The Most Experiential
Tech Festival in the Middle East

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 2019 Speakers

Miriam
Kiwan

ADGM

Miriam
Kiwan

ADGM

A visionary strategic marketing and community management executive, with transformational leadership and highly innovative strategy in diverse business scenarios. My experience includes marketing management roles within financial services, technology enterprises and education, directing market positioning, digital marketing and stakeholder engagement (SEM, SEO, Mobile, social media engagement, CRM, CMS and strategic partnerships) spanning the B2B, B2C and B2G sectors. As a catalyst for change, I am highly tuned to future markets and global industry trends, I help instill an entrepreneurial culture within executive teams to capitalise upon marketplace opportunities, accessing core capability in strategic planning, digital marketing, stakeholder engagement, cross-functional collaboration, and strategic partnership formation. Recognized for my creative style and flair for compelling marketing initiatives, I have an influential interpersonal and team management approach complemented by a global mindset and capacity to construct mutually beneficial strategic partnerships. I am a specialist in building out a company brand or image in defined markets and in championing blueprints that promote growth and expansion. I hold a TRIUM Global Executive MBA from the London School of Economics & Political Science, HEC Paris School of Management and New York University Stern School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts – International Marketing from Brunel University. An Accredited Innovation Practitioner, I am able to define and implement innovation management strategy in line with NSAI Innovation Management Standards and the upcoming ISO/TC279 Innovation Management Standard.

Ho
Beng

ADGM

Ho
Beng

ADGM

HB joined the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM as the Associate Director in the Capital Markets Intermediaries team. His responsibilities include authorisation and supervision of financial institutions. He is also part of the team developing the fintech ecosystem in ADGM, as well as regulation of fintech companies, and organizing the FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit. HB began his career in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), authorizing and supervising financial institutions. In MAS, his work also included formulating market conduct policy, working with foreign securities regulators in joint projects at IOSCO and other platforms, and reviewing and strengthening standards of Singapore’s financial advisory sector. After MAS, he joined Promontory Financial Group (an IBM Company), a US-headquartered global regulatory consulting firm with offices in 19 cities across the world. As a Principal in Promontory Financial Group, he provided regulatory and compliance consulting advice and services to financial institutions in Singapore, China, Australia and other parts of Asia. He holds a Double Degree in Economics and Psychology from Yale University, and is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).

Samer
Tayan

Sage

Samer
Tayan

Sage

Based in Dubai, Sam Tayan leads the Sage business across the Middle East. He is overseeing an aggressive growth strategy for the region, which includes positioning the Sage Business Cloud as only cloud platform that Middle East businesses need and driving the expansion of Sage’s enterprise business. Sam joins Sage with 25 years’ experience in the industry managing various technology companies in the Middle East including five years as Managing Director for VMware in the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that, he held senior positions at organisations such as Veritas Software and Sun Microsystems in the Middle East and also EMC in the UK. He holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering the University of Bath.

Mahesh
Dhomkar

UAE Exchange

Mahesh
Dhomkar

UAE Exchange

A Brand Marketing Director at UAE Exchange. He signed as the title sponsor of the Asia’s biggest international cricket tournament Unimoni Asia Cup, UAE 2018 and, Official Sponsor of the recently concluded AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019 football championship.

Joseph
El
Kawkabani

KIPCO Holding

Joseph
El
Kawkabani

KIPCO Holding

He joined KIPCO in 2018, with around 20 years of investment experience in frontier markets. Mr Kawkabani leads strategic initiatives, special projects and transformation programs across KIPCO Group. Prior to joining KIPCO, he set up and served as the CEO of CPC Africa and has held several positions in leading regional and international organizations including Chief Investment Officer- MENA equities at Franklin Templeton, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Algebra Capital, and Head of Equity Asset Management at SHUAA Capital.

Salah
Makouk

Emirates

Salah
Makouk

Emirates

The Incubators & Accelerators manager for the Emirates Group. The group comprises of Emirates Airline, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines as well as dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers. Salah launched Intelak, the region’s first Travel & Aviation Incubator, the Emirates Airlines Dubai Future Accelerator Program and working on the launch of the Aviation X Lab. Salah has more than fifteen years of international experience in management from both the aviation and finance sectors. Prior to joining Emirates, Salah worked with Citibank in Lebanon as their IT Manager and then was promoted to IT Director for Portugal. Salah graduated in June 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences and a minor in Business studies from the American University of Beirut.

Gary
Sheynkman

GINCO Investments

Gary
Sheynkman

GINCO Investments

VC in 🇦🇪 backed by @gincoae & Lead @Techstars Dubai // Before: @dubaifuture @abudhabimedia @vice @piksel. // Dork. Husband. Dad. Friend.

Mohannad
El-Khairy

E11 Capital

Mohannad
El-Khairy

E11 Capital

The Managing Partner of E11 Capital, a global VC firm investing in companies solving the world’s biggest challenges. He began his career in investment research with Montreal-based group BCA, before moving to Dubai to help grow Zawya before its acquisition by Reuters in 2012. He then joined Plug & Play in Silicon Valley, where he formed dozens of international joint ventures and partnerships with governments and corporations to invest in early stage startups. With over 15 years experience in international business, corporate innovation, and cross-border technology transfer, Mohannad has helped internationalize hundreds of companies around the world such as AltSchool, Zenysis, and Instabug. Based in San Francisco, Mohannad supports corporations and governments through E11’s corporate venture capital model.

Walid
Faza

WAMDA

Walid
Faza

WAMDA

Walid Faza

Khaled
Talhouni

WAMDA

Khaled
Talhouni

WAMDA

Khaled Talhouni

Mia
Jafari

Intelak

Mia
Jafari

Intelak

Mia is a start-up entrepreneur and designer specialising in sustainable fashion (www.miajafari.com). She is also an accomplished program designer supporting social entrepreneurs and enterprises align their business with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She graduated in Design and Visual Arts from both Central Saint Martins, and Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also a PGCE (Certificate in Post 16 Education) qualified educator. Mia designs, prepares and delivers learning packages that are interactive, hands-on and foster collaboration in order to grow innovation and empower an entrepreneurial culture. Currently Mia is the program manager for Intelak Incubator, at aviation, travel and tourism incubator co-founded by Emirates Group, GE and Dubai Tourism.


Vineet
Chaturvedi

Alibaba Cloud

Vineet
Chaturvedi

Alibaba Cloud

A veteran of driving acceptance of emerging technologies in cloud computing and digital space. After spending more than a decade in serving multimillion dollar powerhouses and new age startups, Vineet knows what truly drives digital conversations. Vineet holds an MBA in marketing and finance, and is currently the Country Head for GCC market for Alibaba Cloud; a dreamer; voracious reader, and a father.

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.

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.

Tarique
Khatri

Tajawal

Tarique
Khatri

Tajawal

Benefits from over 19 years of experience in the travel industry. He was part of the team that founded Cleartrip, India’s leading online travel company. He has led a wide range of functions and new market initiatives such as launching and establishing Cleartrip in the Middle East. Tarique worked with numerous multinational corporations including Kuoni India, Cox & Kings and Indian Express.

Jon
Richards

YallaCompare

Jon
Richards

YallaCompare

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

Anna-Liisa
Goggs

Consult and Coach for a Cause

Anna-Liisa
Goggs

Consult and Coach for a Cause

Co-Founder and Partner of Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3) which fosters social enterprise in the MENA region. Anna-Liisa specialises in governance for social entrepreneurs and her strong links with corporates looking to be involved with skills-based volunteering, contributed to C3 winning a 2017 UN Sustainable Development Goals Pioneer Award. Has worked with magic circle law firms in London, Sao Paulo and Dubai on high profile deals such as the IPO for DP World. She is currently an acting General Counsel. Holds an MBA with the Open University (England). She is a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales and holds a BA Law with French from the University of Sheffield (England).

Hani
Enaya

STV

Hani
Enaya

STV

An investment professional with a background in deep tech, Hani Enaya is a partner at STV, MENA’s largest venture capital fund. Hani sources and structures deals with businesses of interest to STV and supports their management after deal close, sitting on the board of many STV portfolio companies.

Ziad
Mokhtar

Algebra Ventures

Ziad
Mokhtar

Algebra Ventures

Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s leading VC fund. Ziad is also Managing Partner at Ideavelopers. Ziad has been an active VC investor since 2010. He has invested in 13 different technology startups including Fawry, Vezeeta, SiWare, Elmenus, and Iqraaly. Before being a venture investor, he served as a Consultant at McKinsey & Company where he worked on topics related to economic development, healthcare reform, and education. Prior to McKinsey, he co-founded eSpace in 2000 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until 2006. While at eSpace, he led the development of the number one mobile salesforce solution in the region, and spearheaded eSpace’s international services business. Ziad is a member of the boards directors of Elmenus, Iqraaly, SiWare, and Vezeeta. Ziad holds an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Alexandria University.

Abdulrahman
Mutrib

Al Tayyar Group

Abdulrahman
Mutrib

Al Tayyar Group

The Group CTO of Al Tayyar Travel Group of companies and a board member of the group’s Strategic Online Business Unit which includes tajawal. He is responsible for the group’s strategic planning for information technology and project management services. During his 28 years in the ICT sector, he has worked on many large-scale, billion-dollar projects in telecommunications and information technology.

Helen
Al
Uzaizi

BizWorld UAE

Helen
Al
Uzaizi

BizWorld UAE

With over 17 years of experience spanning non-profit management, social development, fundraising and marketing, Helen is an established businesswoman and active community member working with children and refugees. Most recently as the CEO of BizWorld UAE, Egypt, and Jordan, Helen has led a meaningful social enterprise that teaches children entrepreneurship skills. In addition, she is the Founder of Future Entrepreneurs, a platform that aims to empower youth entrepreneurs in MENA. She was recently named one of the UAE’s 100 Smartest People and one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World. Helen is a Certified Marketing Executive (CME) who studied Law & Politics at the University of Manchester and completed her Executive Education at Columbia University. She is currently studying International Development at the University of London, LSE. On a personal level, Helen is a mother of 2, triathlete and adventurer who believes in making dreams come to life and that anything is possible.

Tarek
Kabrit

Seez

Tarek
Kabrit

Seez

The CEO and co-founder of Seez, prior to that he spent over 15 years working in VC, PE, Investment Banking and consulting with the likes of Wamda, Mubalda, Abraaj, Deutsche Bank, and Booz & Co. He currently sit on the ICs of a number of VC groups and family offices

Sharif
Elbadawi

500 Startups

Sharif
Elbadawi

500 Startups

Serves as Partner at 500 Startups, the most active venture capital firm in the world. In his role, he manages 500 Startups’ MENA fund, focusing on seed stage investments. In addition, he is the Chairman of TechWadi, where he helps bridge MENA startups with Silicon Valley. Previously, Sharif was the Partner Lead to VCs and Startups at Google where he worked with top tier VCs and their most promising startups on strategies that bring all of Google to their businesses. Joining from AdMob almost 7 prior, he led performance advertising strategy for Google’s largest customers in North America covering Mobile, Search and Display ads. Before AdMob, Sharif was a technologist and serial entrepreneur having co-founded several companies in the Consumer Internet and B2B space over twelve years. Sharif earned his MBA from UC Irvine and his BS in Neuroscience from UCLA.

Charles
Blaschke

Taka Solutions

Charles
Blaschke

Taka Solutions

Founder and CEO of Dubai based smart energy efficiency provider, Taka Solutions. He started the company in 2013 after working in the automotive, mining, industrial, and technology consulting industries with four years of building engineering experience since moving from Dubai in 2008. Charles and the company specialize in fully-financed, paid-from-savings Energy Performance Contracting efficiency projects. The goal is to help reduce 20% of the world’s energy consumption using technology, finance and engineering, applying IoT, energy modeling, energy monitoring, asset management and BIM.

Sheikh
Salem
Al-Qassimi

Fikra

Sheikh
Salem
Al-Qassimi

Fikra

Founder and Principal of Fikra — a design studio, and a design-led educational platform — and the Director of the Fikra Graphic Design Biennial. He is a multidisciplinary graphic designer, educator, and entrepreneur. Al-Qassimi served as an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design, an Assistant Professor of Design at the American University of Sharjah, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Design at the New York University Abu Dhabi. He participated in exhibitions globally, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and essays on Arabic typography, culture, design, and education. Al-Qassimi won several awards, namely the Type Directors Club (TDC), the Young Creative Entrepreneur Culture Award by the British Council, ShjSeen Startup award, and was featured in Forbes Middle East ranking list The Leading Young Entrepreneurs in the UAE.

Mohamed
Hamdy

Dubai Future Foundation

Mohamed
Hamdy

Dubai Future Foundation

Head of Future Platforms at the Dubai Future Foundation, responsible for developing innovation focused programs and building partnerships between private and public sector stakeholders, with the aim of solving future challenges. Previous to that role, Mohamed was part of a mandate in developing and setting up a government backed venture capital fund focused in investing in the UAE. Mohamed was involved in designing and setting up several startup accelerators and incubators, including The Catalyst, backed by British Petroleum Ventures and Masdar, as the first accelerator focused on sustainability in the MENA region and was the founding managing director of the ‘Turn8 Accelerator’, the first technology startup accelerator in the region, based out of Dubai. Previously was the investment director for a family Office in Abu Dhabi for 7 years, primarily managing a private equity portfolio in diverse industries and was the founder of an online stock brokerage company called Tadawul.

Jean
Michel

Oliv

Jean
Michel

Oliv

The CEO and co-founder of Oliv (formerly InternsME), a career platform made for the youth. Connecting talented students and new graduates to leading employers for internships, part-time and graduate jobs. With youth unemployment rates in MENA being almost twice the global average — Oliv is solving this problem through technology and empowering communities. Designed to make launching careers simple, personal and more rewarding.

Walid
Mansour

MEVP Capital Limited

Walid
Mansour

MEVP Capital Limited

Has more than 15 years of experience in Venture Capital, strategy, corporate finance and engineering within the digital, telecom, and software industries. Walid holds an industrial engineering degree from INSA de Lyon and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Walid completed an internship at Morgan Stanley’s before working for the following Companies: Booz & Company, UAE’s Prime Ministry Executive Office and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

Ahmed
AlJabreen

500 Startups

Ahmed
AlJabreen

500 Startups

A Venture Partner at 500 Startups, the most active venture capital firm in the world, based in Silicon Valley, with 2,000+ investments in 60+ countries and $350m in AUM. Ahmed manages the Saudi Arabian market for 500 Falcons, the MENA-focused fund for 500 Startups. Prior to joining the fund, Ahmed has completed an MBA from Cornell University where he managed Big Red Ventures, the first student-led venture capital fund in the United States aiming to grow the number of funded startups led by Cornell students and alumni. Ahmed also holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and has previously worked in the technology industry.

Aradhna
Dayal

Access Alts Asia

Aradhna
Dayal

Access Alts Asia

Comes from a land-owning family in India and runs her single-family office out of Hong Kong. As a 25-year veteran of the Asian financial markets, she founded Access Alts Asia as a global investment club focused on Asia. Aradhna’s career has seen several firsts. She ran one of the earliest family offices investing in Asian Alternative funds and built the first platform to bring together the then nascent Asian Alternative funds industry, tracking over 700 funds. Aradhna also conceptualized the first international-style “Sunshine Funds” database for China, as well as pioneered the first international China-Global Alternative Summits at the invitation of the Shanghai Mayor in 2013, facilitating the China government’s landmark QDLP Investments Program for global alternative funds. Aradhna sits on several committees/ board of directors in Asia and was the first Asian and Woman to serve on the Euromoney Institutional Investor Board of Directors.

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.

Naomi
DSouza

IBM

Naomi
DSouza

IBM

Naomi D’Souza is one of the 100 Most Influential Asians and Influencers in UAE. At the age of 25, she has completed her masters in Mechanical Engineering, works as a Strategy Consultant at a Fortune 500 company, boasts a black belt in Karate and has done her trinity examination in music. She’s a Consultant by day getting her hands in UI/UX & CX Strategy, working with some of the most reputed leading organizations in the UAE and a blogger by night, reviewing her way around town, working alongside luxury brands and restaurants. She also maintains a website which is viewed by tens of thousands of people a month, where she posts several research-based, analytical and lifestyle articles. Her social media is a mix of carefully curated pictures of her travels to gorgeous countries, the insane variety of food she eats and other exciting activities that she gets up to; a must-follow especially if you’re based in the UAE!

Sherif
Tawfik

Microsoft

Sherif
Tawfik

Microsoft

Assumed the role of Regional Director – Commercial Partners, Channel, and SMEs, Microsoft Gulf in October 2017, primarily focused on driving Microsoft’s mission “to empower every person and every organization to achieve more. He is currently responsible for the Commercial Partners engagement and Microsoft channel transformation in the Gulf region, leading the team in accomplishing key priorities including scale performance, partners & channel transformation, cloud growth in SMEs, and Go to Market execution. Prior to this, Sherif was the Regional General Manager for Microsoft Bahrain and Oman, empowering a diverse audience of governments, enterprise, start-ups, partners, IT professionals, developers, and consumers in both countries. His strong leadership skills and powerful unique mix of experiences fuelled his efforts to lead digital transformation in an intelligent cloud, intelligent edge business environment, while driving Microsoft’s real impact across economy and workforce through initiatives geared towards supporting SMEs, tech start-ups, education, and innovation programs.

Vera
Futorjanski

500 Startups

Vera
Futorjanski

500 Startups

The Innovation Director for the global Venture Capital firm 500 Startups and is in charge of the Middle East region and Russia. She advises Corporates and Governments on Innovation and helps them build thriving ecosystems. Vera is also a strong female empowerment supporter and a social impact advocate. Vera serves as a Global Ambassador and Mentor for Vital Voices, a Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright NGO that works with women leaders. She is a founding member of the Dubai Future Accelerators, an initiative of Dubai Government to accelerate innovation. Prior to that, Vera was the Founder of a tech startup in MENA. Before that Vera ran the global communications for Rocket Internet during the IPO. 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. And prior to that Vera was a professional Argentine Tango dancer. Vera has lived in 10 countries and is fluent in five languages.

Issam
Al
Najm

Matic Services

Issam
Al
Najm

Matic Services

He began his journey in startups more than 9 years ago in Dubai, he occupied different tech roles in startups and in different stages starting from ideas to a platform handling million of transactions. Issam is the CTO of MATIC Services, a free SaaS-enabled marketplace for home cleaning services, he joined the team when it was just an idea and managed to build the apps and tech team and expand rapidly in the past 3 years. Before Matic Issam was the Head of Technology in iMENA where he helped building SellAnyCar, OpenSooq, ReserveOut, Okaz and other startups, and worked before in Logta Mall startup and MTN.

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.

Cenk
Bayrakdar

Revo Capital

Cenk
Bayrakdar

Revo Capital

Managing Director, REVO –Venture Capital & Private Equity Ex- Chief New Technology Businesses Officer of Turkcell Cenk Bayrakdar, after numerous management roles in Arçelik between 1994 and 2000, joined Turkcell in 2000. In Turkcell, he has cultivated the GSM ecosystem as the Partnering and Content Business Area Division Head until 2006. He served as the Chief Information Officer of Turkcell Group between 2006-2009 and led the restructuring of IT processes and mission-critical operational platforms for the company, including Campaign Management, CRM, Billing and Data Warehousing. He also led the establishment of the core R&D arm of Turkcell Group, Turkcell Teknology. Following his tenure as the CIO, he served as the Chief New Technology Businesses Officer between 2009 and 2013, envisioning and delivering new lines of businesses for Turkcell’s long-term growth. Utilizing experience both in technology and business management; he acted as Turkcell’s innovation spearhead and led projects such as M2M, Telco 2.0, Mobile Payment, Digital Wallet, Turkcell TV, Turkcell branded handsets (T10,T20) and various Internet ventures. He left Turkcell in 2013 to found one of the first venture capital funds in Turkey, Revo Capital, focusing on early-stage technology opportunities in Turkey and the region. As the Managing Director of Revo, Cenk continues to lead dealflow and portfolio management activities. Under his directorship, Revo Capital has closed a bespoke group of investments that includes Onedio, 8digits, Parasut, Foriba, Nuvia, ACL Teslim, Neozeka, Peoplise, Digiform, V-Count, Cardtek, Logiwa, Sinemia, Getir, Trusturk, TransferGo.

Michele
Grosso

Democrance

Michele
Grosso

Democrance

Driven by the desire to restore insurance to its original purpose of providing mutual aid for those who need it most, but can afford it least, Michele founded Democrance in 2015. Prior to that, Michele worked in strategy and distribution at global insurance powerhouses AXA and MetLife in France, Egypt and the UAE. He is a frequent speaker at microinsurance, entrepreneurship and social innovation events, as well as a frequent contributor to publications in the Middle East and wider region. Italian by birth, Michele holds a Master in Management / Grande Ecole from ESCP Europe in Paris and MSc in Economics from Turin University. He is also a graduate of Carlos III University in Madrid and City University in London.

Sandjar
Muminov

Aston Alliance

Sandjar
Muminov

Aston Alliance

A world-recognized specialist with 20 years of successful working experience on the international level (patent, copyright, and commercial law), with proven analytical skills and strategic thinking. Dr. Sandjar Muminov is: – Director of Gulf Online Services FZE – one of the leading company in copyright protection in GCC & MENA region – Eurasian Commissioner on Law Supremacy and Intellectual Property of EECO (Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organization), head office in Russia, China and UAE, regional offices in 50 countries (eurasianeconomic.org) – the only IP-expert from CIS-countries, who was quoted by FORBES Magazine; – Expert of the Business Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Moscow-Beijing-Tashkent-Astana); – Member of the International Intellectual Property Law Association (USA); – Speaker of the Program of Support of Kazakhstan Innovations KAZinno (Ministry for Investments and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan); – Speaker of the University of Dubai; – Expert of the business community of the Russian Business Emirates (UAE, Dubai).

Abdelrazak
Al-Sharif

startAD

Abdelrazak
Al-Sharif

startAD

With a wide range of technical skills, he 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. He 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. He 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.

Hans
Christensen

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority

Hans
Christensen

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority

Holds a BA from Bentley Uni. and an MBA for Hult Business School, and certificates from Oxford and MIT in Blockchain and AI. For the past 7 years he leads a team of managers running the largest and most impactful techhub in the MENA region. It houses 800 going on 1000 tech startups, from 71 nations, on 10.000m2. Dtec has helped create 3000 jobs and the inflow of 300m US $ in the local economy. Hans shaped Dtecs’ strategy and today its highly profitable and has 6 different pillars addressing, Co-working, Acceleration, Events & Learning, Venture Capital, Services and Corporate Innovation. The campus is also the home of Intelak, Emirates Airlines incubator, Startupbootcamp’s Smart City Accelerator and Intel’s’ Iot ignition lab. Previously, Hans founded, as CEO, 3 startups, on different continents, raising 10m US $ in venture capital and holding senior positions building 3 departments in MNCs, including Siemens’ first incubator 20 years ago. Hans is a frequent speaker on AI, Blockchain and Entrepreneurship. He serves on the board of 13 companies, and advisor to two Universities. Under Hans’ leadership Dtec has won 9 awards including Best Startup Hub.

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

Nestlé Middle East

Lynn
Al-Khatib

Nestlé 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.

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).

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.

Mona
Ataya

Mumzworld

Mona
Ataya

Mumzworld

CEO and Founder of Mumzworld.com, has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent of women entrepreneurs. Beyond leading a successful and growing SME, and inspiring her employees and communities, Mona is on a mission to change the region, one mum at a time. Mona Ataya, a proud mum of 3 and ranked one of the Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Arabs is a transformational leader. She has managed to grow Mumzworld from a business plan on paper to a brand reaching 2.5 million mothers across the region. Founded in 2011, Mumzworld has pioneered a leading, revolutionary and gold standard e-commerce shopping experience for all things mother, baby and child in the ME region. Today, Mumzworld is the leader in the vertical space for mothers and ranked No.1 Forbes up & coming company, and hosts over 250,000 products, delivered to over 20 different countries, in the fastest, most convenient and cost-effective way, at everyday low prices.

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

Voicea

Rami
Salman

Voicea

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.

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.