February 13 – 14,2019Dubai

The Most Experiential
Tech Festival in the Middle East

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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 2019 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.

 

STEP Start Speakers

More Speakers Coming Soon

Patrick
Rogers

Support Legal

Patrick
Rogers

Support Legal

Co-Founder and Principal of Support Legal, a disruptive legal services platform that is leading the innovation of the legal sector across the Middle East and Africa. Patrick believes entrepreneurs are the engines of every economy, driving positive growth, not only in their respective sectors, but the world as a whole. He is passionate about using his unique skill set to support entrepreneurs and the companies they are building through the innovative legal services platform that Support Legal has developed. He has worked on a wide array of transactions in over 40 countries, from venture capital financings and private equity deals to franchising and IP-related matters. Acting as director and advisor to a number of high growth companies, Patrick also serves as a Venture Corps Mentor with the Endeavor organisation, a global non-profit organisation that aims to catalyse economic growth in emerging countries. Patrick's thoughts on entrepreneurship and the disruption of the legal services sector have been featured in a range of publications including the FT, The National, Forbes Middle East, Entrepreneur Middle East, Arabian Business and Gulf Business. He is unwavering in his belief that the legal industry needs to be driven in a fresh and innovative direction in order to maintain its relevancy. Patrick is licensed to practice law in England and Wales and Canada. He holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia and a J.D. from Western University and has lived and worked in Toronto, Hong Kong, London and Dubai, where he currently resides with his family.

Omar
Itani

FabricAID

Omar
Itani

FabricAID

Omar Itani started an award-winning waste-management company at the age of sixteen. Since then he continued to be civically engaged through entrepreneurship and social activism. Omar then dropped-out of university just before graduating from studying industrial engineering to startup FabricAID, a Lebanese social enterprise enabling underprivileged people to get decent clothing at extremely affordable prices while reducing fabric waste through increasing the efficiency of second-hand clothes collection, sorting and distribution. FabricAID the winner of the 2018 Global Social Venture Competition, sold more than 30,000 clothing items to more than 5,000 beneficiaries in the past few months.

Natalie
Sleiman

She loves tech

Natalie
Sleiman

She loves tech

Head of UAE for She Loves Tech, a global initiative showcasing the convergence of the latest trends in technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and the opportunities it creates for women, which includes the world’s largest startup competition focused on women and technology, boot camp and international conference series. Natalie, formerly, led the business development and strategic management of captive Insurance products for Audi and Volkswagen across the Middle East. She holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD and is part of the executive committee of the INSEAD National Alumni Association in the UAE, which is the business school’s second largest alumni group, globally. Natalie is passionate about empowering women in tech and keen on encouraging entrepreneurial potential through digitization, leveraging social media and their combined innovative impact on businesses.

Ulugbek
Yuldashev

AWOK.com

Ulugbek
Yuldashev

AWOK.com

Kyrgyz entrepreneur Ulugbek Yuldashev is the founder and chief executive officer of AWOK.com, which is, one of the leading online retail platforms in the UAE. He founded the online store in 2013, which commenced operations, by selling electronics and gadgets. The company has grown rapidly since its inception, offersover 50,000 products across 30 plus categories, and employs close to 500 people. Yuldashev has had a flair for business since an early age and started his first company in 2004, when he was just 19 years old. It was a retail and wholesale business in Kyrgyzstan named Domashniy (Russian for Home Center). In 2006, the ambitious young entrepreneur moved to Dubai and in 2008 established the wholesale company Gulf Alabel Technologies LLC. Success in this venture led to Yuldashev setting up another wholesale company called Alifco LLC followed by entering the ecommerce industry in the region with ALIFCA DMCC as the parent company of AWOK.com. Ulugbek is a business graduate and considers his father to be his mentor who instilled in him discipline and ethics in business at a young age. Hailing from a retail background, Yuldashev is committed to being customer-centric. Customer satisfaction is at the core of his decision making process as much as an acute business sense and boldness. Yuldashev’s commitment to ‘not quit without winning’ stems from being a dynamic sportsman since school days. He has grown up winning various national and regional level competitions in Kyrgyzstan. Competitive sports that he has trained in and won include martial arts, tennis, swimming and 10km running.

Huseyin
Erol

noon

Huseyin
Erol

noon

The Director of Strategy and Corporate Development of noon, a $1 billion joint venture between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and funded by Mohamed Alabbar. noon was born with the mission of building an ecosystem of homegrown digital companies from the region, for the region to safeguard the future of the Middle East’s digital landscape. Huseyin brings over 10 years experience in management consultancy to noon, leading strategy, investor relations and corporate development. Prior to his appointment at noon Huseyin was Principal at BCG where he worked in both the Istanbul and Dubai offices, focusing on retail and e-commerce.

Abdel
Razzaq

startAD

Abdel
Razzaq

startAD

With a wide range of technical skills, Abdel Razzaq has been an innovator for years with 3 US patents granted. Since joining startAD two years ago, he designed and built Al Warsha, a state of the art prototyping facility at NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus that supports hardware startups and offers workshops aimed at the local tech community. Abdel Razzaq supported the development of over 20 prototypes that have been designed and built in the Al Warsha lab that include a wide variety of projects such as health tracking devices, drones, and multimedia. Abdel Razzaq currently leads the startAD team’s partnerships with mass manufacturers in Shenzhen, China that will support the product development of startAD hardware startups. He also a regular coach and technical advisor to startups throughout startAD Venture Launchpad sprint accelerator program.

Fadi
Bizri

SE Factory

Fadi
Bizri

SE Factory

Co-founder of SE Factory, Lebanon's most successful coding bootcamp. SE Factory helps youth of all backgrounds train on practical technical and soft skills that are required by the job market, achieving a 90% hiring success. Fadi is also a Partner at B&Y Venture Partners, a $46M venture capital fund based in Beirut with global mandate, focused on investing in high-potential technology startups. Fadi co-founded and is a board director at Speed, Lebanon’s leading seed startup accelerator. Previously, he was a founding member of Seeqnce, the first accelerator in Lebanon.

Muhammed
Mekki

AstroLabs

Muhammed
Mekki

AstroLabs

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.

Lynn
Al-Khatib

Nestle Middle East

Lynn
Al-Khatib

Nestle Middle East

Media Relations and Internal Communications Manager at Nestlé Middle East since 2013, operating as the Company’s spokesperson, while overseeing all Internal Communications and Public Relations activities in the region. Internally, Lynn engages the hearts and minds of employees so they can fully imbibe how Creating Shared Value is at the core of all Nestlé does. Her Media Relations role delivers news and information on how Nestlé lives up to its purpose of Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future to journalists from all media forms across the region. She also leads Nestlé Middle East’s Social Media channels. Before taking on her current post, Lynn was Nutrition, Health & Wellness and Internal Communications Manager at Nestlé Middle East from 2011-2013.

Eyad
Latif

Latham & Watkins LLP

Eyad
Latif

Latham & Watkins LLP

A counsel in the Dubai office of Latham & Watkins, where he is a member of the Corporate Department and Mergers & Acquisitions and Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Practice Groups. Eyad’s practice focuses primarily on representing emerging growth companies (public and private) and their funding sources including venture capital and private equity firms. He has represented numerous international and Middle East-based emerging growth companies and venture capital and private equity firms in transactions across a wide range of industries, including AI, BioTech, E-commerce, EdTech, CleanTech, FinTech and HealthTech.

Anna
Roberts

Nudge

Anna
Roberts

Nudge

Award winning broadcaster Anna Roberts saw first hand the issue many entrepreneurs face - having a great idea but an inability to communicate that vision with the world. Drawing from a decade in live radio and television, Anna created a global platform to allow start ups to access communications training and resources to help them scale their ideas effectively and authentically. Born in New Zealand, Anna has lived in the Middle East for almost 25 years. See more at www.imannaroberts.com.

Medea
Nocentini

C3

Medea
Nocentini

C3

Co-Founder and Partner at C3 Partners – Executives on Demand (C3P), a UAE-based advisory firm providing senior executive support services to businesses in need of temporary management solutions. C3P is the advisory arm of Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3), which fosters social enterprise in the MENA region. C3P re-invests its profit into C3 social impact programmes. Prior to that, 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).

Mehrad
Yaghmai

Power of Art

Mehrad
Yaghmai

Power of Art

The Managing Partner of Power of Art and serves as the Innovation Architect to Sahem, where in both capacities he works with entrepreneurs, startups and corporate clients to launch innovative projects. His participation within the startup ecosystem involves working with public and private entities to activate startup initiatives.  He invests and advises startups in addition to working with various incubators and accelerators. For the past 5 years, he has worked with startups across various industries from SaaS & marketplaces to healthcare & education startups and is currently the Co-Host of Streams of Progress, interviewing the UAE’s innovative change makers and leaders.

Anil
Goel

Oyo Rooms

Anil
Goel

Oyo Rooms

Currently the Group Chief Technology and Product Officer at OYO Rooms responsible for technology and product strategy and execution worldwide. During his 2.5 years tenure at OYO, the company has grown across 10+ countries to become 3rd largest hotel chain in the world. Prior to OYO, Anil managed Customer Returns and Reverse Logistics technology for Amazon's worldwide $5B+ reverse logistics business. He has been founding CTO at Hike, the 2nd most popular messaging application in India as well as at HyperQuality, a leading enterprise call centre monitoring and analytics technology provider. Anil is a graduate of BITS, Pilani, India and holds MBA from City University of Seattle, USA.

Jenny
Zeng

MSA Capital

Jenny
Zeng

MSA Capital

Managing Partner at MSA Capital and brings over 18 years of experience in the Chinese VC industry. At MSA, Jenny leads investments. Jenny (Yu) Zeng was the founding Executive Director of the China Venture Capital Association in 2002. In 2004, She founded one of the first Financial Advisory firms in China (Maple Valley), and led many landmark deals in the industry. She also organized the first series of Angel Investing events which pioneered the concept of angel investing in China. She graduated from Beijing Information Science and Technology University. She is one of the founders of the Harvard Innovation Lab (iLab).

Samarth
Athreya

Genis

Samarth
Athreya

Genis

A 16 year old super passionate about exponential technologies and sciences. He has built a variety of applications in various fields such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology. Right now he is the co founder of a startup that is disrupting preventive medicine.

Elena
Andrioti

The Psychology Center

Elena
Andrioti

The Psychology Center

A Licensed Psychologist and provides psychotherapy services to children, adolescents and adults. She uses psychological methods and research to make positive changes in her clients’ lives while offering various forms of treatment. Dr. Elena is also trained in giving personality and aptitude assessments to help organizations with selection, development and talent identification programs. She is a published author in the field of Psychology, a mental health advocate and public speaker.

Fouad
Fatal

Krimston

Fouad
Fatal

Krimston

A Lebanese serial entrepreneur passionate about innovation and building technology that creates tangible value for people around the globe. He is currently the co-founder and CEO of Krimston SAL, an innovative hardware company which is getting ready for the mass production of its first product: TWO- the first active dual SIM case for iPhones. Throughout his journey, Fouad became an expert in hardware development, prototyping, mass production along with various commercial tasks such as fund raising, strategic business planning and worldwide distribution. With a wide and varied background of business experience, Fouad has extensive expertise in guiding organizations through the strategic processes of implementing technology.

Karl
Abouzeid

Sqwirl Holding

Karl
Abouzeid

Sqwirl Holding

A serial entrepreneur at heart, Karl started his career in the hospitality industry after graduating from UCCR Switzerland. After leaving hi marketing role at the Armani Hotel Dubai, Karl went on a six-month backpack tour of southeast Asia, where he found his entrepreneurial calling. Karl decided to come back to Beirut and create his first venture Aimpeeps, an app connecting hobbyists, that completed the Bader entrepreneurship program; followed by Planitair, a hotel and flights booking engine targeting the MENA region, and his latest venture Sqwirl Lab, Lebanon’s first startup studio.

Omar
Almajdouie

Raed Ventures

Omar
Almajdouie

Raed Ventures

The founding partner and CEO of Raed Ventures, a Saudi venture capital firm owned by Almajdouie Holding and invest in seed and early stage startups in the MENA region. He is the former CEO of Almajdouie Manufacturing LLC and he has more than 17 years of enriched experience in various managerial and executive positions. As an investor and entrepreneur, Omar founded RAED Ventures in 2016 as part of Almajdouie Holding diversification strategy, and it provides funding for more than Twenty innovative startups in MENA region. Omar also is a member of board of directors for several leading tech startups.

Bijan
Azad

American University of Beirut

Bijan
Azad

American University of Beirut

An Associate Professor at the Olayan School of Business (OSB), American University of Beirut and the Director of Samih Darwazah Center for Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Azad teaches in OSB’s Executive MBA, Executive Education and MBA programs. Bijan pioneered the popular experiential Accerelation Practicum graduate course at AUB (modeled after Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad). In 2016 he designed AUB’s Scale-Up Readiness Program that focuses on scale-up challenges of companies reaching beyond $5 million revenue in the Middle East—supported in part by USAID and Darwazah Center funds. Bijan is also very active in the startup ecosystem serving as an affiliated mentor/instructor at Flat6Labs accelerator, also as a mentor at the IM-Capital Venture Mentoring Service. Bijan, in 1988 was co-founder of a successful map technology startup in Cambridge, Massachusetts, GIS/Trans’ technology (developed fast search algorithms for network systems) 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.

Corine
Kiami

IM Capital

Corine
Kiami

IM Capital

The Investment Manager at Insure and Match Capital Holding SAL (IM Capital) since April 2015. She supervises the matching & insurance capital process and manages the work of the analytical team. Ms. Kiame is responsible for IM Capital operations, including deal sourcing, investment project evaluation and valuation, business models validation, value creation and mentoring in investments, and supervision of exits from investments. Prior to joining IM Capital, and for more than 9 years, Ms. Kiame was a Director at SHUAA Capital psc Dubai, UAE, where her responsibilities included Product Development, Strategy and Project Management, and Operations. In 2006 and 2007, Mrs. Kiame worked as an assistant fund manager on several regional funds representing USD 1 Billion in assets under management, covering fifteen Arab markets. Ms. Kiame holds a Masters in Finance from Paris IX Dauphine in Paris, an Executive Education Certification from Harvard Business School with emphasis on Private Equity and Venture Capital, an Executive Certification from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with emphasis on Venture Mentorship and is currently a member of the “Grant Evaluation Committee” of the iSME Program, a Kafalat-World Bank program, a member of the Lebanese League for Women in Business and a member of the Rising Tide Europe 3.

Tammer
Qaddumi

VentureSouq

Tammer
Qaddumi

VentureSouq

Founding Partner of VentureSouq. Previously, he was Vice President of Private Equity at Waha Capital, a diversified investment company based in Abu Dhabi with assets of c.$3 billion. Prior to joining Waha, Tammer worked with UBS and HSBC in New York and Dubai, respectively. He served as a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, Syria and worked with the Office of Presidential Personnel at the White House in Washington, D.C. Tammer holds a B.A. from Yale University and serves on the Board of Directors of Addax Bank in Bahrain and of the Yale Arab Alumni Association.

Dia
Haykal

MIT Technology Review Arabia

Dia
Haykal

MIT Technology Review Arabia

The Editor in Chief of MIT Technology Review Arabia, where she leads the editorial, content, localization operations for both print and online platforms. She holds a BA in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut; two Master’s degrees in Corporate Communication, and in Visual Media, from IE Business School in Madrid. Dia’s experience in technology content goes back to her role as the founding editor-in-chief of Popular Science Arabia, where she has led the project launch including the website and the bi-monthly magazine. As head of content at Haykal Media, she’s overseen the creation and localization of hundreds of thousands of words every month.

Rami
Salman

Voicera

Rami
Salman

Voicera

VP of Growth at Voicera, formerly the founder and CEO of Wrappup (acquired by Voicera). Rami is a lifelong entrepreneur, starting his first company at 13 years old. After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Maryland, he joined the world of management consulting at Bain & Company. He came up with the idea for Wrappup while still a consultant, needing a tool to help manage the 7 different client teams in back to back meetings everyday. He took the idea to a hackathon where he met his technical co-founders. What they managed to build in 24 hours not only won the Global Demo Day in Silicon Valley, but Wrappup went on to raise a first round of funding led by Beco Capital & 500 Startups, and was eventually acquired by Voicera.

Alexandra
Talty

Forbes

Alexandra
Talty

Forbes

A writer exploring the world on a journalist's paycheck. From crypto currency to motorcycle gangs, adventure always finds her on the road. She writes for Forbes, Outside Magazine, Playboy + AFAR, among others.

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