the leading tech festival
for emerging markets



Regular tickets are on sale! Buy before:

STEP Start

STEP Start is the home base for founders, startups, and entrepreneurs to learn and share experiences and meet with investors. Startups get to participate in the Startup Basecamp, Mentor's Corner, Pitch Competition, and Investor Meetings.

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

More Speakers Will be Announced Soon

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.

Francesco
Cracolici

Nomadic Minds

Francesco
Cracolici

Nomadic Minds

Francesco is General Manager at Nomadic Minds, the world's largest network of Silicon Valley CEOs & Top Execs that collectively raised +$4BLN, generated +$20BLN in companies' value, and that worked with the White House, King of Marocco, King of Jordan, Government of Paraguay and many others. Nomadic helps emerging startups ecosystems to grow by connecting them with the brightest mind from the Valley. Nomadic also do the matchmaking between the most promising seed stage startups and VCs from the Valley Prior to that, he was a 2 times founder and head of Sales at The Family, the 2nd largest accelerator in Europe with +3bln in companies portfolio.

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.

Raghida
Dergham

Beirut Institute

Raghida
Dergham

Beirut Institute

Raghida Dergham is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Beirut Institute and Columnist for The National. She served as Columnist, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, and NY Bureau Chief for the London-based Al-Hayat for 28 years. Ms. Dergham was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2011 and in 2016, and in 2017 she was named Arab Woman of the Year for her achievements in Journalism. In 2018, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World.

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).

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.

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.

Jeff
Hoffman

Global Entrepreneurship Network

Jeff
Hoffman

Global Entrepreneurship Network

Jeff Hoffman is a successful entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, bestselling author, Hollywood film producer, a producer of a Grammy winning jazz album, and executive producer of an Emmy Award winning television show. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known successful startups, including Priceline.com/Booking.com, uBid.com and more. Jeff is the Chief Evangelist for the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Jeff serves on the boards of companies in the US, Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Asia. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis. He has not only built multi-billion dollar global companies, but he has worked with them in many different industries and markets, and he possesses a unique and powerful knowledge of what it takes to achieve exponential growth for entrepreneurs and small business owners everywhere.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

STEP Start Partners

STEP Start Knowledge Partners

STEP Start Exhibitors

STEP Start Ecosystem Partners