Maté Conversations

About The Conversations

The Maté Conversations is a podcast hosted by Ray Dargham, co-founder and CEO at Step, with emerging market founders where he deep dives into specific experiences that other successful startup founders can learn from.

Host

RAY DARGHAM

Step

RAY
DARGHAM

Step

Ray is a media and technology entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Step, the company behind Dubai’s renowned Step Conference, which he started in 2012 right off college. Following the growth of Step Conference, Ray turned Step into a fast growing new media startup in the Middle East with digital content platforms StepFeed.com and YallaFeed.com with the ambition to become the largest and most influential new media company in MENA. Ray also founded Spiderfrogs, a next generation technology provider which helps local and global brands to integrate their business with new technologies. Ray is a FERD’s list honoree and was also featured on Forbes cover 30 under 30 issue in 2018.

PREVIOUS GUESTS

Omar Kassim

Nomod

Omar
Kassim

Nomod

Omar Kassim work at Nomod, where they are building a business banking platform. Millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses struggle to get access to payments and transactional banking. Omar Kassim founded JadoPado, an e-commerce marketplace platform that exited to Noon.com in May 2017. He has spent time working in and building out Esanjo Ventures, a trading, investment, and technology firm, where he has built interesting projects such as Farfill, and invested in businesses such as Hopi.

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.

Saman Darkan

Kitopi

Saman
Darkan

Kitopi

Saman Darkan is a Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Kitopi, the world's leading state-of-the-art managed cloud kitchen. Founded in January 2018, Kitopi is revolutionizing the food economy by allowing restaurants to scale up across borders. Currently, the brand’s operations have grown across the GCC, powering more than 120 brands, across 35 kitchens, thanks to 1000+ Kitopians (colleagues). As a CTO, Saman leads all things tech at Kitopi. Prior to founding Kitopi, Saman worked at ARC International, where he was the Digital Transformation Director. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he also worked on different startups such as My Metro Talk, Central Tickets, and Little Bedoo. When he’s not busy innovating and creating new tech, he enjoys playing chess, table tennis and boating.

Jad Sayegh

sarwa

Jad
Sayegh

sarwa

Co-founder and CTO of Sarwa, the Middle-East's leading fintech dedicated to helping people reach their long term financial goals. Strong believer that people with drive and the humility to improve are what make great organizations. Engineering graduate from McGill University, Montreal.

Iyad Aldalooj

Penny Software

Iyad
Aldalooj

Penny Software

Co-Founder and CEO of Penny Software. A Procurement and Spend-Management Software.

Mona Ataya

Mumzworld

Mona
Ataya

Mumzworld

Mona Ataya, CEO and Founder of Mumzworld.com, has proven to be one of the Middle East most prominent of women entrepreneurs. Beyond leading a successful and growing SME, and inspiring her employees and communities, Mona is on a mission to change the region, one mum at a time. A transformational leader and a change agent in every sense of the word, Mona has managed to grow Mumzworld from a business plan on paper to a leading an enviable brand reaching more than 2 million mothers across the region in 7 years. Founded in 2011, Mumzworld has pioneered a revolutionary and gold standard e-commerce shopping experience for all things mother, baby and child in the ME region. Today, Mumzworld prides itself with being the leading, trusted and definitive source with over 250,000 products, an engaged community, exclusive product offerings and delivery to over 20 different countries in the fastest, most convenient and cost-effective way, at everyday low prices. Under Mona’s leadership, Mumzworld has undergone tremendous growth and successfully established itself as the regional leader in this vertical space. With 6 rounds of funding, great investors on board and a solid business plan, Mumzworld has become the #1 Funded Women-Led e-commerce Company in the Middle East. We expect to hear a lot from this brand in the years to come. Regional recognition: Mona has won more than 80 awards throughout her career. She is amongst the top 2 Forbes women creating impact in the region, and was voted amongst the 100 most Powerful Arab Women, Forbes Top 10 Arab Women 2017, 2018. World's 100 Most Powerful Arabs - Generation Next - Arabian Business; She was also voted SME Executive of the year 3 years in a row. Mumzworld.com has won The Small Business of The Year Award and Best Kids Online retailer by Timeout Kids in 2015 and 2016. Mumzworld.com was also awarded the Images Most Admired Online Retailer of the Year 2014 and 2016 as well as the “Customer Service Excellence Award” by The Customer Festival Awards 2018. Beyond the many awards she received, Mona was also selected into the prestigious group of globally recognized Endeavor businesses’s in 2014 and was the 1 st woman selected into this prestigious network in the Middle East.

Elie Habib

Anghami

Elie
Habib

Anghami

Elie is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. Anghami has reached over 40 million users, raised many millions from Venture Capital firms over several rounds and partnered with MBC – the top media group in the region – as well as over 20 mobile operators. At Anghami, Elie runs the operations and product development, spending most of his time working between clouds, streams and pixels.

Kaan Kayabali

Onedio

Kaan
Kayabali

Onedio

First took on the power of Onedio with the idea that civil journalism would develop in 2010, started his work in the technopark located at METU in 2011 and started to realize his idea. Onedio, which was originally thought to be a blog for serious news, turned into a platform where you can watch the most popular news, photos and videos of the Internet today.

Jon Richards

YallaCompare

Jon
Richards

YallaCompare

Jon Richards is co-founder and CEO of yallacompare, the Middle East’s leading comparison site. The company’s success is down, in no small part, to the technological innovation that Richards has driven with his insistence on working with the region’s top IT talent. As a result, he and the company have disrupted insurance distribution in the Middle East, and continue to drive innovations in the insurance and finance spaces. An entrepreneur from an early age, Richards is a master of digital marketing and is a keen follower of financial technology developments.

Hosam Arab

Tabby

Hosam
Arab

Tabby

Hosam Arab is the CEO of Tabby, the region's first Buy Now Pay Later solution. He was previously Co-Founder and CEO at Namshi, the Middle East’s premier online fashion destination which was fully acquired by Emaar Malls for $280 million. Prior to co-founding Namshi, Hosam worked in Private Equity with Waha Capital in Abu Dhabi, managing Waha's portfolio of assets. 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 Harvard Business School in Boston.

Helen Chen

Nomad

Helen
Chen

Nomad

Helen Chen is the CEO and Co-founder of Nomad, a property technology company in the Middle East. Prior to founding Nomad, Helen was an investor and worked at several notable companies including Goldman Sachs, China Investment Corporation (CIC), and Blackstone as well as studying at Stanford Business School. Always having had a passion for real estate, the idea for Nomad was conceived whilst Helen was in Silicon Valley, but recognizing the potential in the Middle East she relocated to Dubai and launched the business in September 2019. A strong believer in supporting women both in tech and in the boardroom, Helen is a champion for hiring female talent at Nomad and encouraging a balanced workforce.

Ross Veitch

Wego

Ross
Veitch

Wego

Ross is CEO & Co-Founder at Wego, which is online travel marketplace that provides top ranked mobile apps and websites for users living in the APAC and MENA regions. Wego harnesses powerful technology that simplifies the process of searching, comparing and booking flights and hotels across hundreds of airlines, hotels and online travel agency websites. Wego is has dual-HQs in Singapore and Dubai and is backed by top-tier investors including Tiger Global, Crescent Group, Square Peg Capital and the MBC Group. Ross is a veteran of the Asian internet industry having established Yahoo!s Southeast Asian operations in Singapore back in 1998 and leading product development efforts across the region for 6+ years. He is also Singapore Co-Chair of H2, the premier global leadership network for the digital industry.

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