Step | The Leading Tech Festival for Emerging Markets FoodX 2021 - Step | The Leading Tech Festival for Emerging Markets

The future of tech and food



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Step started out as a series of workshops and small gatherings, and over 9 years has grown to become the largest tech festival in Dubai. FoodX Summit is brought to you by Step, the organizers of Step Conference, the leading tech and startup festival for emerging markets. FoodX will cover the latest trends and innovation in the food technology space, including farming, supply chain, logistics, research, investment, and legislation, with participation from relevant stakeholders from the ecosystem.

2021 LINE-UP

More Speakers to be Announced Soon

Fouad
Aoun

noon Food

Fouad
Aoun

noon Food

Fouad Aoun, leads noon’s newest addition to its digital ecosystem - noon Food, a restaurant-first platform developed to support F&B operators in the region. With over eight years of advisory and operational experience in the Middle East and Africa, Fouad started his career in strategy consulting at Bain & Company in the UAE and South Africa. Fouad spent his time focused on merger integrations, performance improvement and strategy within various industries before joining MercyCorps Social Ventures as a Harvard Leadership Fellow. In 2016, Fouad transitioned full-time to NewLight Africa, taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer. Holding an MBA from Harvard Business School, Fouad’s dynamic background gives him an excellent skill set for the future of noon Food. A homegrown tech platform, noon has rapidly built deep native capabilities in its marketplace, fulfillment, logistics, and payment platforms. noon has a bold mission: to build a world-class suite of products and services to shape the future of the digital landscape in the Middle East. Along the way, noon also wants to empower a digital-first generation and drive technology innovations to solve challenges in the region.

Giacomo
Bernardelli

Casinetto

Giacomo
Bernardelli

Casinetto

Giacomo Bernardelli is the founder and Managing Director of Casinetto, a manufacturer, distributor, and e-commerce service of the best Italian and local food products in the UAE. Bernardelli graduated cum laude from La Sapienza University in business administration, and started his career in investment banking in 2003 with Morgan Stanley. In 2008, he set up InMotion Media, a mixed rent-a-car and media concept, which closed in 2009 when Bernardelli moved to Dubai, UAE. In 2010, he launched Casinetto which takes its name from Il Casinetto, a family-run olive oil farm in Italy, about two hours from Rome in the foothills surrounding an extinct volcano, where the Bernardelli family has been pressing olive oil for generations. For a decade already, Bernardelli has kept the family tradition alive by bringing top quality fine foods to the UAE through Casinetto. He lives in Dubai with his wife and son.

Fidele
El
Achkar

FoodSight

Fidele
El
Achkar

FoodSight

Fidele EL ACHKAR is a Lebanese Food Safety Consultant & Lead Auditor. As a woman entrepreneur, she is the founder & CEO of FoodSight, a Consultancy Services platform that empowers food businesses to simplify all their Food Industry activities, and comply with Local & International Food Safety & Quality requirements, while connecting them to top freelance talent. Before launching her own business at the age of 28, Fidele spent more than 8 years in the Lebanese food industry working with private & public sectors, NGOs and local food associations, in food technology, quality assurance, project management, inspections & audits on multiple systems (ISO, BRC, IFS, AIB standards...). She is a strong professional with a Master’s Degree focused in Food Technology and a BS in Biochemistry from the Lebanese University. She is currently a member in multiple professional clubs & associations such as: LLWB-the Lebanese League for Women in Business, LAFST-Lebanese Association of Food Scientists & Technologists, WIOO-Women In Olive Oil Lebanon Chapter... She is also a member and volunteer in social & humanitarian multinational NGOs: she is a humanitarian Global Goodwill Ambassador (GGA); member at NAAM, a women empowerment group from HOPE-MCF Foundation, Past President of Rotaract Club of Byblos, Lebanon–Rotary international District 2452.

Yasin
Aboudaoud

Brinc MENA

Yasin
Aboudaoud

Brinc MENA

Yasin Aboudaoud is a Hong Kong-born entrepreneur who has been in the global trading business for over 12 years. While co-founding Ecico Group he has been able to implement projects and distribution to major companies from the Middle East, Europe and South America. Focused on project management Yasin has led to the development of premium hotels, residential compounds and amusement parks. Having completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto in international development in 2004, he then made his way back to Asia. This gave him the global vision of A-Z solutions in market development and product distribution. His expertise in China in the last 10 years has allowed him to connect people with diverse products across the globe. At the forefront of his successes, with technology as his passion, Yasin firmly believes in the power of global markets. Currently, in between the GCC, Hong Kong and China, Yasin is very active in taking on more markets and building more products to pitch to the world.

Christie
Lagally

Rebellyous Foods

Christie
Lagally

Rebellyous Foods

Christie Lagally is the founder and CEO of Rebellyous Foods, a food production technology company working to make plant-based meat price-competitive with traditional chicken products. She is a mechanical engineer and holds multiple patents in manufacturing technology. She spent much of her career at Boeing working on commercial airplanes, design, and manufacturing. Previously, she served as a Senior Scientist for the Good Food Institute uncovering the technical barriers in the development of plant-based meat and clean meat. She holds Bachelor's degrees in Organizational Psychology, Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. She is also an active member of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, a co-founder of the Humane Voters of Washington and is a Washington State Council Member for the Humane Society of the United States.

Pierre
Paslier

Notpla

Pierre
Paslier

Notpla

Pierre is a London-based Innovation Design Engineer. He started his career as a Packaging Engineer for L’Oréal in the daytime and hacking 3D-printers in his living room at night. He then decided to study design at the Royal College of Art and in 2013, he co-designed one of the first consumer delta 3D-printers. He loves DIY, especially if it involves drones lifting dangerous electronic components or street art robots redecorating the streets. This passion for innovation led him to co-found two startups, Gravity Sketch (3D creation in VR) and Notpla (edible packaging). Driven by the urge to act on our plastic crisis, he’s now 100% focused on Ooho, the edible water bottle as Co-CEO of Notpla. He has a Masters degree from the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering programme (MA & MSci) and INSA de Lyon (MEng). He has written articles for Wired Magazine and given a number of conferences about his projects at TEDx conferences in Athens and Warwick.

Sean
Peters

DryGro (C02i)

Sean
Peters

DryGro (C02i)

Sean Peters is the CEO of DryGro, an agriculture technology company developing new ways to produce protein on otherwise non-arable land. DryGro was founded in 2015 at Oxford University, and currently has operations in London and Kenya alongside partnerships with four universities and the European Space Agency. Sean has spent his career focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he founded a small angel fund focused on early-stage entrepreneurs in East Africa, and in 2013 he co-founded a social purpose business accelerator in Vancouver called Radius Ventures. Previous to joining DryGro, he directed a research project into innovation and acceleration models at Emory University, which partnered with 70 entrepreneur support programs around the world to better understand what helps ventures grow, and what holds them back. Sean was born in British Columbia, Canada, and currently lives in London, UK. He holds an MBA from Said School of Business.

Mohamad
Fayed

GrubTech

Mohamad
Fayed

GrubTech

With over 20 years' experience as a successful C-Suite executive in US Fortune 100 companies and local family conglomerates, Mohamed has leveraged his technology affinity with deep retail industry knowledge to lead international brands through digital transformations. He has successfully launched the region’s largest luxury online pure player Ounass.com and the lifestyle platform, Nisnass.com. In addition, he has deployed omnichannel solutions with the launch MamasandPapas.ae, and Gap.ae in the GCC. He has recently co-founded GrubTech, an end to end ai powered digital platform enabling restaurants to successfully manage omnichannel operations. Previously he held the position of Senior Vice President of Omnichannel for Al Tayer for 12 years, where his responsibilities included Product & IT, Logistics, Merchandise Planning, Supply Chain and the E- Commerce division. Prior to joining Al Tayer Group, Mohamed has operated large big box multi-branded stores for Fortune 100 retailers including Macys, Burdines and Ross Stores. Mohamed holds a Bachelor of Science with majors in International Business and Marketing from Florida International University.

Raed
Hafez

El Grocer

Raed
Hafez

El Grocer

With over 25 years of experience in managing large scale technology development and leading large commercial operations, Raed Hafez is elGrocer’s CEO, the leading Online Grocery marketplace in the UAE. Raed’s deep technology know-how as well as practical and operational business sense is driving elGrocer to continue its leadership with cutting edge customer experiences and brand engagement opportunities. Prior to joining elGrocer, Raed led a local Management Consulting firm that helped some of the largest regional enterprises in FMCG, Insurance, Telecom, and Healthcare to engage in digital transformation activities. Previously, Raed led the Middle East and Africa region for Motorola Mobility, a Google company, where he turned around and delivered a profitable and growing business. An MBA from the world-renowned Kellogg Business School of Management, and a BSc in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University, Raed’s wealth of hands-on technical experience and operational business insight have proven a significant asset for his clients and companies.

Stephanie
Michelsen

Jellatech

Stephanie
Michelsen

Jellatech

Stephanie is born in Denmark, grew up in Sweden and moved to the Bay Area, CA in 2011. She has since spent time in between Denmark and the US while completing her studies. She holds a BSc. Biotechnology (The University of Copenhagen, Denmark) & a MSc. Engineering in Biotechnology (The Technical University of Denmark). During her undergraduate degree she spent a semester abroad on exchange at The University of British Columbia, Canada. Stephanie is very entrepreneurially driven, she has participated in various extracurricular activities throughout academia (Ex. Board member @ Synapse - Life Science Connect: a student-driven organization focused on bridging academia and industry, Gold-medal winner iGEM (“The world championship in synthetic biology”) 2018, Fellow of the first cohort of The International Innovation Program (2iP) hosted by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and more. Throughout her studies she held various internships and part time roles in biotechnology companies & startups (Ex. LakePharma, BioPorto, Juvena Therapeutics, SynBioBeta, Wild Earth & more). Stephanie is mission-driven, motivated & has a go-getter attitude. The biggest life goal for Stephanie is to do her part to try to make the world a better place than how she found it, through impact entrepreneurship, building a successful business and building an all-star team.

Imad
El
Fay

HB Investments

Imad
El
Fay

HB Investments

Imad is a Partner and venture builder at HBI where he helps founders build and scale their companies and leads the office's private investments arm. Prior, Imad was an Associate Partner at Mckinsey where he led strategic and operational projects across multiple sectors.

Mohamad
Ballout

Kitopi

Mohamad
Ballout

Kitopi

Mohamad Ballout is the CEO and Co-founder of Kitopi, the world's leading managed cloud kitchen platform. Founded in January 2018, Kitopi is on a mission to satisfy the world’s appetite by partnering with restaurants, to help them scale across borders in just 14 days. Kitopi operates across the GCC, powering more than 120 brands, across 50 kitchens, thanks to 1000+ Kitopians (colleagues). Prior to Founding Kitopi, Mohamad co-founded BMB, which is now the largest confectionery business in the Middle East. Critical in spearheading BMB's growth across 32 markets, Mohamad also set up BMB’s first fully-automated ethnic sweets manufacturing unit. He sold his shares to a private equity group in May 2016. Mohamad has a double major in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Warwick and a Masters in Management from Imperial College.

Previous Speakers

KAT
COLE

FOCUS BRANDS

KAT
COLE

FOCUS BRANDS

Kat Cole is an inspiring leader and operator with a track record of turning around companies and building brands, teams and high-growth businesses over two decades. As COO and President of Focus Brands, the owner, franchisor and operator of global limited-service food brands, doing billions in product sales in over 50 countries, she leads the company's 7 brands: Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Moe's, Schlotzsky's, McAlister's, Carvel and Jamba with 6500 operations globally, and leads the multi-brand licensing and CPG business. She is formerly president of Cinnabon Inc. and past Group President Focus Brands. She has led the evolution of several brands through product and technology innovation, organizational structure changes and building customer-centered cultures. Kat is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a member of the Milk Bar Board of Directors, an advisor to high-growth businesses, and mom of two. Kat is a past member of the United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council, was featured on CBS Undercover Boss, and was named one of Fortune’s 40 under 40. She is past chair of the board of the Women's Foodservice Forum, past Silver Plate winner from IFMA, named most admired leader by QSR magazine and named Elliot Leadership Motivator of the year. She is a college dropout, yet has her MBA in International Business. Her journey from restaurant hostess at 17, executive by 26, president by 31, and investor by 35 is often shared as an example of the American and entrepreneurial dream. Outside of the foodservice industry, Kat is an angel investor and advisor to early-stage consumer products and Direct-to-Consumer companies and an outspoken advocate for women’s issues and the broader role of business in democratizing access to education and opportunity.

RON
SIMPSON

THE AVOCADO SHOW

RON
SIMPSON

THE AVOCADO SHOW

As a creative entrepreneur, Ron spends his time transforming his moonshot ideas into real life companies and campaigns that change the game. His visionary marketing concepts for global brands like Red Bull, Nike, Bacardi, Budweiser and SONY showed the world that he could think three steps ahead. But his ability to instantly create strong concepts and solve creative problems on the spot, made him the infamous go to guy for all your favorite brands and companies. After founding agencies like Don’t Say Nothing and 24K Agency, he started his latest adventure with his friends that took the world by storm: The Avocado Show.

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Asad
Rehman

Unilever

Director Media & Digital Transformation, Unilever MENA Asad manages Unilever’s media investments across the Middle East and North Africa region. He is also responsible for driving communication excellence and innovation as well as digital as a discipline across the region. Asad has been in this role since August 2013, prior to which he managed Global Media for Unilever’s Foods business based out of Unilever’s HQ in London. Prior to joining Unilever, Asad did various assignments for MindShare/Group M in various parts of the world. He managed local offices in Vietnam and Pakistan for them, did a global role in London, and managed regional projects in AsiaPac and LATAM. Asad is a technology enthusiast and an internationalist at heart, and considers himself fortunate to be working in the Middle East. Asad is a Board Member of The Marketing Society Middle East. Connect with Asad on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @asadchawla.

MUSTAFA
SHAMSELDIN

PEPSICO

MUSTAFA
SHAMSELDIN

PEPSICO

Vice President – Snacks Category for Middle East & North Africa region at PepsiCo. He has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and general management experience in both small and multi-billion-dollar businesses covering more than 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey where he led some of the most valuable global brands and trademarks, launched numerous successful products and innovations, and built new brands from scratch. In his role as Vice President Snacks Category, Middle East & North Africa for PepsiCo, he leads the development of PepsiCo’s snacks portfolio including the largest food brands in the region such as Lays, Doritos, Cheetos and Sunbites. Mustafa has been with PepsiCo since 2008 when he started as the Marketing Director for Pepsi Cola Egypt, before moving to different roles across the region including GCC Marketing Director, General Manager Saudi & Yemen Beverages, and Vice President for Sales & New Business Development. Prior to PepsiCo, Mustafa worked across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region at different companies including Procter & Gamble, Henkel, and Americana Foods. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo and has attended several executive education and development programs including ‘Creating and Implementing Strategy for Competitive Advantage’ from the Wharton Business School, and ‘Basics in International Management’ from the Cranfield School of Management. His passions are social and economic development and the support for startups and small businesses, which he has fulfilled through mentorship, judging in major startup competitions, as well as contributing opinion articles to key publications. Mustafa is currently based in Dubai, UAE.

JOHN
TSIORIS

INSTASHOP

JOHN
TSIORIS

INSTASHOP

John Tsioris is the founder and CEO of InstaShop, the leading grocery shopping app in the GCC, operating in the region since 2015 and having been nominated for two consecutive years as one of the most promising startups in the Arab world by Forbes. John holds a diploma in Mechanical Engineering and a MScBA in General Management. he led the global competitive intelligence of PHILIPS CL for 2 years and set up the marketing Intelligence department for the Middle East and Turkey Lighting organization; he also has prior experience in the startup world having founded a social voice network.

Mudassir
Sheikha

Careem

Mudassir
Sheikha

Careem

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

Mohamed
Al
Fayed

GrubTech

Mohamed
Al
Fayed

GrubTech

With over 20 years’ experience as a successful C-Suite executive in US Fortune 100 companies and local family conglomerates, Mohamed has leveraged his technology affinity with deep retail industry knowledge to lead international brands through digital transformations. He has successfully launched the region’s largest luxury online pure player Ounass.com and the lifestyle platform, Nisnass.com. In addition, he has deployed omnichannel solutions with the launch MamasandPapas.ae, and Gap.ae in the GCC. He has recently co-founded GrubTech, an end to end ai powered digital platform enabling restaurants to successfully manage omnichannel operations. Previously he held the position of Senior Vice President of Omnichannel for Al Tayer for 12 years, where his responsibilities included Product & IT, Logistics, Merchandise Planning, Supply Chain and the E- Commerce division.

Naji
Ghaziri

Nestlé Middle East

Naji
Ghaziri

Nestlé Middle East

A geek & nature lover at heart with a huge passion for communication and everything connected . I started my career at OMD before moving to Nestlé in 2013 as a Brand Manager and digital champion for MAGGI in the Middle East. During the first 4 years my focus was to help MAGGI set a it's own unique digital footprint in the region driven by MAGGI DIARIES. In 2016, I joined the global digital acceleration team in Nestlé working with different markets and brands on their digital and e-business priorities before coming back to Dubai a year later as Digital marketing Manager. Today along with a passionate team we work to help Nestlé build brands powered by digital and create consumer journey's online with our purpose and values at core.

AHMED
ALZAINI

FOODICS

AHMED
ALZAINI

FOODICS

Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing foodtech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.

Previous Partners FoodX

Previous Partners

What We Cover

FoodX will cover the latest trends and innovation in the food technology space, including farming, supply chain, logistics, research, investment, and legislation, with participation from relevant stakeholders from the ecosystem.

Farming & Agritech
  • The Green Revolution
  • Vertical Farming, Aquaponics, Hydroponics
  • Recycling and Waste Management
Delivery & Logistics
  • Supply Chain & Wholesale
  • Cloud Kitchens and Alternative Models
  • Food Delivery Apps
Research and Innovation
  • AI, Big Data, and IoT
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Alternative Foods
Investment & Fundraising
  • Government Funding
  • VC & Angel Investor Interest
  • Emerging Foodtech Startups
Legislation & Policy
  • Food Security
  • Consumerism
  • Sustainability
Consumers & Marketing
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Wellness & Lifestyle
 

Tickets On Sale Now

Get your FoodX 2021 tickets now before prices increase.



WHAT GOES ON

Live Stage And Tracks

FoodX features a live stage, workshops and programming running simultaneously covering the latest trends and innovation in the foodtech space.

Startup Programming

FoodX hosts multiple online startup programs to facilitate connections with investors, clients, partners.


NETWORKING

There will be opportunities for attendees to meet the right people through general and curated virtual networking.

MATCHMAKING

Matchmaking opportunities will be curated between different stakeholders through themed roundtable sessions focusing on diverse industry topics.


VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES

The Step experiences are entertaining and educational across the days of the event, giving attendees an opportunity to network differently.


Virtual Exhibition

Startups, tech companies, brands government entities across various stakeholder types participate to connect with attendees and gather leads, connect with potential partners, or scout for talent online.