling Future, a venture capital firm headquartered in Dubai and investing in start-ups globally. At Enabling Future, Saad has lead early stage investments in promising and truly unique companies like Cowlar (the Fitbit for cows), Alem Health (Radiologist in a box) and Alesca Life (0 mile farming). Saad is a former technology and social entrepreneur. He has created two fintech software programs at his previous company ValuStrat. These softwares have added efficiency to banks’ lending and KYC processes in the Middle East.

Elissa Freiha

Womena

Elissa Freiha

Womena

An angel investor, motivational speaker, and founder of WOMENA, a Dubai-based angel investment platform. As an active angel with over 40 investments, she has won numerous awards including being the first female recipient of Investor of the Year at the StartUp Awards. She is frequently listed by media outlets, most notably by the BBC as one of their 30 women under 30, and by Arabian Business as one of the 100 most influential Arabs. Elissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Global Communications from the American University of Paris, the city in which she was born and raised. She is an Emirati of Lebanese and American decent and is a strong advocate for equal rights, and women's rights with a focus on the Middle East. Her passions for entrepreneurship and gender diversity have given her the opportunity to speak at events around the world and has drawn the attention of brands such as Cartier, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Burberry.

Yousef Hammad

BECO Capital

Yousef Hammad

BECO Capital

Managing Partner at BECO Capital. Prior to joining BECO Capital, he held various roles with General Electric most recently a Commercial Operation Director for GE’s Aviation business, responsible for managing sales campaigns for KSA & Turkey. Prior to that, Yousef worked in the GE & Mubadala $5bn Joint Venture. He also co-founded multiple businesses in KSA; Cafea Arab, an artistic & social space cafe; Eventana, a corporate event management firm; and Chemya, an industrial chemicals & lubes distributor. Yousef has also been an active angel investor over the past few years where he invested in multiple startups around the globe.

Imad Ghandour

CedarBridge Partners

Imad Ghandour

CedarBridge Partners

The Co-founder & Managing Director of CedarBridge, an investment company focused on high growth opportunities in education, healthcare and retail in MENA. Imad has more than 15 years experience in private equity and investments throughout the MENA, UK and China with particular focus on education, healthcare, wellness, and beauty. He is currently a director in the board of Kids First Group, the region’s largest chain of nurseries; SAE Arabia, a specialized college in UAE; AlShams Laboratories, one of the largest diagnostic chains in MENA; Sisters Beauty Lounge, a large chain of beauty salons in UAE, and The Grooming Company, another large chain of grooming brands in UAE. He had also served as a director in the board of CIRA, the largest chain of schools in Egypt; Maarif Education, the largest educational group in Saudi Arabia; TechnoScan, the largest chain of radiology centers in Middle East; Advanced Laboratory Services, the largest reference lab in Saudi Arabia; and Metito, the largest water engineering group in MENA. Imad is also a co-founder of the MENA Private Equity Association, and was awarded by Private Equity World the prestigious Private Equity MENA Merit Award for 2011. Imad holds an Engineering Bachelor degree from American University of Beirut, and a Masters of Business Administration from University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Marwan Elfitesse

Station F

Marwan Elfitesse

Station F

In charge of Station in-house programs (Founders, Fighters and Fellowships), previously Azure product manager at Microsoft and at Nimbula, a private Cloud company based in the Silicon Valley and acquired par Oracle.

Michael Lints

Golden Gate Ventures

Michael Lints

Golden Gate Ventures

Graduated from The Hague University of Applied Science in Management and Information Science and worked briefly as a project manager in NN Group, Netherlands largest insurance and asset management company. His entrepreneurial spirit kicked in right after and he went on to start his own IT business specialising in Microsoft environments and IT project management. He was the former vice chairman of the Economic Development Board Rotterdam which helped him built an extensive international network. In 2007, Michael founded his own venture fund focused on Dutch’s small and medium-size enterprise to help them with capital financing, development and relevant support and strategy. Through his earlier Venture in the Netherlands, Michael got acquainted with Golden Gate Ventures and moved his family to Singapore to join Golden Gate Ventures, as Venture Partner in 2013 to help with fundraising, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. Michael has helped raised over over $60M USD for Golden Gate Ventures and its portfolio companies and is now a Partner at Golden Gate Ventures since 2017.. Michael graduated from Financial Analysis for Business Valuation, and Private Equity and Venture Capital Executive course in Harvard Business School in Cambridge in 2011. He is a true believer in a work-life balance lifestyle and has completed marathons, cycling and Ironman races all over the world in his spare time and was recently appointed one of the Singapore ambassador for top cycling brand, Trek.

Rana Nawas

When Women Win

Rana Nawas

When Women Win

A published writer and sought-after speaker on a mission to inspire women of all backgrounds to shine. Born in England to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, Rana grew up like many Western-educated Arabs facing the dichotomy of liberal and traditional values. Rana’s education at Oxford University and Harvard Business School gave her a strong foundation to solve problems and negotiate effectively. A foundation which she used over her 17-year corporate career spanning McKinsey & Company’s London Office, the Dubai Government, and GE Capital. Nothing could have prepared her for the harsh reality that women face as they rise through the corporate world. Dealing with everything from unconscious bias to archaic processes, she eventually realized the game was rigged. And over the course of her corporate career she led the charge in rewriting policies, championing pay parity, and helping women rise in their professional and personal lives. Rana’s a mother of two and a wife of one, she’s the creator and host of the podcast When Women Win, sharing inspirational stories and tools boss ladies from all walks of life have used along their journeys, and the chapter president of Ellevate, a global organization that brings professional women together. Rana has been featured in the press, on TV and on radio. She has spoken in front of diverse audiences on a variety of topics, and has been labelled a “thought-provoking”, “fact-driven” and “inspiring” speaker. You can find Rana on Instagram and LinkedIn @rananawas and her podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or whenwomenwinpodcast.com

Issa Aghabi

International Finance Coorporation

Issa Aghabi

International Finance Coorporation

Issa has been in the finance and investments industry for 13+ years with a focus on Venture Capital in the wider TMT space. He has successfully closed over 50+ direct and indirect investment deals (from $100K to $25M per transaction), managed over $150m in MENA Venture funds and served as a BOD member for a number of companies, providing commercial and business strategies, along with general operational, and financial support. In 2015, he led the exit of twofour54's largest two investments, and more recently in 2017, led the exit of IFC’s largest MENA direct deal, souq.com. He also led the creation and launch a leading accelerator in the MENA region. He currently oversees IFC MENA venture investments both from a growth capital and fund of fund perspective.

Vera Futorjanski

Advisor, Mentor, Social Impact Advocate

Vera Futorjanski

Advisor, Mentor, Social Impact Advocate

global ambassador and mentor for Vital Voices, a Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright NGO. She is the part of the founding team for the Dubai Future Accelerators, which was launched to pair the world’s most exciting technology companies with leading government departments to create transformational solutions with a global impact. Before joining the government of Dubai, Vera set up the UAE chapter of Techfugees, a social enterprise mobilizing the international tech community to respond to the refugee situation. Prior to that, Vera was the Founder and MD of a tech startup, one of Rocket Internet’s tech ventures in MENA. Before her career in the tech world, Vera completed her MSc at the London School of Economics and worked as a political consultant in the European Union in Brussels. She has lived in 10 countries and is fluent in five languages.

Nour Al Hassan

Ureed

Nour Al Hassan

Ureed

A female founder and CEO of two companies that specialise in linguistic services and translation -- Tarjama and UREED. Building on the success of Tarjama, which she founded in 2008, she realised there was demand to leverage the power of the internet to connect businesses and freelancers across the region through a digital marketplace called Ureed. Ureed, which means I want, is an on demand tool that creates jobs for the freelance workforce while at the same time gives businesses of any size access to a pool of talent who can translate quality content, in more than 30 languages, including Arabic, English and French instantly. Nour is focussed on driving Ureed to become the region’s official editorial marketplace for linguistic and editorial services offering editorials services, such as blogging, copywriting, legal documentation, editing and proofreading. Nour has spent her career creating and building a vast network of translators, editors, and linguists from the Middle East and around the world through Tarjama, a renowned translation company, which has translated more than 200 million words in 30 languages for companies and organisations across the world. For nearly a decade, Nour has pledged her time and expertise to empower females across the region, and she is continuing to this day to break barriers and drive the female workforce across the GCC and beyond. Nour is a lifelong advocate of women’s empowerment, a mission that is truly reflected in Tarjama’s high impact business model, which trains and employs the largest network of Arabic-speaking female translators in the world. This will continue through her work at Ureed, as the platform will maximise the global economic impact that women contribute to the workforce by offering a marketplace for for all Arab translators, editors, and interpreters in the region. With more than 15 years of experience, Nour is an Aspen Fellow, a certified life coach, and a member of both the advisory board at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. She is a mentor to start-ups, spends time speaking to entrepreneurs and empowering the ecosystem in MENA to promote the value creation potential of the region. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Al-Ahlia University in Jordan.

Tushar Singhvi

Crescent Enterprises

Tushar Singhvi

Crescent Enterprises

The VP Corporate Development & Investments at Crescent Enterprises. In this role, Tushar is responsible for evaluating and executing new investment opportunities, and managing existing portfolio companies through strategy and corporate development. He has been instrumental in cultivating and stewarding corporate prospects, and contributing to the development and refinement of Crescent Enterprises’ strategic and operational plans within the ports and logistics, business aviation, healthcare, private equity and media and entertainment verticals. Tushar has more than 12 years of experience in investment management, corporate finance, M&A, strategy and project management in sectors including power, logistics, oil and gas, healthcare and infrastructure development. He has worked on a range of transactions including M&A, capital raising, divestment advisory, debt advisory and restructuring.

Waleed Alballaa

STV

Waleed Alballaa

STV

With a career that has spanned many links across the hi-tech food chain locally and internationally, Waleed is well equipped for his mission as a partner in one of MENA’s biggest VC funds, STV, to unlock the potential of the region's innovation ecosystem.

Amir Farha

BECO Capital

Amir Farha

BECO Capital

Amir has been actively involved with a wide range of early stage ventures as an entrepreneur, mentor and investor, starting his career at CLS Capital Partners, a Corporate VC firm based in London, followed by what was then the first seed capital fund in the MENA region, the Arab Business Angel Network, before becoming an entrepreneur himself. Amir has co-founded a number of local businesses, including Tandem Partners, a startup and small business advisory firm; Toolman, a property maintenance company; and Purple PR, a boutique PR agency. He holds a BSc in Computer Information Systems and an MSc in Management from the University of Bath.

Philip Bahoshy

MAGNiTT

Philip Bahoshy

MAGNiTT

Founder and CEO of MAGNiTT, an online pitching platform that connects entrepreneurs with investors. Raised in the UK with Iraqi origins, Philip obtained an MBA from INSEAD in 2013 and a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. During his time in Dubai, Philip worked at Oliver Wyman in the Financial Services practice for three years, followed by nearly three years at Barclays Wealth working as Chief of Staff to the CEO advising on strategic initiatives. Philip has lived in the UAE for more than seven years and is passionate about developing the MENA startup ecosystem.

Jos Dirkx

Build Brand Experience & DxBAcademy

Jos Dirkx

Build Brand Experience & DxBAcademy

An international public speaker, a marketing and communications advisor, an author and global coach. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and Managing Director of an award-winning creative communications consultancy based in Dubai, the UAE. She is the founder of the NGO Girls & Football South Africa and co-launched a mobile health app, mGirls, which delivered free healthcare information to 65,000 girls. Her upbringing in 12 countries and travel through 95 fuels her passion for creativity, cross-cultural communications, and arts-based storytelling, and led her to a new venture, the DxBAcademy, which focuses on reinspiring creativity for professional success. She is passionate about working with people in creative spaces to ensure personal and collaborative success. With a unique, global perspective, Jos's outlook transforms mindsets and creates space for change. https://www.publicspeakingindubai.com/

Sherif Tawfik

Microsoft

Sherif Tawfik

Microsoft

Assumed the role of Regional Director - Commercial Partners, Channel, and SMEs, Microsoft Gulf in October 2017, primarily focused on driving Microsoft’s mission “to empower every person and every organization to achieve more”. He is currently responsible for the Commercial Partners engagement and Microsoft channel transformation in the Gulf region, leading the team in accomplishing key priorities including scale performance, partners & channel transformation, cloud growth in SMEs, and Go to Market execution. Prior to this, Sherif was the Regional General Manager for Microsoft Bahrain and Oman, empowering a diverse audience of governments, enterprise, start-ups, partners, IT professionals, developers, and consumers in both countries. His strong leadership skills and powerful unique mix of experiences fuelled his efforts to lead digital transformation in an intelligent cloud, intelligent edge business environment, while driving Microsoft’s real impact across economy and workforce through initiatives geared towards supporting SMEs, tech start-ups, education, and innovation programs. Joining Microsoft Egypt in 2000 as an Internet Solutions Specialist, he moved to Microsoft Gulf in 2003 as a Senior Consultant, based in Dubai. Later he moved to Middle East & Africa headquarters where he setup a World Class Regional Shared Services Center serving multiple businesses. Sherif also served as the Regional Director for Solutions Sales for Microsoft Middle East and Africa – an area spanning 80 countries across 3 continents. It is worth mentioning that Sherif worked with different Governments across the area on capacity building initiatives to improve employability and skills. Sherif holds a bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering & Computer Science from Ain Shams University – Egypt, and he was recently awarded his Executive MBA from London Business School (LBS) with Distinction falling within the top 10% of his class, with a focus on Technology Ventures, Start-ups, Internet Marketing, and Financing the Entrepreneurship Business. Throughout his tenure at Microsoft, he has received many awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements, among which are five Microsoft’s Circle of Excellence Platinum Awards for Outstanding Achievement and the ‘Chairman Award’ presented by Bill Gates. Sherif has four daughters and he enjoys outdoor activities, ski diving, and scuba diving.

Ola Doudin

Bitoasis

Ola Doudin

Bitoasis

A tech entrepreneur based in Dubai, UAE with successful track record in growing and raising funding for tech startups. Previously she worked at Aramex Corporate Ventures, Ernst & Young and supporting tech entrepreneurs locally and regionally. She’s a holder of BEng(Hons) Electronic & Communication Engineering degree from University of Birmingham (UK).

Malik Shehab

Golden Scent

Malik Shehab

Golden Scent

Malik Shehab is the co-founder and Managing Director of beauty and lifestyle e-commerce platform Golden Scent. A Saudi national, Malik brings a track record of entrepreneurial successes and financial management to his role. Malik is a financial expert who has served as a banker with CommerzBank AG Germany. He also has experience in project management and deal- making in regional markets, and has also discharged duties as Assistant Project Manager for Al Shehab Real Estate. Malik believes in the power of startups in contributing to national economies and addressing the needs of specific audiences. Golden Scent, for instance, is specifically designed to bring a range of beauty products to female audiences in Saudi Arabia. Malik’s network of connections, long-term business relationships and ability to harness investment for innovative ideas make him ideally suited to his entrepreneurial role. He firmly believes that success comes from innovating rapidly, and being brave enough to follow through with promising ideas. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance & Accouting from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, and is fluent in English, Arabic and German.

Laith Zraikat

Arzan Capital

Laith Zraikat

Arzan Capital

Founded his first startup in 1997 to bring more people and businesses in Jordan onto the World Wide Web. As Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Jeeran, Laith served many roles while shaping and executing the company’s product vision, and growing its user base from a handful of friends to nearly 7M users. As Jeeran matured, he decided to leave in 2012 and pursue his true passion, working with startups. Since then he has advised and mentored many startups in product and technical areas. A self taught technologist and a geek at heart, Laith enjoys working closely with passionate developers and designers on new and bold ideas. In December of 2015 Laith decided to join a Venture Capital firm and work with startup from the other side of the table. As a VC he works on identifying promising early stage teams and companies, and enjoys working closely with them on solving product and technical challenges. He still codes almost daily, and speaks fluent Arabic, English, Objective-C, PHP, C#, JavaScript, SQL, CSS, HTML, and a little bit of Python. Laith holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of Jordan.

Fadi Bizri

B&Y Venture Partner

Fadi Bizri

B&Y Venture Partner

Partner at B&Y Venture Partners, a $46M venture capital fund based in Beirut, focused on investing in high-potential technology startups, with a global mandate. BYVP focuses on seed-stage startups in MENA, and on growth-stage startups internationally Fadi co-founded and is a board director at Speed, Lebanon’s leading seed startup accelerator. Previously, he had co-founded Seeqnce, the first accelerator in Lebanon. He also co-founded SE Factory, a coding bootcamp for low-income youth. SE Factory helps talented students train on the necessary practical programming skills as well as soft skills that are required by the job market, subsequently providing access to top software development jobs. Fadi is a mentor and board member at a number of startups and advises organizations such as the World Bank, academic institutions and Lebanese government ministries on entrepreneurship policy and initiatives.

Hande Çilingir

Insider

Hande Çilingir

Insider

Following her studies at London School of Economics and Shanghai Normal University, Hande worked in China as an investment consultant following her experience in multinational companies including PepsiCo and Vestel. Upon graduation, she spent over 3 years establishing a highly prestigious international school where she travelled to over 40 countries, enrolling students around the world. Following the exit, she co-founded Insider with Serhat Soyuerel, one of her colleagues from LSE, in 2012. Recently, Hande was granted the most successful Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Microsoft. Aspiring to contribute to the startup ecosystem, Cilingir had found various start-ups and was awarded by Junior Chambers International (JCI). Hande was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in ISP-2014 and most successful woman CEO located outside the US by Crunchbase.

Wole Faroun

NetPlus

Wole Faroun

NetPlus

An entrepreneur and business development executive passionate about creating innovative products and solution to help businesses achieve sustainable growth. A visionary who has led teams in Fortune 500 companies to innovate, market and sell leading technology solutions delivering value to millions of customers in the B2B and B2C segments. He is passionate about changing the landscape and offering alternative e-commerce and electronic payment solutions that are safe, secure and offer integrated business solutions for retailers Wole has a career that has spanned over 18 years with Fortune 500 companies working in various functional areas including technology, business development, sales and marketing across several markets including Nigeria, US, UK and the Netherlands. As an entrepreneur, Wole founded NetPlus in Nigeria, where he has led the team to a successful round of institutional funding, achieve over 300% revenue growth in (3) consecutive years, and closed strong business partnerships with leading organizations such as Etisalat, FedEx and MasterCard. He is a contributor on CNBC Africa for the eCommerce and Payment segment of the Business Round-up and was nominated in 2016 as the Entrepreneur of the year in the CNBC Africa Business Awards. Wole holds a B.Sc in Computer Engineering from OAU, Nigeria and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania--

Muneeb Maayr

Bykea

Muneeb Maayr

Bykea

Graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001 to work in investment banking at Bear Stearns in New York City before returning to Pakistan a couple of years later to outsource bank end investment banking data entry for US-based SNL Financial, a content collection company. From 2004 to 2012, Muneeb helped build a 600 person back office for SNL in Islamabad operating 24/7 collecting data on public companies in the US. In 2012 when PE firm New Mountain Capital acquired SNL, Muneeb exited to join Rocket Internet as Co-Founder and CEO of Daraz, an Amazon style marketplace of consumer and fashion goods. In the 4 years Daraz raised $55 million and expanded to geographies outside of Pakistan. Muneeb left Daraz in the summer of 2016 to start Bykea, a ride hailing and instant logistics app that went live in beta on the Android Play Store in Dec 2016. Today, Bykea is Pakistan’s leading motorcycle ride hailing, express delivery and hyperlocal commerce app used by nearly a million Pakistanis.

Ali Al Amine

FitRepublik

Ali Al Amine

FitRepublik

Co-Founder and CEO of FItRepublik, Ali Al Amine is a entrepreneur who has built a very successful business catering to local communities in sports and wellness. His background in investment, leadership and entrepreneurship included working for Microsoft and Lenovo. Now, fresh from building FitRepublik, he is launching a new venture: Studio Republik. This first-of-its-kind concept will bring together drama, music, dance and production in an environment that simultaneously offers wellness through rehabilitation, diet, mindfulness and yoga, and strength and conditioning. Ali is an adventure athlete who lives in Dubai with his wife and two children.

Sara Hamdan

Editor of Think with Google MENA

Sara Hamdan

Editor of Think with Google MENA

Currently editor of Think with Google MENA, a blog at Google that's all about embracing the digital sphere. She is also founder of hotel review and style site Holidays in Heels (@holidaysinheels). Prior to this, Sara was the main writer for The International New York Times in Dubai, covering business and culture for six years.

Paul Epping

Singularity University

Paul Epping

Singularity University

Paul Epping is an experienced program manager and technical solution architect and serial entrepreneur. Prior to joining Philips, Paul worked as an independent consultant, program manager, entrepreneur, associated professor (innovation) and interim CIO in several Dutch hospitals. Consultancy and management role were mainly in the area of innovation and IT. He was responsible for the implementation of electronic patient record systems in several hospitals. Paul is experienced in designing new IT-infrastructures in new hospitals including moving existing IT-environment to new facilities. He mentored a number of start-ups, professional presenter worldwide about impact of exponential technologies. Worked in different continents in a variety of roles such as program manager of building new hospitals. Innovation is a red thread throughout his career.

Hasan Haider

500 Startups

Hasan Haider

500 Startups

A Partner at 500 Startups, the most active Venture Capital firm in the world, based in Silicon Valley, with 1,800+ investments in 50+ countries and $390m in AuM. Hasan heads up the firms practice in the MENA region, with the Arabic speaking market being a core area of focus. 500 Startups has invested in over 60 startups in the region over the course of the last 4 years, including Wuzzuf, Jamalon and fetchr. Hasan was the Co-founder and CEO of Tenmou, the first business angel’s organization in Bahrain and one of the first in the MENA region. Hasan’s work in developing angel investment in emerging markets through Tenmou has been picked up as a case study by the World Bank and is taught to Entrepreneurship Policy makers at Babson College.

Mouayed Makhlouf

IFC

Mouayed Makhlouf

IFC

Mr. Mouayed Makhlouf is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with IFC. He is responsible for the institution's investments and advisory programs from Morocco to Pakistan. Under his leadership, IFC committed $1.3 billion in MENA last fiscal year (FY16), part of an effort to combat poverty and spur economic growth by supporting the development of the region's private sector. Since Mr. Makhlouf assumed his position in 2011, IFC has invested almost $10 billion, including mobilization in long- term financing across MENA, supporting large equity transactions in sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing and financial services. Despite a challenging environment in the region, IFC's portfolio in MENA stands at around $6 billion and includes equity investments, long- and short-term debt, and mezzanine financing and syndications Prior to this appointment, Mr. Makhlouf was Manager, Financial Markets for the Middle East and North Africa. During that time, he helped implement regional industry strategies for IFC’s investment and advisory services arms managing a portfolio of about $1.7 billion. He joined IFC in 1998 in the Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa department based in Washington DC. There, he worked on multiple large transactions including major restructuring of the cement sector in Pakistan as well as supervising projects across the region. During the last 18 years at IFC, Mr. Makhlouf worked on multiple geographies in Emerging Markets spanning from Central Asia, to Eastern Europe as well as Latin America and Asia and including MENA. Mouayed holds a Master of Science in Finance degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Maysa Jalbout

Al Ghurair Foundation

Maysa Jalbout

Al Ghurair Foundation

A recognized leader in the field of education and philanthropy. A true industry veteran, Jalbout has more than 20 years of experience in building effective organizations, initiatives and partnerships in Canada, the Middle East and in developing nations. As the founding CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education - a landmark philanthropic initiative with a budget of $1 billion and an ambitious goal of educating 15,000 youth within 10 years - Maysa is focused on building an institution, initiatives and networks that are impact driven, sustainable and scalable. For her work in the region, Forbes recognized her as one of the 100 most powerful businesswomen in the Arab world in 2016 and 2017. Prior to this post, she held senior roles including her post as the founding CEO of the Queen Rania Foundation and trusted advisor to global leaders, philanthropists, companies and aid agencies investing in the developing world. Jalbout accredits her early career years in Canada - working on global education, development and youth employment - with preparing her for the challenging issues and organizations she manages today. She served at Global Affairs Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (HRDC). In her capacity as Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, Jalbout’s extensive regional and international experience has also allowed her to produce highly visible research and thought leadership strategies in several fields of education. As a former refugee, Jalbout is passionate about her work in support of refugees. In 2014-15, she authored a series of reports on Syrian refugee education including a report advocating for enrolling 1 million Syrian refugee children in school which was commissioned by Their World and endorsed by Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. Finally, Jalbout has served on the boards of well-recognized non-profit organisations. She is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Michael Dermer

The lonely Entrepreneur

Michael Dermer

The lonely Entrepreneur

A renowned speaker, author and entrepreneur authority – and an entrepreneur at heart. Michael is known for seeking ideas that act as “oxygen” – that breathe life into movements. His first well-known entrepreneurial venture, IncentOne, was the first company to introduce rewards and incentives to drive consumer and provider behavior more than a decade ago – long before rewards for healthy behavior were in vogue. Today, health rewards are everywhere and helps to energize consumers and providers to improve health. In some circles Michael is considered the founder of the health rewards movement. Michael’s company was sold to industry innovator Welltok in 2013. Michael’s latest venture is The Lonely Entrepreneur® - whose mission is to unlock the potential of entrepreneurs worldwide by turning their passion into success. Steeped in Michael’s experience leading IncentOne through bootstrapping, the financial crisis and the uncertainty of ObamaCare, The Lonely Entrepreneur is designed to be a single destination that provides entrepreneurs with the answers they need to all the personal and business issues they face from someone who has been in their shoes. In addition to the well-received book (which is now available in multiple countries throughout the world), The Lonely Entrepreneur has built an extensive online learning platform designed to eliminate the need for entrepreneurs to search the world for answers to the key personal and business issues that all entrepreneurs must learn. The learning platform is designed not only to help entrepreneurs, but to help the entrepreneur ecosystems throughout the world (governments, universities, companies, incubators, accelerators, workspaces) provide a framework for entrepreneurs to learn in a scalable environment. Michael appears on national and international media including MSNBC, CBS, ABC, The Huffington Post, Sirius Radio, Voice America and numerous national and international television, radio and internet channels and is a sought-after speaker in the entrepreneur community. Prior to founding IncentOne, Mr. Dermer was a mergers and acquisitions attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, a New York law firm. He is a graduate of Bucknell University and of Northwestern University School of Law.

Habib Hazzan

Ibtikar Fund

Habib Hazzan

Ibtikar Fund

Has over 20 years of experience as an attorney, business consultant and venture capitalist in the Middle East and worldwide. Mr. Hazzan was the Co-Founder & Managing General Partner of Al-Bawader, of Pitango Group, a USD 50 million venture capital fund investing in some of the leading technology, internet and mobile startups operating in the Middle East and worldwide. Prior to that Habib assumed project leadership roles at McKinsey & Co.; the leading business strategy consulting firm worldwide. Mr. Hazzan focused on growth strategy projects for Israeli and international telecom and financial service clients. Previously, over a 13 year period, Mr. Hazzan held consulting, strategic management and legal positions in Israel, the Palestinian territories and worldwide with IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Adam Smith International and Elias D. Khoury Law offices. Habib has worked in the Middle East, Europe, the Americas and Africa and is well- regarded and connected in all these geographies. Mr. Hazzan holds LL.B. and LL.M. degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MBA from Emory University in the US where he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.

Marc Fleschen

Zero One

Marc Fleschen

Zero One

A French native, Marc’s interest in international commerce started at an early age as he pursued his Bachelor's degree in Economics (1996) and a Master's degree in International Commerce (2000). A natural entrepreneur Marc chose the fast-growing innovative city of Dubai as the base for his international operations when he established his own company, JML Investment Group, in 2004. Less than 3 years later, JML represented more than 32 European brands across 45 outlets, in the United Arab Emirates. The Group also operated an executive chartered airline company with a fleet of 24 planes, alongside several other retail, real estate and marketing businesses. Marc was an early advocate for technology and its application in both business and lifestyle environments. His combined passion for technology, together with his strategic business acumen and international network, make him the ideal leader for Zero One.

Deepak Khanna

IFC

Deepak Khanna

IFC

An Indian national, is currently Country Manager and Chief Investment Officer, stationed in Dubai, U.A.E. His current responsibilities as Country Manager, include executing the country strategy, developing new business, handling relationships with the Authorities and the business community. Between 2001 and 2005, he was IFC’s Regional Manager for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia stationed in Hanoi. From 1998 to 2001 he served as IFC’s Country Manager for the Republic of Korea. For the prior decade, he was based in Washington D.C. covering the real and financial sectors in Asia. Mr. Khanna has both industry and financial markets experience and has served on the Boards of Directors of several financial institutions and industrial companies. Mr. Khanna holds a MBA degree from the George Washington University in the U.S. andaMaster’sdegreeinBusinessEconomicsfromtheUniversityof Delhi.

Alessandro Nadalin

Namshi

Alessandro Nadalin

Namshi

Alex Nadalin, currently CTO @NamshiDotCom, is all about distributed systems, golang, NodeJS, scalability, automated tests, software design and µseconds. Over the past 10 years he has been involved in projects for governments and multi-nationals, and helped shape the e-commerce scene in the Middle East. When he’s not working, you can find him speaking at conference, riding his motorcycle, blogging or eating indonesian food in the old side of Dubai.

Abdulaziz Al Loughani

Faith Capital Holding

Abdulaziz Al Loughani

Faith Capital Holding

Abdulaziz is co-founder & Managing Partner at Faith Capital, a venture capital practice that is focused on the GCC. Previously, Abdulaziz was the founding Executive Vice Chairman of the Kuwait National Fund for SMEs Development, a USD7bn independent public institution responsible for developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kuwait (2013-2017). Prior to this role, he was a co-founder and Managing Partner of Talabat until 2010, and has since then been investing in technology startups and involved in a number of local and regional entrepreneurial initiatives. Abdulaziz has also previously served as Director at Global Capital Management, the alternative investments arm of Global Investment House “Global” where he has played a major role in managing key investments within the Private Equity Group of Global by handling various assignments on corporate restructuring, business planning, deal structuring, due diligence and managing portfolio companies' to exit. Abdulaziz has served as an executive and member of board on a number of companies within the MENA region in the technology, banking, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer finance, food & beverage and real estate sectors. Abdulaziz holds a Bachelor's degree - double major in Information Systems and E-Commerce from University of Toledo, and an MBA degree from London Business School.

Leena Khalil

Mumzworld

Leena Khalil

Mumzworld

The co-founder of Mumzworld, responsible for the developmental strategy and growth of the business across the Middle East. Leena, relocated to region in 2009. Previously worked in London in both Investment banking focus on technology fund raising both through IPOs and Private placements. Leena later moved to work in business process outsourcing helping local government optimize processes and customer service through the utalising of technology. Leena is also kept busy by running a rich schedule for her children Hana, Ahmad and Jude.

Omar Chihane

SellAnyHome.com

Omar Chihane

SellAnyHome.com

The Co-Founder and CEO of SellAnyHome.com, the Middle East’s first and largest home buying service, providing free home evaluations and offers in 30 minutes. Omar has been active mentoring local entrepreneurs and giving talks at universities and multinationals such as Manlift and Mercedes-Benz to name a few, discussing subjects ranging from digital disruption to design thinking. He has been referred to in a recent article in Arabian Business as "the man who disrupted real estate investment". Omar is an MBA holder from the London Business School and has had a very successful corporate-level career in Management and Sales with multinational companies such as Siemens, Nokia and Microsoft where he led both regional and global business units, achieving sales targets that exceeded $100 million dollars. Omar is Lebanese / Canadian and lives in Dubai with his wife and 2 boys

Mansoor Sarwar

Sage

Mansoor Sarwar

Sage

Director of technical services and presales at Sage Middle East. He is a seasoned enterprise resource planning (ERP) professional with more than 12 years of relevant industry experience. He is also a qualified Sage technologies consultant and holds ISACA’s ‘Certified in Risk and Information System Control’ (CRISC) certification. He has been widely featured in relevant press articles and regularly presents at Sage and partner events. Prior to joining Sage, he worked as project manager at Colgate Palmolive where he managed a global SAP rollout.

Suneel Gokhale

VentureSouq

Suneel Gokhale

VentureSouq

Founding Partner of VentureSouq. Previously, he was Legal Counsel to a large sovereign wealth fund based in Abu Dhabi, advising on global M&A, investment fund (VC, PE and hedge funds) and capital markets transactions. Prior to this, Suneel practiced in the Corporate group of Allen & Overy's Abu Dhabi office and at Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto in the firm's Corporate Finance & Securities group. Suneel obtained a JD (with a concentration in business law) from the University of British Columbia, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a B.A. (Honours) from McMaster University (summa cum laude).

Ala' Alsallal

Jamalon

Ala' Alsallal

Jamalon

Founder and CEO of Jamalon, the largest online store for Arabic and English books in the MENA region, offering more than 10 million titles with worldwide delivery. Jamalon’s ultimate aim is to develop from an e-commerce offering for books into a disruptor of the publishing industry in the MENA region by enabling authors and IP rights owners to bypass the dysfunctional regional publishing industry and access the full value chain for publishing including printing, distribution and discovery. Ala' has worked on web development projects since 2004, and he has been working to administer the translation process of Wordpress.com into Arabic since 2006. As an undergraduate, Ala’ supervised a team of volunteers who translated “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” into Arabic and it crossed 1M downloads in 1 month, which was a driving force in the later creation of Jamalon.com. He holds a Masters of Science in Information Technologies and Telecommunications from Athens Information Technology and a Bachelors of Computer Science from Philadelphia University. Before starting Jamalon, he worked for CCC as an Automation Engineer in five different countries.

Assaad Farah

AUD

Assaad Farah

AUD

Dr. Assaad Farah is the Associate Dean of the School of Business Administration at the American University in Dubai (AUD) and a leading member of AUD’s Innovation Center. Dr. Farah works extensively with the public sector in the UAE on consulting and executive training in the areas of Knowledge Management, Strategic HR and Government Services. To list a few, he led a 3-year project on improving immigration services at Dubai International Airport and had a prime role in designing and delivering executive training to senior managers in the UAE Federal Government. In addition to his experience in the public sector, Dr. Farah worked in Canada for Fido (Rogers Telecom) and Bombardier Aerospace as an Operations Engineer. He also contributes to knowledge through the development of case studies published by Pearson and through manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Airport Management and the Journal of Knowledge Management and E-learning.

Zach Finkelstein

Careem

Zach Finkelstein

Careem

As the VP of Corporate Development, Zach coordinates Careem’s M&A, strategic partnerships and investor relations efforts. Prior to joining Careem, Zach was a co-founding member of Lumia Capital where he led or worked on investments in Careem, OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco), Xtime (acquired by Cox Automotive), Mulesoft (NYSE: Mule), Kabbage, Procore, and others. At Lumia, Zach completed investments across six different countries and was named 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital by Forbes Magazine in 2016. Before Lumia, Zach was an investment banker with Citi's Global Technology, Media and Telecom group. Zach holds a BA, magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tahani Karrar

Menar Media

Tahani Karrar

Menar Media

A Futurist, Fintech Enthusiast. and award-winning journalist. She started her career as an Editorial Graduate Trainee with Thomson Reuters News Agency in London, England, and worked as Middle East Correspondent for Dow Jones/ The Wall Street Journal where she covered the leading business stories in the Middle East and North Africa. Tahani founded Menar Media - The Social Media Specialist in 2012. Menar Media is one of the leading specialist social media agencies in the UAE and the Middle East with clients including Invest AD (Abu Dhabi Investment Company), Sharjah Government, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Neuro Spinal Hospital, Shane Phillips - Career Clinic and campaigns such as the Kobe Bryant Health & Fitness Weekend. Prior to founding Menar Media. She speaks fluent Arabic and has lived in Dubai for over eight years. Tahani is a regular contributor in traditional media on all topics social media and has been featured on The National Newspaper, Gulf News and Dubai Eye Radio.

Ahmed Abdulwahab

Next Arabia

Ahmed Abdulwahab

Next Arabia

Founder and CEO Next Arabia. which is a boutique advisory firm that helps corporate companies, government institutions and startups to develop and implement innovative business models. Ahmed is also a Senior Advisor to Forbes Middle East, which is a licensed edition of Forbes Media, a global media company with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership and affluent lifestyles He is also a Member of the Global Advisory Panel and the LeanStartup & Innovation Lecturer at The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain/UAE. Ahmed was most recently a Senior Advisor to and Head of TURN8 Seed Accelerator & VC Fund in Dubai/U.A.E. TURN8 is a collaboration between enterprise and innovators to foster a global entrepreneurial and innovation culture. He was previously the founding Head of the Incubation at Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), the largest in the Arab world. Under his leadership more than 1,000 people participated in innovation and entrepreneurship activities, 90 new startups and high-growth companies were developed and coached, 20 startups and 10 high-growth companies were incubated, and the 20 incubated startups generated a combined QAR 2 Million in revenues in less than a year. Prior Ahmed was the founding manager for the Entrepreneurship Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. After two years of launching the center, KAUST was select as the Best Higher Education Institution in the Arab World supporting entrepreneurship in 2012 during the 3rd Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Dubai, UAE. Earlier Ahmed was the CEO and Co-Founder of an international e-Learning and Intelligence startup company in Zurich/Switzerland and San Francisco/U.S.A., which was sold to one of the leading eLearning providers. Prior Ahmed joined Siemens AG as Manager for Planning, Strategy and e-Business at the headquarters in Germany and Director Enterprise Networks in Siemens Saudi Arabia where he oversaw the operations & turnaround from a product business to a solution and service business. Ahmed earned his MBA at the Arthur D. Little School of Management in Boston/M.A./U.S.A.

Hasib Khan

Udrive

Hasib Khan

Udrive

Hasib Khan is a 27-year old entrepreneur with a flair for creating and running successful businesses. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan and raised in Germany, Khan started his first business at the age of 16. Cars have always been a passion for Khan, and over the years he’s developed a number of companies that are involved in the automotive or transportation industries, from logistics, to car rental, to removals, while consistently looking for ways to innovate within those sectors. Now based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, Khan chose to centrally locate himself close to both the Subcontinent and Europe, in order to best support his client base. Seeing Dubai’s business environment as ideal, with good infrastructure and regulatory support in place. He set about founding his businesses in the city. The company (Aimex Rent a Car LLC) was founded in 2014 and renamed U Drive Rent A Car LLC at the end of 2015. Initially, it provided long-term car rentals as a way to research and understand the needs of Dubai’s rental sector and to test whether Dubai was ready for a pay-as- you-drive concept. Khan has companies in Germany, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates, with a portfolio of eight businesses covering the logistics, transportation, real estate and F&B sectors. Khan was in November 2017 the first non-Arab on the Arabic Forbes Magazine Cover for the Middle East.

Lojain Jibawi

Votek

Lojain Jibawi

Votek

After starting iArabi Ltd, a tech firm developing Arabic applications which scored more than two and half million downloads. Lojain Co-Found Votek, the most advanced offline Arabic speech recognition engine which rectified phonetics and Arabic accent pronunciations. Through the development of unprecedented accuracy in technology, Lojain has secured contracts with UAE government institutions to develop voice enabled applications as part of the Smart Government initiative. Later on, Lojain innovated a new way to support learning process in the Arab world by merging education with entertainment and technology, and put them together to develop (Loujee), the first Arabic speaking smart toy. Lately, he developed the first Arabic 3D printed social robot that is start serving the customer of Mohammed bin Rashid Housing Establishment. Lojain has won 11 national and international awards, and has been feature on Forbes' cover. Lojain also practices dentistry as Oral Maxillofacial surgeon. Dr. Lojain received his DDS and MSc from the School of Dental Medicine in Damascus University.

Ronaldo Mouchawar

Souq.com

Ronaldo Mouchawar

Souq.com

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

Zeina Soufan

Dubai TV

Zeina Soufan

Dubai TV

She presents and produces “Money Map” weekly business show for Dubai Television. Between 2004 and summer of 2010, Ms. Soufan was an anchor/producer at Al-Arabiya TV channel. In addition to presenting the daily business news, she produced and presented several weekly business programs including “Portfolio” and “Oil and Gas”. Ms. Soufan started her career in 1993 as a general news reporter in Lebanese Future Television before moving to Reuters News Agency as a Beirut correspondent. At the international news agency, she received intensive training in financial reporting. In addition to her long experience in print and television journalism, Ms. Soufan taught several courses as a part-time instructor at the school of journalism at the American University of Dubai. When not on TV, Ms. Soufan is often hosting or moderating live events at some of the most prestigious global forums such as the World Economic Forum, the World Government Summit, the ME Petrotech Conference and the ME Aviation Summit among others. Outside business and finance Ms. Soufan has a great passion for literature, youth and women empowerment issues.

Heather Henyon

WAIN & Mindshift Capital

Heather Henyon

WAIN & Mindshift Capital

Has 18 years of experience in venture finance, entrepreneurship, emerging markets, angel investing, financial technology, credit and impact investment. She is an activist investor with a passion for global fintech and women-led start- ups. She is a Founding Partner of Athena CFO, now known as Growth Partners, an outsourced CFO and finance advisory firm for start-ups, SMEs, growth companies and investors. Previously, she was Investment Director with Eureeca, a regulated global equity crowdinvesting firm, where she was responsible for curation, products, and investments. Heather founded Balthazar Capital, a social enterprise investment advisory firm for the Arab region in 2010. As the founding general manager of Grameen-Jameel, a social business jointly owned by Grameen Foundation and Abdul Latif Jameel Group, she originated, structured and closed $44 million in leveraged commercial debt financing for microfinance institutions in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. In 2013, Heather started the Women’s Angel Investor Network (WAIN), the first women’s angel investment group in the Middle East, and served as Interim CFO for Little Thinking Minds, WAIN’s first investment, and is currently CFO of NeedsList, a WAIN investee refugee aid matching platform. Heather started her career on Wall Street where she worked for Standard & Poor’s as a corporate bond ratings analyst in the capital goods and auto supplier sector. Past roles include project finance, 3G wireless consultant for Middle East & Africa and Vint Cerf’s internet architecture group at WorldCom. Over the last 20 years, she has lived and worked in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, and Palestine, and she speaks Arabic and French. Heather is on the Investment Committee of Next Wave US Impact Fund; Board Director and Investment Committee Member of Dubai Angel Investors; cofounder of impact angel investor club Rhodium45; and advisor to CoFund, a Dutch microfinance private equity fund. Heather is a mentor for start-up companies at in5, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, 1776 and the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Center (DTEC). She serves on the Advisory Council of BR Microcapital, Cornell University’s microfinance fund; is a Board member of the Cornell Club of the UAE and past Co-Chair of the Johnson Middle East Alumni Club; served as the Middle East Advisor to Cornell’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative; is co-founder and past Chair of the Dubai Microfinance Club. Heather represents Oikocredit’s investment on the Board of Directors and Audit & Risk Committee of the Sekem Holding Group. Heather holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University, where she was a full-merit Park Leadership Fellow scholarship recipient, and a BA from Oberlin College. Heather studied abroad at The American University in Cairo (AUC), where she was a Presidential Fellow. Heather lives in Dubai, UAE.

Yousuf Al Mulla

E11 Capital

Yousuf Al Mulla

E11 Capital

A senior executive specialized in corporate strategy, operations and corporate finance. He has a wealth of experience from his entrepreneurial and corporate background and government roles and has contributed to the development of many strategic projects in UAE. He started his career as an entrepreneur and worked his way to a senior leadership role in the corporate world. For the last five years, Yousuf has been the Chief Strategy Officer at one of the largest conglomerate in the region where he focused on corporate governance, innovation & digitalization, strategy & business plan development, and risk management. In 2008, he was part of the team at The Executive Council of Dubai that setup The Consulting Office, the management consulting company that was later named TCO Management Consulting. His tenure at the company lasted four years ending in 2012. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2010, following his position as Head of Strategy, Business Development and Alliances, which was a role he held from 2008 to 2010. During his time at TCO, he leveraged his entrepreneurial expertise to lead the company in achieving its vision and developing its 2012-2015 growth strategy. He also advised senior leadership in the Dubai government and the UAE federal government on high-level strategic and innovation projects. In his former capacity as Associate Project Manager of the Innovation and Development Unit at the Executive Office, from 2006 to 2007, AlMulla was in charge of developing and implementing financial efficiency programs across a wide range of government departments, as well as setting an educational endowment fund. Additionally, he had a significant contribution to the development of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, and the establishment of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority. His other achievements at the Executive Office included advising the Minor Affairs Foundation on their investment policy. AlMulla’s previous experience included his advisory and operational role with Dubai Autodrome to setup the business and organize the 1st international track motor race in the region in 2004. He also worked with his family to setup and manage Hotels from 2003 to 2006. Moreover, AlMulla is passionate on turning new business ideas into reality where he was involved in development of several enterprises such as real estate financing, hospitality management, sports management, and technology start-ups. He currently serves on board of Endeavor UAE, E11 Capital (a VC based in San Francisco), Kairos Society (global startup platform based in NYC), and 55FiftyFive Diamond Design Studio (jewelry design startup in Dubai). Moreover, he is involved with several strategic government initiatives to promote and enhance entrepreneurship ecosystem in UAE. AlMulla holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD, Masters in Public Administration from Lee Kuan School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a BSc in Business Administration with concentration in Corporate Finance from Marshall Business School at University of Southern California (USC).

Walid Mansour

MEVP

Walid Mansour

MEVP

Has more than 16 years of experience in Venture Capital, strategy, corporate finance and engineering within the digital, telecom, software and new media industries. Prior to joining MEVP in 2010, Walid was a lead associate at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and before that he worked as a strategy manager at the UAE’s Prime Ministry Executive Office focusing on public policy initiatives. During his stay in Dubai, he worked on setting-up entrepreneurship related programs and developing incubation in the Arab World through several Dubai based initiatives such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation.  Prior to that, Walid worked at Booz & Company as a consultant covering telecom & media. Prior to Booz & Company, Walid worked as an industrial engineer in France. In 2009, he completed Morgan Stanley's summer associate program within their investment banking M&A division in London. Walid holds an industrial and urban planning engineering degree from Institut National des Science Appliquées de Lyon (INSA de Lyon) and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shane Shin

Shorooq

Shane Shin

Shorooq

Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Shorooq Investments, Shane works on leading investment decisions in both private equity and venture capital platforms. Shane has built his career as an investment professional, investment banker and entrepreneur in the US. He used to work at Lazard, UBS, Alpine Investors and GlobalFoundries – wholly owned subsidiary by Mubadala – and was invited to join the Mubadala Capital’s Venture Capital team prior to founding Shorooq. Shane concentrated in Finance and Mandarin at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with Summa Cum Laude, Joseph Wharton Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar Honors. Shane is born and grew up in South Korea and has studied and worked in the US, Canada and China prior to settling down in UAE.

2018 super partners

2018 main partners

2018 partners

2018 knowledge partners

2018 Legal Partner

2018 Exhibitors

2018 ecosystem partners

What we’re covering

The Culture of Failure

Creating new customers

Product, Scale, Monetization

Entrepreneurship & Growth

Proving ROI to traditional investors

Investor-Founder relationship

Choosing your investor

Institutional VCs

Investors & VCs

Improving infrastructure

Struggling economies

Lack of data

The State of the Ecosystem

agenda

Tentative Agenda

STEP Start