--> --> --> Step Conference - Step Conference

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 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.

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.

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.

Jonathan
Reyes

Tulua

Jonathan
Reyes

Tulua

Jonathan is a cross-cultural impact entrepreneur cultivating solutions that liberate communities and environments through technology. After spending many years working in big data and scalable infrastructures with companies like Activision, he turned his focus towards Aquaponics which is next-gen farming using earth's microbiome to grow produce with higher yields, better quality, greater nutrient density and higher profitability than traditional farming. Jonathan has also dedicated his time to this method of farming to aid in solving the water crisis, environmental regeneration, localization of agriculture, and empowerment of communities. He is the CEO and Co-founder of two social impact enterprises: Aquaponics AI, a US-based aquaponic tech company, and Tulua, a Jordan-based aquaponic system research and design company.

Bader
Ataya

Kitopi

Bader
Ataya

Kitopi

Bader Ataya is the Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer of Kitopi. Bader spearheads international expansion and oversees local market growth across verticals. Prior to Kitopi, Bader co-founded Mumzworld.com the largest shopping site for everything mother, baby and child related in the Middle East. Bader graduated with an MBA from Cambridge University Judge Business School and a BA from Tufts University.

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.

Neil
Yorke-Smith

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Neil
Yorke-Smith

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Neil Yorke-Smith is an Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. His vision for AI is a tool to help people in socio-technical systems. His previous work includes the technology originally behind Siri (acquired by Apple). Currently his research focuses on agent-based optimization and behavioural factors in data-driven planning. He has consulted in Silicon Valley, Europe, and the Middle East, and is co-chair of the 33rd Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference (IAAI) in 2021. More at: member.acm.org/~nyorke-smith

Shane
Shin

Shorooq Partners

Shane
Shin

Shorooq Partners

As a Forbes 30 Under 30, Kauffman Fellows, Founding Partner at Shorooq Partners, Shane spearheads the firm. Shorooq is a leading Early Stage VC in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Shane has built his career as an investment professional, investment banker and entrepreneur in the US. He used to work at UBS, TD Securities, Lazard Freres & Co., Alpine Investors and GlobalFoundries – wholly owned subsidiary by Mubadala Investment Company, $250bn Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. 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 was born and grew up in South Korea and has studied and worked in the US, Canada and China prior to settling down in UAE. Having played the piano and clarinet for 15+ years, he has strong passion for music and community service and performed in many musical concerts.

Dr.
Yasmin
Altwaijri

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center

Dr.
Yasmin
Altwaijri

King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center

Dr. Yasmin Altwaijri is a Senior Scientist and Head of Epidemiology Research at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. As an expert in quantitative science and data analytics in public health research, she has been involved in projects at the intersection of science, health, technology, design, and society. Working in collaboration with Harvard University and the World Health Organization, she is leading the Saudi National Mental Health Survey, one of the largest health projects in the region, which spans genetics to policy outcomes, and provides a launchpad for future direction and innovation in the field of mental health globally. Dr. Altwaijri has experience in developing health applications of blockchain, AI, ML, she believes in harnessing the potential of technology to enable and optimize health for all.

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.

Previous Step Speakers

Robert
Scoble

Infinite Retina

Robert
Scoble

Infinite Retina

ROBERT SCOBLE: Infinite Retina Chief Strategy Officer | Spatial Computing Researcher | Expert on Augmented and Virtual Reality | Top Five Technology Blogger Robert Scoble is among the world's best-known technology strategists. He is also a keynote speaker and most passionate about Virtual and Augmented Reality and how they will change and disrupt business. Based on his many meetings with tech pioneers and thinkers, he is always looking for early changes in patterns that foretell lasting trends. Three such trends have resulted in his three books. Siri was launched in his house. He did the first live video from inside the first Tesla (Elon Musk gave him a ride before he gave his best friend a ride). He has the first video of a Google self-driving car up on YouTube. He was first to show the world many companies and technologies, like those, and Flipboard, Pandora, Instagram, and thousands of others. Scoble is best known for his blog, Scobleizer, and associated social media accounts, like Scobleizer on Twitter, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technology strategist at Microsoft. He later worked for Fast Company as a video blogger and then Rackspace promoting breakthrough technology and startups and representing its brand to millions. Founded by Irena Cronin and Robert Scoble in October 2018, Infinite Retina, LLC, is the first strategy firm dedicated to helping big brands develop and implement spatial computing strategies (virtual and augmented reality, along with other computing that humans, robots, or virtual beings can move through). They believe that a decade from today the center of digital commerce and life will have migrated from today's handsets to tomorrow's VR and AR headsets -- or smart glasses, as they might be called. Robert wants to help brands understand, plan, and implement strategies to make this vital transformation. Robert is working with Irena on a new book, "Infinite Retina," which will be published in Spring 2020. It will focus on several industries that will radically change in the 2020s due to Spatial Computing. In addition, Robert has interviewed thousands of tech company founders, and his previous three books, written with Forbes author Shel Israel, have predicted three decade-long trends: "Naked Conversations" predicted how businesses would use social media before Facebook became popular. "Age of Context" predicted how wearable and mobile technology would bring new kinds of software. His most recent book, "The Fourth Transformation," predicts how augmented and virtual reality will change every business. As a globally in demand keynote speaker Robert delivers a rocket ride through the future of technology, and shows you how your business is about to be disrupted by a perfect storm of technology changes. Spatial Computing, whether we call it mixed reality, augmented reality, or virtual reality, will join with autonomous vehicles, crypto currencies, new kinds of artificial intelligence and voice first systems, like Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa, along with other deep infrastructure changes from new kinds of cloud architectures to 5G to radically change what we think of computing and, even, what it means to be human.

Jeremiah
Owyang

Kaleido Insights

Jeremiah
Owyang

Kaleido Insights

Jeremiah is a technology analyst who forecasts how technology will impact business, society and our lives, based in Silicon Valley.

Allen
Blue

LinkedIn

Allen
Blue

LinkedIn

Allen Blue is vice president of product management and cofounder of LinkedIn, the online professional network. At LinkedIn, he is responsible for LinkedIn’s overall product strategy. He also sponsors LinkedIn’s work and education products within the economic graph team, including the products and platforms supporting Skillful.com (a joint effort to close the middle skills gap in the United States between LinkedIn and the Markle Foundation.) He advises several startups in Silicon Valley, most focused on improving health and education. He sat on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Data Advisory Council, helping guide the department’s efforts to make its data broadly available to American businesses. Blue serves on the boards of the Hope Street Group, a non-profit which focuses on bringing economic opportunity to Americans through a combination of policy and practice, and Change.org, an online destination for making grassroots-driven change easier. Before LinkedIn, Blue cofounded SocialNet.com, an online dating service, and graduated from Stanford University.

Mike
Butcher

TechCrunch

Mike
Butcher

TechCrunch

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

Christopher
Schroeder

NEXT BILLION VENTURES

Christopher
Schroeder

NEXT BILLION VENTURES

One of the most interesting questions of our time is what will happen to societies, economies and innovation as almost everyone has a super computer in their pocket — and what it will mean for those who don’t. Now, with access to rapidly changing tech, and with Covid, much is massively accelerated. When I travel — now on zoom, once 250,000 miles a year - I love to see and understand this shift bottom up; to understand differences in culture, history, governance. But I also love to see what is shared as, for all the diversity across borders, problem solvers in rising markets share a ton - more so often than with the West. Tremendous impact and wealth will be created. I am hopeful by nature; love to hike; read much of the time; try to be of-service all of the time - and hopefully share all of it first and foremost with my kids.

Charles
Schreger

NYU

Charles
Schreger

NYU

Former president of HBO Enterprises, currently marketing professor at NYU Stern School of Business, visiting professor at American University in Dubai and former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Fadi
Ghandour

WAMDA Group

Fadi
Ghandour

WAMDA Group

The Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, a platform that invests, nurtures and builds entrepreneurship eco-systems across the Middle East and North Africa. Fadi is also the Co-Founder of Aramex, one of the leading global logistics companies. Fadi spent the first 30 years of his work life as CEO of Aramex, building the company, making it the leading emerging market logistics company, employing over 15,000 people working in over 250 offices in 90 countries. He took the company public twice, first on Nasdaq making it the first company from the Arab work to do so, then on Dubai Financial market. He continues to be active on the Aramex board. Fadi is a serial entrepreneur. In his career, he was involved with founding, investing and launching tens of companies and non-profits, from digital tech, hospitality, F&B, fitness & wellness to security. Passionate about impact and social entrepreneurship, Fadi founded and Chairs Ruwwad for Development, a private‐sector led community empowerment platform that helps marginalized communities across several countries in the MENA region, overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion. He has also co-founded and continues to support one of the leading not-for-profit sports clubs in Jordan. Fadi also served and continues to serve on several global and regional boards of companies, education institutions and non-profits.

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.

Ronaldo
Mouchawar

SOUQ.com

Ronaldo
Mouchawar

SOUQ.com

The co-founder and CEO of SOUQ.com, the largest online retail and marketplace platform in the Arab world. Since co-founding SOUQ.com in 2005, Mr Mouchawar has overseen aggressive expansion of the company to become the first choice in online shopping for millions of customers in the Middle East. Mr Mouchawar has more than 15 years of experience in technology and business management. He started his career as a Technical and Systems Consultant with EDS in the US, and before starting SOUQ.com, he spearheaded a consulting company that managed numerous web and e- commerce projects in the Arab world. Mr Mouchawar holds a Master's degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Mr Mouchawar’s family background is in trading, which combined with his passion for innovation and technology, has led him to start, develop and lead the e-commerce market in this region. As keen to set high goals for himself and his team in his career as he did as a Basketball player, he is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs looking to blaze their own trail and he is passionate about creating jobs for Arabs and like-minded entrepreneurs to join his growing team. In March 2015, Mr Mouchawar received an award from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in recognition of SOUQ.com’s digital influence in the UAE. Recently, Mr Mouchawar was awarded the prestigious Retail Business Leader of the Year & Entrepreneur of the Year Awards by Gulf Business (Motivate Publishing).

Mark
D'Arcy

Facebook

Mark
D'Arcy

Facebook

VP, Chief Creative Officer at Facebook where he leads the company’s creative efforts to make advertising across Facebook and Instagram more relevant for people and more valuable for businesses. Mark joined Facebook in 2011 and today his team, The Creative Shop, operates from more than 40 Facebook offices and last year alone helped produce several thousand projects across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus for an extraordinarily diverse client base including 80% of the world’s top 100 advertisers. The Creative Shop does all this through close partnerships with all the major advertising groups and collaborations with independent creators, influencers, artists, production companies, media companies and technologists. The work these partnerships create is regularly recognized in the press for driving innovation and at leading award shows, including Cannes Lions, where Mark has served on the inaugural Innovation and 2016 Glass Lion juries. Mark helped establish the Facebook Awards to celebrate the best creative work on the platform and in 2012, he founded the Facebook Global Creative Council. Mark is proud to serve on the boards of AD and the IFP, Independent Filmmaker Project.

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
  • Internet of Things
  • 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 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.


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.

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.