Step | Startup and Technology Events FoodX 2021 At - Step | Startup and Technology Events

The future of tech and food



Our Story

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 covers 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.

500+

Attendees

50+

Speakers

20+

Showcasing Startups & SMEs

30+

Hours of Content

2021 LINE-UP

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.

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.

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.

Abdulaziz
AlMulla

Madar Farms

Abdulaziz
AlMulla

Madar Farms

Abdulaziz’s interest in food security began during his time at McKinsey & Co. where he was working extensively with GCC governments, and addressing a variety of national risk challenges. A serial investor in disruptive technologies (Lyft, Indigo Ag, among others), he is dedicated to addressing the food security challenge. He dedicates time to the region’s food ecosystem as a mentor at Savour Ventures, the Middle East’s first accelerator focused on food. Previously a banker with HSBC, Abdulaziz holds a BA from University of Pennsylvania and MBA from Wharton.

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.

Walid
Hajj

Kitch

Walid
Hajj

Kitch

A visionary and award-winning entrepreneur, Walid Hajj has defined his unique imprint in the food and beverages business creating innovative concepts that have disrupted the industry and established his credentials as a pioneer in F&B concepts that integrate advanced technology with exceptional service. With more than two decades of hands-on expertise in food services and related businesses, Walid co-founded Kitch in 2020, further revolutionising the 'kitchen-in-the-cloud' concept. A hybrid delivery-focused cloud kitchen and premium store-front operator, Kitch today takes digitisation and fast execution of F&B concepts to a new level. Prior to Kitch, Walid demonstrated his entrepreneurial acumen with the founding of Cravia, one of the region’s leading food and hospitality groups that brought world-class franchises to the Middle East, including Zaatar W Zeit, Five Guys, Cinnabon and Seattle's Best Coffee.

Vanessa
Zuabi

Mint Basil Market

Vanessa
Zuabi

Mint Basil Market

Vanessa Zuabi is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mint Basil Market, an online platform that makes it easy to find healthy, all natural products, vetted by experts and fully personalized to your diet, health and lifestyle needs. Prior to Mint Basil Market, Vanessa founded JSR Impact a consultancy specializing in strategy, public private partnership development and corporate social responsibility. She has worked with the Aspen Institute, the Clinton Global Initiative, HSBC Bank, and several impact investment funds and social enterprises. She received her Masters from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Samer
Hamadeh

Akiba Dori

Samer
Hamadeh

Akiba Dori

Samer is most known for creating the highly disruptive nightlife brands Republique (2011) & Stereo Arcade (2015). Both were incredibly popular in their own right & earned him a reputation as being a disruptive concept creator. Samer created & launched his latest concept, Akiba Dori in Dubai Design District in 2018 and is taking the brand to Saudi Arabia with Akiba Dori Jeddah opening in Q2 of 2021 & Riyadh opening early 2022, making it one of a handful of brands made in Dubai & going global. Akiba Dori is also set to open an outpost in Abu Dhabi in September 2021, in addition to 2 new outlets in Dubai in 2021. Known for his outspoken attitude towards the hospitality industry, Samer is regularly in the press discussing business candidly & has been featured on the Caterer Middle Easter Power 50 list & The Arabian Business DXB100 list of people helping shape the future of Dubai.

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

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
 

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 & SME Programming

FoodX hosts multiple online startup & SME 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.