TechWadi and MIT Arab Startup Competition are organizing a weeklong forum ending on June 14th at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center, in San Fransisco California.
The weeklong program will host top MENA startups ready for global growth. During the week, the entrepreneurs will pitch to VCs and Angel Investors, participate in workshops with brilliant Silicon Valley corporate partners, and benefit from a game-changing mentorship day.
The week will be capped with TechWadi's annual Forum highlighting the most impressive MENA entrepreneurs from all over the world. Check the full agenda and list of participants here: LINK.
35% of the price will be discounted for Wamda readers and community using the promocode: twmedia
Dr. Ahmed Heikal is Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital S.A.E., the leading investment company in Africa and the Middle East with subsidiaries in energy, transportation, agrifoods, mining and cement. At Citadel Capital, Dr. Heikal closed the region’s largest-ever private equity transaction and has generated returns to shareholders and limited partners of $ 2.2 billion on investments of $ 650 million. Subsequently led the firm’s transformation into an investment company with majority stakes in most core subsidiaries, swelling balance sheet from under EGP 6 billion to more than EGP 30 billion as of 31 December 2013. During his 10-year tenure as a Managing Director of EFG Hermes Holding, he helped transform it from a small financial consultancy into a fast-growing investment bank that doubled profit every year, becoming the leading investment bank in the Arab world and one of the largest full-service investment banks in global emerging markets. Dr. Heikal is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his contributions over more than a quarter of a century to the development of business, finance and investment in the Middle East and Africa.
The Expanding Oasis: Leadership in Building Billion Dollar Businesses
Having built or ran companies, humorously referred to as Unicorns, our panelists will share their secret sauce about how to build and run billion dollar corporations - in less than 10 years! - further cultivating the oasis of MENA entrepreneurs. Our panel chair is Dr. Ford Tamer, CEO at Inphi Corp. The panelists include Dr. Magid Abraham, CEO at comScore (valued at over $1B on NASDAQ), who was inducted in the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame by the World Economic Forum. Omar Tawakol, Founder and CEO at BlueKai, whose company was acquired by Oracle for $400M in early 2014. Dr. Louay Eldada is Founder and CEO at Quanergy Systems, Inc., which successfully raised $4.5M in seed financing in January 2014. Sam Daoud is CTO at Souq.com, the largest e-commerce site in the MENA region, which has raised $75M at a $500M valuation.
Innovation for Growth: The Paradigm of Entrepreneurship
Multinationals reach out to connect with innovators that deliver unique and valuable solutions to their clients, hence changing the landscape of startup business acceleration. Our panelists will highlight perspectives - challenges and opportunities - from both sides of the table. The session will be led by Ahmad Abdulkader, a renowned industry expert in Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Neural Networks, who now serves as a Principal Research Scientist at Facebook working on various AI problems. Our panelists include James Armistead, Executive Vice President of Multichannel Banking at Bank of the West. Dr. Tarek Elabbady, Senior Director of Microsoft Advanced Technology Labs (ATL), a leading research facility aimed at incubating, validating and delivering impactful technologies, and established the first ATL facility in the Middle East. Dr. Maha Achour is CEO at Polyceed, which is creating the next generation of high-tech smart material. Osama Bedier is a Board Director at WePay and was integral in building category-defining products from scratch including PayPal Checkout, PayPal’s Adaptive Payments, PayPal’s first mobile offerings, and Google Wallet.
Angels to Crowds: The Rising Support Ecosystem
Financing for MENA entrepreneurs quintupled last year, so have the institutions cooperating in MENA and SV. Our panelists, who made it happen, will tell us how and what next. Our panel will be led by Khaled Nasr, Partner at InterWest Partners, which focuses on investments in mobile, cloud and data center infrastructure, including systems, software and semiconductors. Tarek Asaad is a Managing Partner at Ideavelopers, Egypt’s leading venture capital firm. Randa Akeel is a Senior Economist at the World Bank Middle East and North Africa Finance and Private Sector Development unit where she helped with their revolutionary partnership with the Central Bank of Lebanon to commit $400M to support Lebanese startups. Walid Mansour is a Managing Partner at Middle East Venture Partners, one of MENA’s leading VC firm, who is pioneering a cross-border model for investment to leverage the World Bank’s program. Jason Best is Co-Founder at Crowdfund Capital Advisers and was integral in creating the Crowdfund Investment Framework used by the President in the Jobs Act, that helped change the laws making crowdfund investing legal in the US. Tarek Sadi is the Managing Director of Endeavor Lebanon, an Economic Development non-profit focused on supporting and growing outperforming entrepreneurs to transform economies.
MENA Women Rising
Women-led high tech startups achieve 35% higher return on investment and, when venture backed, generate 12% higher revenue than male-owned tech companies. In MENA we are witnessing the golden age of Arab women leaders, with higher percentages of female entrepreneurs in the Middle East compared with Silicon Valley. These female leaders in innovation will discuss their journeys of ascent and the roles of women in the startup industry. Our panel will be led by Dina Sherif, Senior Advisor for Engagement at Silatech, which seeks to create jobs and economic opportunity in the Arab World. Dr. Rana El Kaliouby, Co-Founder and CSO at Affectiva, a global leader and industry expert in emotion measurement technology, which also received $12M in Series C funding from Kleiner Perkins and Horizon Ventures. Nafeesa Syeed and Rahilla Zafar are co-authors of Arab Women Rising, profiling 35 entrepreneurs from across the Middle East. Rama Chakaki is Founder and CEO of BarakaBits the only media venture delivering exclusively good news, changing the narrative in the media to an intelligent, optimistic and empowering one.
MIT Startup Pitches
Eighteen MIT Enterprise Forum growth-stage startup companies exhibiting global potential will be at the event. Prior to the TechWadi Annual Forum, companies will participate in the MIT Tech Review Digital Summit, be immersed in a weeklong exploration of the Silicon Valley ecosystem with visits to Twitter, Facebook and Google, and receive a day of customized mentorship from TechWadi100 Members, hosted at Wearable World.