the leading tech festival
for emerging markets



Get a FREE 2for1 discount code to get 2 tickets for the price of 1 for STEP 2021.

STEP Start

STEP 2020 Startup Basecamp featured 300 Seed, Early, and Growth stage regional and international startups from future-shaping industries, connecting them to mentors, investors, and potential clients.

For Startups

STEP 2020 Startup Basecamp will feature 300 Seed, Early, and Growth stage regional and international startups from future-shaping industries, connecting them to mentors, investors, and potential clients.

What We Cover

Setting Up & Growth
Discussing growth strategies and factors that need to be considered before calling for the next funding round. The challenges to scaling from startups and investors perspectives.
Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
Discussing educational curriculums, regulations, and licensing for startups and investors. What is required from startups and what are governments doing to improve the startup economy.
Fundraising & Investment
With total investments counting up to over $200 million in H1 in 2018, the state of investment in the region is striking to attract traditional LPs and family offices. What is the reality of this state and its impact on the development of the ecosystem?
Acquisitions and IPOs
Discussing decision making strategies to building and buying technologies, and factors leading to acquisitions and IPOs. The challenges to these decisions, the risks, and the opportunities.
 

2020 Speakers

Tim
Chen

MSA Capital

Tim
Chen

MSA Capital

Tim Chen is Vice President at MSA Capital, a global investment firm with $1.5bn under management. MSA’s portfolio includes most of the sector leaders in the Chinese technology space, such as Meituan, Didi, BGI, and Boss Zhipin. Today, MSA is also the most active China-based fund investing in MENA. Previously, Tim was the head of global product at Mobike, where he oversaw operations in 17 cities worldwide. Tim also worked at Uber and at Nomura Securities.

HRH
Mohammed
K.A.Al-Faisal

Al Faisaliah Group

HRH
Mohammed
K.A.Al-Faisal

Al Faisaliah Group

Mohammed K. A. Al-Faisal is the President of Al Faisaliah Group Holding, a leading Saudi based investment company established in 1969 and active in various sectors such as: food and beverages; consumer electronics; medical, measurement and media equipment; IT and communications; and petrochemicals. He was previously Vice-President at the Al Faisaliah Group, and before that Assistant General Manager and Manager at the Saudi American Bank. Earlier he had worked at Citibank in New York and Citibank in Geneva. Mr. Al-Faisal is currently serving on Other Boards: – Chairman of the board, Saudi Telecom Co. – Chairman and Independent Board Member of JP Morgan, Saudi Arabia. – Board Member of Al Khozama Management Company in which he chairs the remuneration and compensation committee. – Previous Board Member of Audi Capital Saudi Arabia. He is Also on the following Advisory Boards: – Member of the MENA and Central Asia Advisory Board for the Harvard Business School. – Member of the Global Leadership Circle of the Harvard Business School. – Member of the Board of Trustees of the Harvard Alumni Association. – Chairman of the Advisory Board of the College of Business at Al Faisal University. – Previously a member of the Advisory Board of the Saudi Arabian National Competitiveness Center Non- Profit Activities: – Member of the General Assembly of the King Faisal Foundation, and a member of the foundation’s audit committee. – Member of the Board of Trustees of the King Khalid Foundation, and a member of the investment committee. – Member of the Board of Trustees of King Salman Center for Disabilities Research and head of the executive committee. Mr. Al Faisal received his BSc in Industrial Management from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  

Hany
Aly

DU

Hany
Aly

DU

Hany brings more than 18 years of experience to his position at du, where he heads up the company’s Enterprise Business division. Hany’s broad experience covers marketing, customer experience, product development and relationship management. In addition to being an expert of P&L management, Hany’s strengths are strategy setting, planning, managing growth, leading large organisations and turnarounds, Hany is passionate about startups especially in the areas of Blockchain, AI, Fintech, and E-commerce. Prior to joining du in 2013, Hany worked with Vodafone where he spent 13 years managing Consumer and Enterprise Businesses. Hany started his professional career with Procter and Gamble in Egypt. Hany holds a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School in New York, from which he graduated with honours

Arjun
Sethi

Tribe Capital

Arjun
Sethi

Tribe Capital

Arjun Sethi is currently the Co-Founder of Tribe Capital, an early-stage firm investing in N of 1 opportunities. Arjun combines entrepreneurial and executive experience at scale across a multitude of sectors, strengthening Tribe Capital’s brand with entrepreneurs. Arjun was previously a Partner at Social Capital, where he led the venture team with a broad focus on early-stage investing in the consumer and enterprise sector. Arjun’s investments include notable companies such as Cloud Kitchens, Front, Carta, and Relativity Space. Arjun is considered one of the top angels in the valley with investments across stages in companies such as Snapchat, Lyft, OpenDoor, Gusto, LTSE, and Rubrik, to name a few. After his second company, MessageMe, was acquired by Yahoo, he joined the executive team at Yahoo leading mobile and emerging products where he drove mobile product usage from 100M to 1B monthly active uniques. Before MessageMe, Arjun was a Founder and CEO of mobile gaming company LOLapps which he grew to 100M monthly users and subsequently sold to 6waves Nexon for $240M.

Fatma
AlMulla

FMM

Fatma
AlMulla

FMM

Fatma Mohammed AlMulla, Founder and Designer of FMM. Fatma graduated from AUS attaining a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication in 2011 and in 2012 she established FMM which was one of the first pop culture label, designed and created in Dubai in. Fashion and accessories inspired by culture has allowed Fatma to collaborate with international brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Kiehls, Ikea, Garrett’s popcorn and Samsung to name a few.

Boye
Balogun

FutureTech

Boye
Balogun

FutureTech

“Boye Balogun is Managing Director of FutureTech , a connected marketing and technology business. He has a keen passion for scaling startup businesses and specializes in helping brands accelerate their digital marketing & achieve digital transformation. “

Ziad
Matar

TiE Dubai

Ziad
Matar

TiE Dubai

Ziad Matar is President of the Dubai Chapter of TiE, a global organization fostering entrepreneurship around the world since 1992. He is also Founding Parther at Meditari, a Digital Advisory Network bridging the gap between Global Innovation and Local Opportunities, a Board Member at Potential.com and co-founder of HeyHotStaff.com.Ziad is a seasoned technology executive with a proven track record in global technology companies, where he built and developed business partnerships across the Middle East and Africa region throughout his 20+ years corporate career at wireless technology leaders Ericsson and Qualcomm.Ziad is an avid social media consumer, casual photographer, accidental athlete, and Chief BBQ Officer. Ziad Matar is President of the Dubai Chapter of TiE, a global organization fostering entrepreneurship around the world since 1992. He is also Founding Parther at Meditari, a Digital Advisory Network bridging the gap between Global Innovation and Local Opportunities, a Board Member at Potential.com and co-founder of HeyHotStaff.com. Ziad is a seasoned technology executive with a proven track record in global technology companies, where he built and developed business partnerships across the Middle East and Africa region throughout his 20+ years corporate career at wireless technology leaders Ericsson and Qualcomm. Ziad is an avid social media consumer, casual photographer, accidental athlete, and Chief BBQ Officer.

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.

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.

Nour
Al
Hassan

Tarjama

Nour
Al
Hassan

Tarjama

Nour, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Tarjama, a leading language service provider based in the MENA, with offices across the region. Tarjama’s embraces a socially responsible business model, training and employing the largest network of Arabic speaking female translators in the world.. Building on Tarjama’s success, and recognising the need for a more flexible model for sourcing linguistic talent, Nour launched Ureed, an online platform designed to become the region’s official editorial marketplace for linguistic and editorial services. Nour has recently completed an Executive Programme at Singularity University, focusing on innovation and technology, and holds a Bachelor degree in law from the Al-Ahlia University in Jordan. She is an Aspen Fellow, a certified life coach, and a member of the advisory board at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon. She is an angel investor, mentor to start-ups and spends time coaching entrepreneurs and empowering the ecosystem in MENA. She is also involved in other start-ups in Jordan. Nour’s vision is to create sustainable businesses that have a social impact, particularly advocating women’s empowerment.  

Triska
Hamid

Wamda

Triska
Hamid

Wamda

Triska Hamid is the editor of Wamda, the region’s leading entrepreneurship platform. She has covered the technology, media and telecoms sectors of the Middle East for the past decade.

Abdullah
Mutawi

Dubai angel investors

Abdullah
Mutawi

Dubai angel investors

Abdullah is the head of the regional corporate practice at Al Tamimi & Co (the largest law firm in the MENA region) and is also the co-founder and Chairman of Dubai Angel Investors (one of the best-known micro-VCs in MENA). He is a lawyer with nearly 25 years’ experience in global corporate finance, M&A and venture capital with a deep focus on technology transactions. He is an expert in navigating financing transactions as well as shareholder, management and corporate governance issues. Abdullah’s clients range from sovereign wealth funds, publicly traded corporations, VCs and CVCs to early-stage companies and he has led deals in 35 emerging and developed markets with an aggregate deal value in excess of US$30 billion. He is a serial angel investor with many personal investments including successful exits in the U.S. Europe and the Middle East.

Amjad
Ahmad

Precinct Partners

Amjad
Ahmad

Precinct Partners

Amjad Ahmad has 25 years of experience in venture capital, private equity and investment banking. He has invested in and advised over 50 companies helping them to develop and grow. He is currently the Managing Partner of Precinct Partners, a venture capital firm which has backed several leading digital companies including Mumzworld, Bayzat, The Luxury Closet, and Yallacompare. He also serves on boards in various industries including e-commerce, fintech, consumer products and logistics. Amjad earned a Master in International Affairs from Columbia University and he is a graduate of the General Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Deena
Shakir

Lux

Deena
Shakir

Lux

Deena is on a mission to partner with the world’s most audacious founders taking on the most challenging problems. She is an operator at heart with a passion for partnerships and company building. She is particularly interested in breakthrough approaches in health, home, and access that can positively transform lives. Deena believes humanity-focused venture investing is about more than just capital, approaching company building with support and empathy for founders and a lens towards the ethical and societal implications of technologies. Since joining us in late 2019, she has led Lux’s investment in Shiru, a company that leverages computational design to create enhanced proteins to help feed the world sustainably, where she is also a board director; she has also joined as an observer on the board of directors of RDMD, a data platform for rare disease drug development. Prior to joining Lux, Deena led strategic partnerships for early stage products in healthcare, research, machine intelligence and search at Google. There she also directed social impact investments at Google.org and supported a portfolio of more than 300 companies to achieve business development and growth opportunities with GV (formerly Google Ventures). Before she became an investor, Deena had diverse people-centric global experiences as an aspiring anthropologist, journalist, diplomat, aid worker and technologist. She was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State under Secretary Clinton, where she helped launch President Obama’s first Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2010. Her non-traditional path to venture capital landed her in roles that brought people together to foster partnerships through diplomacy, public service, and technology. It has also cultivated Deena’s deep conviction in the power of founders of new ventures to positively transform the future and an unparalleled network to help them achieve it. Deena serves on the Boards of several non-profits including Tarjimly, TechWadi, and AMIDEAST. She is a Kauffman Fellow and a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. Financially independent since the age of 18, she funded her undergraduate and graduate degrees through a variety of merit scholarships and side hustles, including co-founding her first internet company while still in college. Deena earned a joint BA in Social Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard (where she delivered the graduation address) and an MA from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

Abdullah
Mutawi

Dubai angel investors

Abdullah
Mutawi

Dubai angel investors

Abdullah is the head of the regional corporate practice at Al Tamimi & Co (the largest law firm in the MENA region) and is also the co-founder and Chairman of Dubai Angel Investors (one of the best-known micro-VCs in MENA). He is a lawyer with nearly 25 years’ experience in global corporate finance, M&A and venture capital with a deep focus on technology transactions. He is an expert in navigating financing transactions as well as shareholder, management and corporate governance issues. Abdullah’s clients range from sovereign wealth funds, publicly traded corporations, VCs and CVCs to early-stage companies and he has led deals in 35 emerging and developed markets with an aggregate deal value in excess of US$30 billion. He is a serial angel investor with many personal investments including successful exits in the U.S. Europe and the Middle East.

Carl
Morner

Swedish Embassy

Carl
Morner

Swedish Embassy

Swedish diplomat with a primary background in security politics, now a tech savvy promotor of the world’s second most innovative country.

Khaled
Talhouni

Nuwa Capital

Khaled
Talhouni

Nuwa Capital

Prior to founding Nuwa Capital , Khaled was Managing Partner at Wamda Capital, a Venture Capital fund investing in technology-enabled companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. He started his career at Dubai International Capital where he supported the development of the MENA region’s first seed capital fund. Since then Khaled assumed a number of venture capital and startup roles including heading investments and strategy at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. Khaled has centered his career around identifying and investing in disruptive businesses that displace incumbent inefficiencies in traditional sectors of the economy. His areas of interest include ecommerce, Fintech, marketplaces, digital content and enterprise solutions. Through out his career Khaled has focused on building lasting partnerships with the entrepreneurs delivering the region’s digital economy. Khaled has invested in and managed over 100 early stage transactions including Careem, Twiga Foods, Mumzworld, Insider, Modanisa and Luxury Closet and Step Group. Education: BA in Economics from Duke University

Scott
Zhang

Boopin

Scott
Zhang

Boopin

Scott Zhang is the Account director in Boopin for handing MENA and CHINA markets. He leads a team responsible for developing communication & marketing strategies that help advance the brands in the Middle East want to enter China and Singapore markets, or targeting Chinese outbound travelers. Also including helping Chinese brands to set communication & marketing strategies to enter the Middle East region. Prior to joining Boopin, Scott has more than 5 years of communication & media experience in both client and agency sides. He was the regional communication & media manager for HONOR brand (Sub-brand under global tech giant Huawei) in the MEA region, Scott also worked for HAVAS MEDIA ME for travel and fashion brands.

Matthew
Sliedrecht

Cleartrip

Matthew
Sliedrecht

Cleartrip

Matthew is the Director – Marketing at Cleartrip, the Middle East’s largest and fastest growing online travel agencies. Matthew has over a decade of experience in marketing and has worked with global and local brands in telecommunications, travel and hospitality, financial services, automotive and FMCG.

Vera
Futorjanski

Innovation Expert

Vera
Futorjanski

Innovation Expert

Vera Futorjanski is a highly experienced innovation and ecosystem expert who advises both corporates and governments on innovation, helping them to build thriving ecosystems. Most recently, she was Director of Innovation for the global Venture Capital firm 500 Startups in charge of corporate innovation and ecosystem building in the Middle East and Russia. Prior to joining 500 Startups, Vera was with the Dubai Future Foundation, where as well as being the head of global communications, she was also a founding member of the Dubai Future Accelerators, an initiative of Dubai Government to accelerate innovation and diversify the economy. Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office, Vera was the Founder of a German tech startup in MENA. Prior to her time in Dubai, Vera ran the global communications for Rocket Internet during the IPO, the largest tech IPO in Germany in a decade. She is also a strong supporter of female empowerment initiatives and a social impact advocate. She serves as a Global Ambassador and Mentor for Vital Voices, a Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright NGO that works with women leaders. Before her career in the tech and innovation world, Vera completed her MSc at the London School of Economics and worked as a political consultant in the European Union in Brussels. Vera has lived in 10 countries and is fluent in five languages.

Namir
Hourani

GMIS

Namir
Hourani

GMIS

Namir Hourani is the Managing Director of the organizing committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS – www.gmisummit.com). A joint initiative between the UAE Government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), GMIS is the world’s first cross-industry forum dedicated to shaping the future of manufacturing. Namir is also a passionate entrepreneur and owner of Marj Group (www.marj.com), a private holding and investment company he established in Dubai in 2008 with investments that span across multiple sectors such as Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical Distribution, Child Education, Pet Care, and Facilities Maintenance. With an avid interest in technology and the way it has been evolving over the past decade, Namir invested, through Marj Group, in a technology fund which holds a portfolio of renowned Middle Eastern tech companies such as Property Finder, Careem, fetchr, shedul, and bayzat. Prior to the role of Managing Director, Namir volunteered to establish the inaugural GMIS in 2017 at the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi by leading all marketing and operational logistics on behalf of the organising committee. During his tenure as a volunteer, Namir was instrumental in transforming GMIS into a platform for global good. This transformation has transpired in the launch of GMIS’ first endeavor – the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (www.makingprosperity.com), a global impact initiative which aims to unite the world’s leading manufacturers, start-ups and entrepreneurs, governments, UN agencies and philanthropists, academia and researchers, to form a community dedicated to spreading global prosperity through the art of ‘making’. Namir started his career in marketing and held various roles at Procter & Gamble, Universal McCann, 3M and Impact BBDO, and credits his accomplishments to the experience he gained from working with these global organizations. Namir is of Lebanese descent, born and raised in Dubai. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from the American University in Dubai (2003) and attended Georgetown University (2001) in Washington DC.

Muhammad
Nabil
Alsaied

Microsoft

Muhammad
Nabil
Alsaied

Microsoft

Known amongst his peers as ‘Mr Fixer’, Muhammad Nabil thrives on building disruptive solutions that fit the unique needs of emerging markets. For the past four years, Muhammad has served as the Partner & Start-up Strategy Lead under Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative – the tech giant’s market and economic development programme in Africa, which seeks to enhance affordable access to the internet, digital skills and opportunities for cloud-based innovation. In his role, Muhammad is seek to build self-sustainable ecosystem for partners and start-ups with innovative business models, and supporting them in integrating technology to take their ventures to the next level. He is particularly passionate about digital solutions in healthcare, agriculture, education and finance, due to their long-term social impact.   Muhammad has over 15 years’ experience in Information Communication Technology, Engineering and Business Development. He holds a BSc in Computer Science, a Master’s in Information Systems and a Diploma in Cognitive Psychology. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2010, he worked as a Senior Analyst for companies including IBM and Google.

Sarah
AlSaleh

STV

Sarah
AlSaleh

STV

Sarah is an Investment Associate at STV. She worked at start-ups across functions and sectors in Silicon Valley, New York, and most recently, Dubai. Prior to STV, Sarah headed Product and Strategy at a data and intelligence start-up based in Dubai. She led the Middle East desk operations at Dataminr, a New York based start-up that transforms real-time data into actionable signals, and previously served as an Analyst at Google and McKinsey&Co. Sarah holds an MA in International Policy focusing on Internet and Tech Policy from Stanford University.

Mossab
Hussein

spiderSilk

Mossab
Hussein

spiderSilk

Mossab started exploring hacking at the age of 13. In 2009 he landed his first official white-hat hacking job at Souq, where he started their bug bounty program. For the past 10 years, he’s been involved with several global & regional organizations where he helped drive efforts in securing public-facing technologies and adopting real-life hacking scenarios. In 2015 he lead Careem’s Internal Operation Products, with a team of 15 engineers, designers and business analysts.

Jeff
Weinstein

FJ Labs

Jeff
Weinstein

FJ Labs

Jeff Weinstein is a Principal at FJ Labs, an early stage venture fund and startup studio that invests in and builds online marketplaces. Jeff co-heads the fund’s 500+ investments which have included Alibaba, Flexport, Rappi, Betterment, Fanduel, and Delivery Hero, and also manages FJ’s external fundraising efforts. Jeff was previously a Senior Associate at Lux Capital, and prior to that worked at a fund of hedge funds. Jeff has a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and is an elite distance runner training to run a sub-four-minute mile.

Paul
Papadimitriou

Intelligencr

Paul
Papadimitriou

Intelligencr

Paul is a voyageur. He explores human behavior — who we are, how we feel & transact, how technology impacts it all, what it means to us. Trained in global affairs, serial entrepreneur, and creative at heart, Paul advises organizations, from venture to startups, from fintech to travel. He deciphers global mythologies — our experiential journeys around a nomadic, augmented & tribal world. Paul is a sought-after speaker, a TV/radio/stage host, and a show creator, appearing in more than 70 countries. He draws a unique perspective from his multi-cultural background, a Swiss, a Greek, a Finn, having lived in Tokyo, Manila or London, and his forever travels to discover more. Paul has always been at the forefront of enabling what’s next. He’s an air travel nerd, award-winning photographer, and a chocolate lover.

Patrick
de
Laive

TNW

Patrick
de
Laive

TNW

Patrick de Laive is co-founder and CPO of TNW (The Next Web). As a frequently asked moderator and speaker at events across the world (Slush, Launch, South Summit, 4YFN, DIS Berlin) he is at his best at the intersection of creative thinking and technology. Patrick’s specialties include branding, marketing and communication strategy, growth hacking, innovation, event concepting and blockchain applications.

Rami
El
Malak

spiderSilk

Rami
El
Malak

spiderSilk

After graduating from McGill in Finance, Rami started his 1st business which won the award for best web solution in Montreal in 1998. He then launched one of the first digital agencies in the UAE in 1999 which was acquired by a private equity firm in 2006. He would go on to launch 3 ventures including West Coast Customs Middle East, and Suomi a Nokia Interactive agency. He also setup 5 Pillars, a boutique advisory and private equity firm and has advised several family offices and worked on tech M&As and large cross-border transactions before establishing spiderSilk.

Nimi
Mehta

NowMeMedia

Nimi
Mehta

NowMeMedia

The radio host of Channel 4 Breakfast on 104.8FM which broadcasts LIVE across the UAE every morning. When she’s not talking on the radio to the Nation, Nimi is busy running her media company NowMeMedia, creating content for her platforms, recording her Podcast ‘Everything Legit: The Nimi Mehta Podcast’ & hosting on stage for stars like Steve Harvey and Lilly Singh. Nimi started her media career in Television at the age of 21 with MTV UK as the face and presenter of their music fashion channel, District MTV. She hosted red carpets for the most high profile events at London Fashion Week, Harpers Bazaar and Grazia Magazine. Back in 2014 she decided to diversify into the Radio industry- catapulting from community level to a National show within 2 years, something that many of her peers have worked majority of their careers to achieve. She’s a leading face and voice of women in the UAE who recognise their limitless potential in an industry where they have to work extra hard to make their mark.

Patrick
Rogers

Clara

Patrick
Rogers

Clara

Patrick Rogers is an entrepreneur working at the intersection of law and technology. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Clara, a legal technology company that digitizes and automates startup legal expertise. Clara is rewriting the rules of startup law across the world to deliver better outcomes for both entrepreneurs and investors and in the process saving all parties substantial time and money. Patrick previously co-founded Support Legal, an award winning, UAE-based law firm that has brought some much needed disruption to GCC’s legal services sector with its innovative business model. Patrick also acts as a director and advisor to a number of high growth companies and serves as a mentor with both Endeavor and Techstars. His thoughts on entrepreneurship and the disruption of the legal services sector have been featured in a range of publications including the FT, Crunchbase, The National, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Arabian Business and Gulf Business. Prior to commencing his entrepreneurial journey in 2015, Patrick practiced corporate law with two of the world’s largest law firms, DLA Piper and Jones Day, where he advised on venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures across more than 40 countries. He holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia and a J.D. from Western University. During his career he has lived and worked in Toronto, London, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Lee
McMahon

Clara

Lee
McMahon

Clara

Always an early adopter, Lee understood the impact technology would have on the legal profession, an industry that has still lagged behind other professional services. He co-founded Clara with the foresight the legal sector would be unable to scale with the demands of a growing global economy. In a world shaped by technology and automation, legal services would need to automate and digitize. Lee understood that technology would create new challenges for traditional legal firms. McMahon’s legal career benefits from time spent in private practice, as in-house counsel at blue-chip firms and that of being a founder. Lee has acted as a pragmatic, and trusted advisor to his clients on over 300 corporate, commercial, and governmental projects. Lee is a prominent commentator on legal technology and alternative legal services providers in the media. He has been nominated General Counsel of the Year (2016) and nominated Australian Business Person of the Year – UAE (2019).

Junaid
Iqbal

Careem Networks

Junaid
Iqbal

Careem Networks

Junaid Iqbal is the MD of Careem PAY. Trained as an economist an economist at University of Michigan, Junaid has excelled across various industries, from trading in energy futures and launching Pakistan’s first live stock market TV show, to leading privatization deals valued at $1.6 billion and co-founding Salt Arts, Pakistan’s leading Arts production management agency. He previously served as the MD of Careem Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Careem is the leading technology company for the MENA region, including Pakistan and Turkey. It’s mission is to simplify and improve the lives of people and build an awesome organization that inspires. With its technologies, infrastructure, diverse and talented people, Careem is creating work, wealth, safety transportation, trusted payments and delivered, all in a single Super App built for our customer’s everyday needs. Careem is also working alongside smart thinking governments and leading organisations to help reshape agendas that will bring greater services to people so they can actively share in modern life. Since forming in 2012, Careem has created over 1.7 million employment opportunities and generated over $US 2.1 billion in earnings; we operate in 14 countries, over 100 cities, and are valued at over US$3 billion and operate as an independent brand within the Uber family.

Kuppulakshmi
Krishnamoorthy

Zoho Corporation Private Limited

Kuppulakshmi
Krishnamoorthy

Zoho Corporation Private Limited

Kuppulakshmi, fondly known as Kuppu, heads the Zoho for Startups program globally. She has been part of Zoho’s growth story for about a decade now; and, bridging the gap between businesses and technology has been her core area of work. She focuses on strategic alliances between Zoho and various startup bodies such as State Governments, Incubators, Accelerators, and other stakeholders. She also mentors startups on pitching, design thinking, and on using EQ while hiring new talents and while setting up the vision and culture of startups. Kuppu loves public speaking, and is a sought-after keynote speaker on topics like Future of Work, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership for Future, and Entrepreneurship. Her previous experience from being a softskills and communication trainer and a voice&accent specialist, strengthen her expertise in story telling, and she is a great fan of explain-it-like-I am-five concept. She loves working with young minds and aspires to contribute towards the future of education.

Zheng
Yu
Huang

Yu Capital

Zheng
Yu
Huang

Yu Capital

Zhengyu is Chairman of Yu Capital, an investment firm with focuses on education and healthcare. Zhengyu worked at Intel Corporation as a Managing Director and then served under President Obama as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Administrator for US Agency for International Aid. In 2009, Zhengyu left Intel to found a successful financial services technology company connecting global institutional investors with opportunities in the emerging markets.He has worked in over ten countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, India, and China and traveled to over 70 countries. Zhengyu was educated at Stanford University, with a M.S. in Computer Science, B.S. in Industrial Engineering, and B.A. in Economics. He also earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Ahmad
AlNaimi

STV

Ahmad
AlNaimi

STV

Ahmad is a Sr. Principal at STV, the largest venture capital firm in the Middle East, where he is responsible for end-to-end investment cycle including sourcing of opportunities and board memberships. Prior to STV, Ahmad was part of an early stage company based in Seattle that develops infrastructure software for machine learning. Prior to that, Ahmad led the business incubation function of Aramco Entrepreneurship Center. Ahmad holds an MBA from MIT and a BSc. CS from KFUPM.

Mamoun
Hmedan

Wego Middle East

Mamoun
Hmedan

Wego Middle East

Mamoun serves as Managing Director, Wego Middle East. Drawing on more than a decade of experience in the region, he passionately drives revenue and market growth in the Middle East, North Africa and India and leads the region’s operations. Hmedan began in this role in October 2014 where he focused on developing the product as well as played an integral role in expanding the company’s portfolio and hiring the right talent across MENA and India. Prior to that, he established the Advertising sales unit in 2013 and was the Acting GM for the MENA region. Mamoun’s vast experience along with his strong leadership skills and significant multinational experience brings in new dynamism in the management team. His solid background with sales operations, retail, e-commerce and thorough understanding of the importance of partners is profound and has helped the company become the largest travel marketplace in MENA. Mamoun today leads a growing innovative team from the company’s Dubai headquarters. Prior to joining Wego Middle East, Mamoun held different senior roles with leading start-ups with online and digital presence in the region.

Damien
Drap

Nomad

Damien
Drap

Nomad

Damien is COO of Nomad, a property technology company in the Middle East. Prior to joining Nomad, Damien was a General Manager at Uber. He started his career in strategy consulting at Oliver Wyman, where he advised leading Retail and CPG players in Europe and the US. He then joined Uber in its early days in 2013 in Paris, participating in building what’s today one of the largest markets for the company. In 2015, he moved to create the Strategy & Planning team for Western Europe before leading it for the entire EMEA region. He moved to the UAE in 2016 to lead the Uber Eats business locally, covering the GCC region. Damien holds an MS in Industrial Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Paris.

Martin
Tidestrom

Abu Dhabi Global market (ADGM)

Martin
Tidestrom

Abu Dhabi Global market (ADGM)

Martin Tideström is ADGM’s Director of Business Development. He is responsible for promoting Abu Dhabi as a business destination and attracting new firms, for providing growth support to ADGM’s client community, and for developing markets, products and services to enhance competitiveness of the financial centre and its business ecosystem. Innovation and entrepreneurship are high on ADGM’s agenda. Martin and his team have developed a range of support initiatives to facilitate set-up, growth and the financing lifecycle for start-ups and SMEs in the UAE, and they work closely with leading stakeholders across the region and internationally enhance and boost the sector. Prior to joining ADGM, Martin led business development for two other financial centres. Martin began his career as legal counsel with EY and Skandia, focused on venture capital. He holds an LL.M. from Uppsala, Sweden and MBA from IMD, Switzerland.

Jaimie
Evanz

STEP Group

Jaimie
Evanz

STEP Group

Jamie Evans is a Welsh lawyer-turned-entrpreneur and ecosystem builder that has spent time assisting in the business development of several startups from health and fintech to game development. Having spent the last 3 years working with Slush Tokyo and Techsauce Thailand on developing the Asian startup ecosystem, as well as helping startups attend events in Silicon Valley, he joined STEP for 2020 to create ties between the Asian and MENA ecosystems

Dana
Fawaz

Microsoft

Dana
Fawaz

Microsoft

Dana Fawaz is the startup program manager at Microsoft, working actively with startups in the ecosystem to help them adopt new technologies and scale to new customers. Dana has always been passionate about working with startups. She started her career working at a venture capital firm, prior to which she obtained a Masters in Engineering with Innovation & Entrepreneurship from University College London.

Zeina
el-Kaissi

Smart Dubai

Zeina
el-Kaissi

Smart Dubai

Zeina El Kaissi is the Chief Digital Director at the Smart Dubai Office where she spearheads Dubai-wide strategies and implementations of disruptive technologies and the positioning of Dubai as a global and industry leader in the smart city field. In particular, she is currently leading the implementation of the globally recognized award-winning Dubai Paperless Strategy which aims to digitize all city services saving residents time and money spent on paper and visits to Government centers. Moreover, she helped launch the Dubai Blockchain Strategy in 2017 and has been leading its implementation since then. With over 12 years of experience, Zeina has held strategic roles in both the public and private sectors. She has worked as a Senior Consultant at The Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, where she led city-wide projects aimed at increasing the quality of life of Dubai residents and the economic competitiveness of the city regionally and globally. There, she also led the development of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy launched by the Prime Minister in 2015. Prior to that, Zeina worked in management consulting at Booz and Company where her professional experience spanned diverse fields such as education reform, transportation planning and implementation, business policy advocacy, private sector and SME growth and Innovation policy and planning. She also served within the Abu Dhabi Government at the General Secretariat of the Executive Council where she led the Government-wide strategic planning and performance management of over 50 public sector agencies. Zeina was also a technology entrepreneur in the field of city experiences. She holds an MBA with distinction from London Business School and a BA with distinction in Corporate Finance from the American University of Beirut. Zeina has authored studies and perspectives on a wide range of topics including technology, public sector governance and innovation.

Nader
Museitif

HUB71

Nader
Museitif

HUB71

As Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Hub71, Nader Museitif focuses on building strong alliances with tech enablers across different sectors to enrich Hub71’s global ecosystem for startups. Museitif’s experience spans across multiple regions – Europe, Middle East and Africa, leading strategic growth activities for companies including Uber and Aramex.

Jehan
Ara

The Nest I/O

Jehan
Ara

The Nest I/O

Jehan Ara became the President of [email protected] in 2008 and has overseen the evolution of the organization from a trade association to a body which works actively to steer the technology sector in Pakistan. A decade of meticulous planning culminated in the birth of The Nest I/O, an incubator, accelerator and community hub built in collaboration with Google for Startups. With Jehan at the helm, The Nest I/O has become the epicenter of disruptive innovation in the startup ecosystem and has for 3 years also hosted 021Disrupt – the premier flagship startup innovation conference. Jehan is a member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on IT and Telecom and is on various industry and university boards. Entrepreneur. Leader. Mentor. Jehan Ara continues to inspire young founders with her boundless energy and zest for life.  

Akef
Aqrabawi

INJAz Al-Arab/ JA MENA

Akef
Aqrabawi

INJAz Al-Arab/ JA MENA

Akef is the CEO of Injaz Al Arab, the largest non-profit organization in the region that leverages entrepreneurial expertise and harnesses it to train and mentor the younger generation of Arab youth by encouraging the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in business. Injaz Al Arab operates in 13 Arab countries. Prior to taking over the management and leadership of the organization since 2015, Akef held various positions in the field of communications and public relations and then managed the operations and strategic planning section of the organization for the Middle East and North Africa countries. Akef’s expertise and tasks are centered around providing technical support and strategic planning to member states, and coordinating with INJAZ’s boards of directors in 13 countries in the region, as well as strengthening relations with government partners such as ministries of education and labor, and discussing ways to expand the Organisation’s work in a number of Arab countries to empower a new elite of Arab youth to contribute to the development of extracurricular education and entrepreneurship in the region. Akef recently completed his education at Harvard University’s Executive Leaders Program for 2018-2019. He holds a BA in Archeology from Mutah University, Jordan. “

Ola
El-Khatib

SE Factory

Ola
El-Khatib

SE Factory

Computer and Communication Engineering AUB graduate with Masters in Mathematics. A former test automation engineer at Murex Systems. A Lab engineer at the electrical and computer engineering department at AUB.

Ahmad
Alwan

Hub71

Ahmad
Alwan

Hub71

As Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at Hub71, Ahmad looks after the tech hub’s operational and organizational strategic direction and various programs; from design to implementation. He also looks after enabling key operations through corporate functions. Prior to this, Ahmad supported the strategic development and launch of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a $1bn fund launched at Abu Dhabi Global Market aimed at boosting opportunities in the Emirate across asset management, specialty finance and financial infrastructure, among other sectors. Before that, Ahmad was a Vice President at Mubadala’s Portfolio Strategy team where he worked on formulating the corporate strategy, overlaying internal and stakeholder objectives. His role extended to supporting Mubadala’s leadership in special projects. Ahmad was part of the project management office for the Mubadala Development Company and International Petroleum Investment Company merger and also served as the Working Committee Secretary. Additionally, Ahmad co-lead the Mubadala Ambassador Program where select Mubadala employees are trained to present Mubadala externally. Ahmad also supported Mubadala Capital’s Private Equity Funds team in evaluating investment opportunities globally. He holds a Master of Science in International Business and Emerging Markets from the University of Edinburgh and is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.

Briar
Prestidge

Prestidge Group

Briar
Prestidge

Prestidge Group

Briar Prestidge is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Prestidge Group, a high-profile PR and media production agency working with world leaders, top CEOs, government, celebrities and strategists. In recognition for her work, in 2019 Briar was selected to produce and compete on an Amazon Prime TV series called The Social Movement, where 40 entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors from all over the globe are tasked with building a company in four days to solve a socio-economic issue. A qualified digital marketer and comms professional, Briar has an international career spanning across Dubai, New York, London and Australia. Speaking on global stages, Briar delivers engaging keynotes and workshops on “no-fluff” social media strategies, entrepreneurship, and building an online-offline reputation. Thousands have seen Briar’s monthly Dubai-based talk show Deals in High Heels which features inspiring thought leaders. As a young entrepreneur originally from a small farm in New Zealand, Briar is driven to inspire people to invest in their lifelong learning, to be strategic and work hard for your dreams. Her first book, ‘Building A Reputation for Success’ is being launched this year. Briar has designed a corporate suit label for business women which is going live this year and has co-founded a fashion fitness label called Tightz where she heads up brand and marketing.

PK
Gulati

SmartStart Fund & The Assembly

PK
Gulati

SmartStart Fund & The Assembly

Prashant (PK) Gulati, Connector and Enabler Prashant K. Gulati (popularly known as PK) is an entrepreneur, idea accelerator, angel investor, mentor and writer with interests in exponential technologies, innovation, start-ups, entrepreneurship, future of work, mobility, knowledge sharing and more. He is an active Early Stage investor in start-ups and fresh ideas. With a portfolio of ventures in India, Middle East and US, he is actively involved in providing mentorship, guidance and advice to such companies at various levels for over a decade. He has been associated with several successful start-ups and has an active portfolio in the US, Middle East and India. He has been actively associated with TiE, Dubai Future Foundation, The Assembly, in5 Innovation Centre, Sheraa, SmartStart Fund, Nasscom, Future Now, Dubai Enterprise Centre, Indian Documentary Foundation and many other global initiatives, besides multiple Board and Advisory

Christine
Nasserghodsi

Mirai Partners

Christine
Nasserghodsi

Mirai Partners

Christine has worked with international companies, schools, and government agencies in the United States, Europe, India, Africa, and the United Arab Emirates to develop high-impact leadership, learning, and organizational transformation programs. Christine is the co-founder of Mirai, a learning innovations consultancy, and a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania in organizational learning with a focus on leadership for innovation. In her previous roles as the Vice President for the TELLAL Institute (GEMS Education) and Head of Innovation Strategy for the Innovation, Research, and Development Department at GEMS Education, Christine was responsible for leading professional learning and development, educational research, and strategic partnerships for schools and corporate entities across the UAE. In this capacity, Christine developed Creating Communities of Innovation, a project run with Harvard University’s Project Zero focused on transforming schools through pedagogical, technological, and leadership innovation. Christine served as the TELLAL Chair for the Learning Innovations Laboratory at Harvard University, was a Harvard University Project Zero Classroom faculty member, and is a member of the advisory board for the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and GEMS FirstPoint School. She is also the board chair at Wellington International School. Christine writes on innovation, education, technology, and entrepreneurship for Forbes and the Huffington Post.

Issa
Aghabi

IFC

Issa
Aghabi

IFC

14+ year career with focus on Venture Capital in the wider TMT space. Executed 50+ direct transactions with focus on early stage investment as well as fund of fund investments. He managed over $150m in AUM predominantly focused on Emerging Markets. His last role was head of IFC MENA, ECS & Pakistan venture investments both from a direct (early stage and growth capital) and indirect (accelerators and fund of fund). Also worked with World Bank on developing programs for investments and a number of Government fund of fund initiatives in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and the UAE. Prior to IFC he was the Head of Investments for twofour54, consulted Yahoo! on their MENA M&A and BD strategies, Head of BD and Investments at N2V and founding member of IV Holdings / Accelerator technologies, the first venture funds in MENA. Currently branded as Silicon Badia. Issa was also the founding member of Middle East Venture Capital Association (MEVCA).

Jabir
Walji

Systematic Innovation, UK

Jabir
Walji

Systematic Innovation, UK

Innovation/strategy and foresight expert that applies high impact TIPS (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) and its 21st century successor Systematic Innovation with Design Thinking, to deliver disruptive solutions from 1st principles of innovation to all functions of business across industries. He is associated with Systematic Innovation, UK, the architect of the New Science of SI. Jabir is a man who knows how to transform the mental and psychological structures of others! A man with the right schema of how things/people work and change, what goals to achieve, the places and times to act, and what tools to use. I was honored to attend his workshop on Business Innovation and the effect on me was great. I highly appreciate and recommend his work and passion. Hassan Shahin, Chief Knowledge Officer, SYNTAX Digital, Jordan

Maya
Hojeij

Dubai Tv

Maya
Hojeij

Dubai Tv

Maya has over two decades of refined media and communications experience working with prominent international news channels, and participating in global events and forums that support the local business segment in the Middle East, from the World Government Summit, to the Women in Leadership Forum, She has moderated and participated as an MC for high-level events attended by Senior Members of Government and C-Suite Executives from global companies. She is currently a Senior News Presenter and Chief Editor at Dubai TV and has worked at other reputable media channels including Al Arabiya TV. She has carried out extensive media training for several high-profile spokespeople in various industries and has educated students in Media and Journalism at the American University of Dubai. She invests her time in mentoring and empowering women and has participated in several high level events focusing on youth, women and entrepreneurship. Her TedxTalk was entitled ‘Does Our Profession Define Who We Are?’ her podcast Rakwet Ahweh has become a platform that inspires youth with stories from and of successful women in the hope of taking it to the next level and creating change.

Hans
Christensen

D-tec

Hans
Christensen

D-tec

Hans holds university degrees from Bentley; BA in finance, Hult; MBA and is a candidate for PHD with Tübingen. Hans hold certificates from Oxford and MIT in Blockchain and AI. For the past 7 years he leads Dtec the largest techhub in MENA with 800+ startups from 71 nations. Dtec helped create 3000 jobs and the inflow of $300m into the local economy. Dtec excels in providing co-working, acceleration, incubation, labs, events, learning, venture capital and corporate innovation. Hans has founded and run several startups and departments within MNCs on different continents, including Siemens’ first incubator. Hans serves as board director and advisor of start-ups and Universities. Dtec has won 9 awards during Hans’ leadership.

Hussain
Almahmoudi

Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park

Hussain
Almahmoudi

Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park

H.E. Hussain serves a dual role as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) and as the CEO of the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). Both these entities were established through royal decree by the Ruler of Sharjah, who also directly appointed Mr. Hussain to these responsibilities in order to create collaborative long-term relationships between industry, academia and the public sector, fostering an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation. Previously, H.E. Hussain served as the Director General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a Member of the UAE Chamber Federation, and GCC Chambers for 8 years. He was responsible for the overall management and operations of the Chamber including the provision of services to its members. In this role, he launched several strategic economic initiatives for Sharjah such as the SME Act, Sharjah Export Centre, Sharjah Commercial Arbitration Centre, and the Sharjah Business Forum. H.E. Hussain has held leadership roles at leading regional and international companies such as the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), and several Dubai Holding entities. He currently serves as honorary board member of both, the Tatweer Forum and of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and as chairman of the Emirates Business Council for Sustainable Development. H.E. Hussain possesses an MBA from the American University of Sharjah and a BA in Economics and Communications from Seattle Pacific University in the US.

Hasan
Haider

500 Startups

Hasan
Haider

500 Startups

Hasan Haider is a Partner at 500 Startups, the most active Venture Capital firm in the world, based in Silicon Valley, with 2,000+ investments in 50+ countries and $400m 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 100 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.

Lubna
Hamdan

Arabian Business

Lubna
Hamdan

Arabian Business

Lubna Hamdan went from intern to editor of Arabian Business in just four years, having joined the executive title straight out of university, with no previous journalism experience, becoming the magazine’s youngest ever editor at 25, and first ever Arabic editor for the English title. During this time, she has built up a network of contacts and a bank of ground breaking interviews including Ayman Hariri, Ivanka Trump, Dr Habib Al Mulla, Elie Saab and Naguib Sawiris. She also led the team investigation into the fall of Abraaj, a story that received global attention.

James
Maughan

Falcon and Associates

James
Maughan

Falcon and Associates

James joined Falcon as Director of the Dubai Business Associate Programme, the brainchild of its patron HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to bring talented young graduates to Dubai for a nine-month management training programme. He is a regular visitor to China to promote the city of Dubai. Prior to Falcon, James enjoyed a two-decade career in financial services and educational publishing. He has been in the Arab world since 2009, residing in Lebanon for four years where he worked as Director of the regional joint venture partner of Pearson. He also spent a year as an independent consultant during which he was senior adviser to Falcon. In 1995, James completed his MBA at INSEAD Business School in France and later became the Swiss Alumni President from 2003-2008 during which he sat on the International Advisory Board and Swiss National Council of the School. He worked for 4 years with GE Capital in several countries til 1999 and then spent ten years as a Director of UBS in Switzerland. He started his career with Saudi International Bank after his MA degree in Economics from Cambridge University and soon after completed the JP Morgan Finance Program in New York.

Rob
Withagen

Asoko Insight

Rob
Withagen

Asoko Insight

Rob is a seasoned emerging market operator with a background in Africa-focused investment consultancy. Prior to founding Asoko, he worked with Oxford Business Group where he led research teams in Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’ivoire, Gabon, Senegal and Algeria. He also consulted corporates and investors on trade and investment in the region. Dublin City University (MSc); Reims Management School (BSc).

Samer
Azar

Alex The CFO

Samer
Azar

Alex The CFO

Samer Azar, CFA is the founder of Alex the CFO, an online service that automates your accounting and helps you increase cash flow. Samer has helped dozens of entrepreneurs raise more than USD 5 mln in early stage financing; and sits on the boards of several of them. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut, and an MS in Operations Research from Columbia University in New York.

Corrie
Block

Dr. Corrie Block

Corrie
Block

Dr. Corrie Block

Dr Corrie is a global business strategist, futurist and employee happiness expert who has worked on over 100 companies, from the World Bank and Council of Europe to tech startups, to prepare them for Industry 4.0 disruption, I would share strategies that companies and individuals can use to prepare themselves for a technological future. Featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, EuroNews, and CEO magazine, Dr. Corrie talks about emerging tech, the recipe for employee happiness and engagement and motivation. • Qualified in Artificial Intelligence, an NLP business practitioner and holds a Masters in Business Administration & Global Leadership, Doctorate in Business Administration and a Ph.D. in Arab and Islamic Studies. • The leading employee engagement expert, Dr. Corrie has unique research on the brain chemicals required for happiness. • Founded 5 successful businesses before becoming a futurist and business strategist, preparing organizations for disruption for emerging tech.

Thaer
Samara

Safra

Thaer
Samara

Safra

Thaer Samara is an entrepreneur that has been featured in Forbes Middle East as one of the top Arab Innovators. Thaer is the Founder and CEO of Safra, the travel technology solution for businesses in the MENA region. His 9 years of experience in the travel industry, has led him to witness the market needs, and therefore, eagerly establish Safra, one of the fastest-growing travel tech startup in the MENA.

Bijan
Azad

OSB, American University of Beirut

Bijan
Azad

OSB, American University of Beirut

Dr. Azad teaches in Executive MBA, Executive Education and MBA programs. Bijan pioneered the only experiential Venture Acceleration Practicum graduate course at AUB (modeled after Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad). In 2016 he designed AUB’s Growth Readiness Program that helps mid-range firms overcome scale-up challenges and reach $5 million revenue—supported by USAID. Bijan is active in the startup ecosystem as mentor/instructor at Arab Bank iHub, Amman Jordan, Flat6Labs accelerator, and IM-Capital MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Bijan, in 1988 was co-founder of a successful map technology startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, GIS/Trans, was acquired later by Google Maps. In 2001 he co-founded another successful map technology startup International Land Information Systems bv (acquired by ARCADIS bv 2003), in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Dana
Baki

Lunch On

Dana
Baki

Lunch On

Before co-founding LUNCH:ON, Dana was a Partner of Business Development at AlJal Capital—a boutique financing and venture capital firm in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, she worked for Procter & Gamble in the United States for 7+ years, benefiting from a wide range of assignments within the company and gaining expertise in Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Consumer Insights. She holds an MBA from Georgetown University and B.A. in Economics and English Literature from The University of Michigan.

Janardan
Dalmia

TRUKKIN

Janardan
Dalmia

TRUKKIN

An investment banker turned entrepreneur, Janardan Dalmia aka JD is the Founder and CEO of techno-logistics firm Trukkin. Prior to Trukkin, JD was an investment banker honing his corporate finance experience working with and advising on some of the very high profile M&A transactions over a decade at Barclays and Bank of America in Dubai and New York.

Walid
Mansour

Middle East Venture Partners

Walid
Mansour

Middle East Venture Partners

Walid has more than 15 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.

Richie
Santosdiaz

Rise Group ME

Richie
Santosdiaz

Rise Group ME

Richie is a management consultant with a specialty in the economic development and diversification context, particularly in the realm of internationalization (international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) specifically). Now based in Dubai, Richie is the head of strategy for Dubai-based RISE Group ME, where he oversees strategic work with key projects and working internally with the management team with future company growth. Originally from the USA and having lived in seven countries with over 15 years professional experience, he spent almost 5 years until 2018 with a leading management consulting firm based in London; there he had a portfolio of high-level government (UK, Canadian, Mayor of London) and multinational corporate clients in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Richie has worked in others industries, such as higher education, manufacturing, transportation, NGOs and retail. Richie has worked with a wide range of sectors in the context of economic development and internationalization, but, in particular he developed a skill set and sub-passion for the agriculture/food, tech, tourism and creative industries sectors (particularly in film & television). Richie comments about economic development, some of which he has written opinion eds or quoted in some of the world’s leading outlets like Forbes.com, Entrepreneur, NBC News, various leading regional outlets like The National (UAE), The Muscat Daily and Arab News and Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) – to name a few.

Ryan
Sharif

Flat6labs Bahrain

Ryan
Sharif

Flat6labs Bahrain

Ryaan Sharif is BA (Econ) graduate, majoring in finance, from the University of Manchester. Upon graduating, Ryaan worked for Ernst & Young in Transaction Advisory Department whereby he worked on numerous engagements with multinational firms in developing business plans, due diligence, feasibilities and valuations. Ryaan then went on to become a Senior Manager at the Economic Development Board of Bahrain whereby he personally account managed and attracted US$300 million in foreign direct investment persuading the likes of BAE Systems, CIMC, Ariston Thermo, Mondelez (Expansion), Aleastur, SMS Meer to invest in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In early 2018, Ryaan was appointed as the Managing Director of Flat6Labs Bahrain, the MENA Regions largest regional seed stage financier and accelerator program whereby they have already invested in 28 portfolio companies in Bahrain and over 260 portfoilio companies in Flat6labs Group.

Joel
Ayala

Class 5 Global

Joel
Ayala

Class 5 Global

Joel Ayala is a Managing Partner at Class 5. Prior to co-founding Class 5, Joel was on the founding team at Lumia Capital where he focused on investments in emerging markets, including Careem, Shedul, CargoX and many others. Joel serves on the Management Committee overseeing Lumia Capital Fund 1. Prior to Lumia, Joel worked on operations and corporate development at YuMe (NYSE: YUME). Joel led international expansion in Europe and Latin America and helped take the company public. Joel also co-founded Mingleton, a social discovery platform. He began his career as a banker with Jefferies. Joel graduated from Harvard University with an AB in Economics. He was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2016 and currently serves on the board of Yellow, Meliuz, Shedul, FiscalNote, and EatStreet.

Amit
Chaudhary

Lenskart.com

Amit
Chaudhary

Lenskart.com

Amit Chaudhary, Co-Founder, Lenskart.com is known for deriving innovative ideas and has a deep understanding and interest in Technology, Analytics, Operations along with an expertise in organizational development which has brought in a revolutionary growth in the business. Amit is also responsible for the aggressive offline expansion of Lenskart.com. The Omni Channel brand retails not only through its website also 500 plus stores spread across 100 plus cities at the moment and plans to ramp up the number aggressively making it the fastest retail growth witnessed in India.. Lenskart is India’s first and the only brand to use robotic technique that delivers glasses which are accurate to 3 decimal places. The brand has brought a Technology revolution in eyewear with services like 3D Try On and Home Eye Check Up.

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.

Jane
Khedair

London Business School

Jane
Khedair

London Business School

Following an education in business law, Jane spent eight years as an international credit analyst and corporate loan officer in the City of London. After founding Business Plan Services (‘BPS’) in 1991, which helped companies for over 20 years with business planning and proposals for bank finance, business angel funds, venture capital and grants, Jane became one of the UK’s leading authorities on business planning. Jane is co-author of the leading book Successful Business Plans and was a guest speaker on BBC Radio 4 on the subject as well as giving regular talks at business conferences and workshops. Since joining London Business School in 2013, Jane has supported entrepreneurial students by developing and delivering initiatives such as the Entrepreneur Journey events programme and the Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence initiative. Jane also runs the School’s Incubator programme, working with the (formerly Deloitte) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to provide a support package and space for the Incubator businesses as well as access to a full range of professional experts. In addition Jane manages Enterprise 100, London Business School’s angel network, which she set up with faculty more than 16 years ago. The network provides early-stage funding for many of the School’s entrepreneurial ventures.

Eric
Cheng

Carsome

Eric
Cheng

Carsome

A serial entrepreneur, Eric Cheng founded Carsome to transform the used car industry in Southeast Asia. He leads the overall strategic direction of the business across multiple verticals and expansion strategies. Prior to Carsome, Eric accumulated 8 years of marketing experience in the internet industry and a pioneer in championing digital media within Southeast Asia.

Abe
Seksek

Startupbootcamp

Abe
Seksek

Startupbootcamp

Ibrahim Abe Seksek is the current Managing Director of Dubai Smart City Accelerator, powered by Startupbootcamp. Before joining Startupbootcamp he Co-Founded a couple of companies such as ZenHR Solutions, which addresses the entire HR cycle, and Crystel, Jordan’s first business process outsourcing (BPO) provider. Ibrahim also worked as Head of Global Operations Support for Naspers, the parent company of dubizzle and OLX, which oversaw the operations in 70 countries.

Noor
Sweid

Global Ventures

Noor
Sweid

Global Ventures

Noor Sweid is the founder of Global Ventures, a UAE-based, growth-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in emerging markets. Previously, Noor was Chief Investment Officer at The Dubai Future Foundation and Managing Partner at Leap Ventures. In 2008, Noor led the IPO for Depa on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai, scaling the business tenfold in three years to reach $600M in revenues. Noor founded ZenYoga, the first yoga and pilates studio in MENA, which she exited in 2014 through sale to a private equity firm. Noor is Chairperson of Middle East Venture Capital Association, was on the Founding Board of Endeavor UAE, and serves as a Director for MIT Sloan, TechWadi, and beyond. Recently, Noor was listed in the World’s Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes.

Arif
Saiyad

ASA Ventures

Arif
Saiyad

ASA Ventures

Mr. Saiyad is the eponymous founder and CEO of Arif Saiyad & Associados Ventures, more popularly known as ASA Ventures. His foray into entrepreneurship started in his native Portugal, and in the last 15 years has successfully established businesses in the United Kingdom, India and the United Arab Emirates. Throughout his whole career, he has created, seed-funded, and made fruitful exits from over 60 companies across the world.

Major
Williams

DreamVille Labs PR

Major
Williams

DreamVille Labs PR

Agri-preneneur, athlete and hip-hop head, Major Dream, co-founded and launched The Vegan Cafe Wild & The Moon located in Dubai and Paris in 2014. After creating the establishment, which was voted among the Top 5 places to Eat Breakfast in Paris by Vogue Australia, Major has since gone on to evolve into a leader in the plant-based and farm to table movement. A Jamaican member of the diaspora, he moved to Puerto Rico in solidarity and with the mindset that the Caribbean is a Country of Islands that are ONE NATION. Fusing his Jamaican upbringing on the streets of the Bronx with his global perspective on spreading Agripreneurship, Major aims to make farming sexy and healthy again by making every jungle edible and doing away with food deserts. Major is currently operating DreamVille Labs PR, a startup in Puerto Rico focused on food resilience and promoting hyper local nutrient dense food for the island and all of the Caribbean. Empowering community by decentralizing the current Puerto Rican food system and creating a cyber marketplace for local at-risk community members to participate and create income.

Bilal
Baloch

GlobalWonks

Bilal
Baloch

GlobalWonks

Bilal’s background spans entrepreneurship, academia, and consulting in international affairs. He is Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of GlobalWonks: the world’s first real-time expert network. This tech-enabled platform connects global knowledge experts to clients ranging from financial institutions to Fortune 100 companies. Prior to starting GlobalWonks, Bilal was Regional Director for MENA & South Asia at the Wharton School’s Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Bilal was Chief of Staff to Dean Vali Nasr at Johns Hopkins SAIS and an Associate at leading expert network firm, Macro Advisory Partners in London. Bilal completed his bachelor’s at the London School of Economics and holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He completed his doctorate in political science from Oxford University.

Pamela
Attebery

HSBC

Pamela
Attebery

HSBC

Leading HSBC’s innovation agenda across Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Pam is a collaborator across the bank to link emerging technology with business strategy. She oversees the Dubai Innovation Lab, aimed at transforming the bank’s products and processes through strategic partnerships, driving innovative culture and serving as an incubator for new ideas. Pam has worked in a variety of roles and geographies spanning more than 20 years in financial services, bringing a wealth of experience and a creative mindset to open new opportunities in the bank.

Vijay
Tirathrai

techstars

Vijay
Tirathrai

techstars

Vijay is the ​Managing Director at Techstars. Techstars is the worldwide network that supports entrepreneurs succeed with a network of over 10,000 mentors in 150 cities worldwide. Through its mentorship-driven accelerator programs Techstars has invested in 1,900+ start-ups at seed stage with a portfolio valuation estimated at $22Bn. Currently he is managing the Techstars accelerator in partnership with Hub71 based in Abu Dhabi. Formerly, Vijay was the Global CEO of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) based in Washington D.C. At EO he ​led the growth of 16,000+ leading entrepreneurs with ​the combined revenue of $600Bn, through the expansion of a world class peer-to-peer network present in over 180 cities worldwide. As a serial entrepreneur, Vijay founded several start-ups including manufacturing of safety helmets, association management, event production and a venture fund. Early in his career he served in senior executive roles namely in fashion retail, clothing manufacturing and real estate development. ​ Throughout his career, he has taken up leadership and boards roles on several non-profit entities, such as the Young President Organization (YPO International Board), Richmond University (U.K.), the 16th Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and as International Chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Now based in Abu Dhabi, Vijay has previously lived and worked in Dubai, Washington D.C, London, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He ​is proactive in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem as an investor ​and mentor. During his spare time he is passionately exploring world heritage sites. https://www.linkedin.com/in/vijayktirathrai/

Daniel
Piehler

Nomad

Daniel
Piehler

Nomad

Dan Piehler is the Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of Nomad, a property technology company in the Middle East. Previously, Dan was a Senior Product Manager at Addepar, a Silicon Valley-based fintech company that provides data aggregation and performance reporting solutions to private wealth management firms. While at Addepar, Dan was responsible for driving the company’s portfolio of third-party integrations, APIs, and developer toolkit. Prior to Addepar, Dan served as the Head of Platform at Lumia Capital, an expansion-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco. Dan was previously a Product Marketing Manager at ClearMomentum (Acquired by Ipreo) a provider of portfolio analytics software for private equity and venture capital firms. Dan holds an MBA from the Simon Business School and BA/Economics & English from the University of Rochester.

Amira
Rashad

BulkWhiz

Amira
Rashad

BulkWhiz

Amira is CEO of BulkWhiz, the first bulk grocery ecommerce platform in the Middle East, powered by home grown artificial intelligence. She has extensive strategy, operations and marketing experience across the technology, media, consumer products and services sectors. She was most recently the regional Head of Brand for Facebook Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan, working closely with leading global and regional companies as well as the startup and VC ecosystem. She has advised Fortune 500 companies as a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, and led teams at PepsiCo, Yahoo, Dun & Bradstreet, and Leo Burnett Advertising, while working in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa. Amira holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is s a UK Foreign Office Chevening scholar. She is a board member of Tech Wadi in Silicone Valley and The MIT Enterprise Forum Middle East. Amira is a regular speaker at major regional events on ecommerce, artificial intelligence and women’s issues.

Walid
Faza

MSA Capital

Walid
Faza

MSA Capital

Walid Faza is a Partner and Chief Operations Officer at MSA Capital for MENA. With over 9 years of experience in the region’s Venture Capital industry, Walid is responsible for investments and partnerships. Walid is an advisor to many startups and has extensive managerial, leadership and mentorship expertise. Previously, Walid was a partner at Wamda Capital and managed the investments of MENA Venture Investments (MVI) investing in high growth and capital efficient technology businesses which include some of the region’s most prominent exits such as Souq/Amazon, Yemeksepeti/Delivery Hero and Careem/Uber. Prior to Wamda, Walid established his own immigration consultancy firm, created a music management company, and founded a non-for-profit organization.

Ben
Harburg

MSA Capital

Ben
Harburg

MSA Capital

The Managing Partner of MSA Capital, a venture firm based in Beijing that has invested over $1b over the last 4 years in many of China’s leading technology companies in the AI, consumer internet, and gene sequencing sectors (Didi, Mobike, Meituan, NIO, Beijing Genomic Institute, etc)

Philip
Bahoshy

MAGNiTT

Philip
Bahoshy

MAGNiTT

The founder and CEO of MAGNiTT, is the largest investment data platform for the MENA startup ecosystem, be investors, entrepreneurs and corporates. 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 ten years and is passionate about developing the MENA startup ecosystem.

Muhammed
Mekki

AstroLabs

Muhammed
Mekki

AstroLabs

Muhammed is a Founding Partner at Dubai-based AstroLabs, the MENA region’s premier coworking community and learning academy for digital technology companies. AstroLabs operates a network of three spaces in the UAE and Saudi Arabia with over 120 resident companies building innovative technologies. AstroLabs Academy delivers a variety of practical training courses on topics related to digital business. Prior to AstroLabs, Muhammed co-founded Namshi, now one of the largest ecommerce companies in the MENA region. Muhammed is a former McKinsey & Company strategy consultant with clients across the GCC. Muhammed received an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Medea
Nocentini

AWROSTAMANI / C3

Medea
Nocentini

AWROSTAMANI / C3

Medea Nocentini is Chief Strategy Officer at the AW Rostamani Group where she is responsible for Group strategy and planning, investment strategy, market intelligence, risk management, performance management, and corporate marketing. Medea is also Co-Founder and CEO at Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3), a UAE-based organization fostering social enterprise in the MENAT region. C3 social entrepreneurship and innovation programs have helped more than 350 entrepreneurs and engaged more then 2000 experts with the support of blue-chip companies such as HSBC and Bain and Company. Prior to joining the AW Rostamani Group, Medea was Senior Vice President Strategy at OSN, the leading Pay TV platform in the MENA region, where she was responsible for corporate development, strategy planning, and management, as well as market and consumer intelligence. Before joining OSN, she spent several years at Booz Allen Hamilton developing strategies for media, consumer, and social sector’s clients across Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (New York, USA), an MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and an Engineering Diploma from Ecole Centrale Paris (France).

STEP Start Main Partners

Payments Partner

STEP START CLOUD PARTNER

STEP Start Partners

STEP Start Knowledge Partners

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STEP 2020 Content Partner

STEP 2020 Media Partners

Marquee Supplier

Cleaning Partner

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