Food and Beverage
Digital and mobile technologies are redefining the food & beverage business – from reviews to deals to delivery. Restaurants are also taking charge, leveraging social media to build strong and engaged relationships with their customers. Online food platforms are booming, and the MENA is a hot expansion target – with Turkey’s Yemeksepeti raising $44M and growing in Dubai as FoodOnClick, and India’s Zomato launching in Qatar and the UAE. The Forum will explore these themes, and also invite attendees to a Taste of Beirut – a dinner featuring stands from some of the city’s most flavorful restaurants.
Digital Advertising and Social Media
Digital and social media platforms have become crowded with advertising and brands. What are the leading agencies and brands doing to uniquely distinguish their presence and grow their impact through social platforms, mobile and other cutting-edge technologies? What are the tools available to marketers to leverage these platforms? How are agencies and brands measuring their ROI and effectiveness on social media? ArabNet Beirut will bring together top creative, media, and social media agencies to explore these themes.
Online music revenue will rise 31% globally by 2015 to hit $7.7 billion, with MENA contributing one of the highest growth rates by region. In the last six months, global leaders in streaming music, Spotify and Deezer, raised $100M and $130M respectively for their international expansion. ArabNet Beirut will explore the growing opportunities in mobile music, bringing together top global and regional music platforms as well as digital leaders from the record labels.
Building on the success of the past two Developer Days, ArabNet introduces Design+Code Day, with focused workshops to help designers and developers build better web and mobile products. From specialized workshops on subjects like Arabic typography and game SDKs, to broader and cross-functional sessions on product development, this day will help designers and programmers enhance their expertise and connect with each other.
Entrepreneurial and Creative Talent
ArabNet’s competitions shine the spotlight on young digital talent from around the region. The well-recognized Ideathon and Startup Demo competitions will feature 20 pitches from entrepreneurs with bright digital ideas and promising startups. This year, ArabNet has also launched the Creative Combat – a new competition for digital marketing talent, where teams of two will be asked to create a digital campaign in just one week, and finalists will be invited to pitch live at the event!
Social Impact Sessions
Digital technology offers opportunities for tremendous social impact, by enabling NGOs and community organizations and empowering citizens and activists. There’s also an increasing interest in social entrepreneurship – in startups that have a bottom double line, looking both towards profit and social benefit. The Social Impact Sessions will explore these themes through panels and talks, as well as workshops led by community organizations. The Sessions will take place on the afternoon of the 22nd and will be free and open to the public. You can attend the Social Impact Sessions for free by registering here.
Abed Agha founded Vinelab, a digital entertainment company based in the UAE that serves digital executions to broadcast, music and sports entities in the MENA region. Vinelab clients are MBC Group, Rotana Media Group, LBC International, EMI, Ragheb Alama, Yara, Nancy Ajram, and Magida El Roumi, among others. Vinelab strives to fill the gap in the digital entertainment space with a focus on artists’ music offerings and labels’ strategy development, content distribution, and audience management and expansion along with monetization opportunities. Prior to Vinelab, Abed Agha co-founded Rab3i TV, the first free-to-air interactive social network on TV, and accrued experience for 12 years spanning investments, media and telecoms across the US, South East Asia and the GCC.
DPE Sales & Operations Director, MEA, Microsoft
Ahmed Adel is DPE Sales and Operations Director for Microsoft Middle East and Africa. DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) delivers programs targeting software developers and IT professionals in academia, ISVs, customers and communities and ensures that the latest Microsoft technologies and platforms are accessible. Adel has 21 years of experience in technology, with a focus on the software industry, ranging from a mix of different roles in multinational companies to managing Egyptian software houses. Adel is a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University (1990) and holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. During July 2009, he led the hosting of the Imagine Cup WW Finals in Cairo, Egypt.
Head of International Operations, Zomato
Albinder Dhindsa is Head of International Operations at Zomato. Prior to joining Zomato, Albinder Dhindsa was a Project Manager at Cambridge Systematics in New York and San Francisco. In this role, he led several successful simulation model deployments in the United States and Canada. Albinder Dhindsa graduated with a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and received his MBA from Columbia Business School in New York.
Managing Director, Knowledge View
Ali Al-Assam is Founder of KnowledgeView Ltd. and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 1995. Al-Assam also co-founded Diwan in 1982, which created the desktop publishing revolution in the Arab World. Ali Al-Assam conceived a number of news management and publishing products, starting with Al-Nashir Al-Maktabi in 1984, followed by NewsNet and PictureNet in 1986. He started the ‘fareeda’ news communities’ initiative in 2004 as part of his knowledge-networks approach for enabling innovations and knowledge industries in the region. Ali Al-Assam has a Bachelors in electrical engineering, Masters in nuclear physics and PhD in magnetics. He worked on optical fiber switching devices as part of a four-year postdoctoral research at Imperial College, London.
Corona Labs Cloud Architect, Corona LabsAli Hamidi is a seasoned entrepreneur, having co-founded Sphere Networks, which was acquired by a Taiwanese company in 2009. Hamidi’s most recent venture, Game Minion, is a back-end service solution for games developers. His startup experience and in-depth knowledge of cloud computing technologies enabled him to take Game Minion from a concept to being acquired within 14 months. Hamidi has a deep and diverse background covering mission critical networking, mobile app development and cloud technologies.
Brand Strategist, Wolff Olins
Brand Strategist @wolffolins. Retail savant. Armchair activist. Mideast aficionado. Wanderlust victim.
Amr Sobhy is an award wining Egyptian information activist, enterpreneur, published author and poet. He is best known as the co-creator of MorsiMeter, a digital initiative and online platform that documents and monitors the performance of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and that has attracted global attention. Modeled after Obameter, MorsiMeter is considered to be the first initiative in Egypt and the Middle East to hold a president accountable for his promises. Sobhy is also the CEO of an aspiring Egyptian startup, PushBots, a platform that helps mobile apps and brands talk to their audiences via push messaging.
Bashar Thawabi is Co-Founder of ReserveOut, the Middle East’s leading real-time restaurant reservations service. Thawabi is in charge of product development and is leading the efforts to translate ReserveOut’s vision into a reality through the implementation and deployment of ReserveOut’s restaurant and consumer offerings. Prior to ReserveOut, Thawabi worked on Wall Street at BlackRock as an Associate within the Portfolio and Risk Management Department. At BlackRock, he worked closely with the Chief Risk Officer and Asset Backed Securities Trading Desks to create a compelling technology offering that provided visibility and insight into trading behavior and data mining. Thawabi holds a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated magna cum laude.
Technology Editor, Europe, Wall Street Journal
Ben Rooney is Technology Editor for The Wall Street Journal, Europe, covering technology across the whole EMEA region, but with a special focus on start ups and entrepreneurialism. An award-winning journalist, he joined The Wall Street Journal in September 2010 after starting his journalistic career with the UK’s The Daily Telegraph, the country’s highest circulating quality newspaper. While at The Daily Telegraph, Rooney was the launch editor of the paper’s website, the first daily online newspaper in the UK, in November 1994, and was then the editor of the paper’s successful technology section. Before launching the website he was on the newspaper’s acclaimed international news-desk. An author of four books, Rooney has appeared regularly on national and international television.
User Experience Designer, Google Inc.
Benedict Davies is a user experience designer working on mobile products in the Emerging Markets team at Google. He is based in the London office and during his 6 years at Google has worked on products including Google+, Free Zone, Google Mobile App, Google Voice, Google Art Project, Chrome to Phone and YouTube Remote. With a background in electronic publishing and web design, Davies has been working on mobile UX issues for the last 12 years. Prior to Google, he worked for Hutchison 3G on the launch of the first 3G network in the UK and for Samsung Design Europe on a range of wireless projects.
Regional Head of Digital, Mindshare MENA
Boye Balogun is Regional Head of Digital at Mindshare MENA, leading the development of Mindshare’s digital offerings and teams across the region. Balogun has a wealth of digital marketing experience, having worked on both agency and client side over the past 10 years. He has been the digital lead on major clients such as Visa, Orange Telecoms, Danone and Lloyds Banking Group. Balogun was also a founding member of the digital performance arm of Profero, where he led the HBOS International and Esure accounts. He is a regular speaker in the MENA digital circuit, sharing insights on digital innovations, disruption strategies and data intelligence.
Regional Entrepreneurship Advisor, Mercy Corps Egypt
Con O’Donnell has 18 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur in Internet, mobile, publishing and digital marketing in Egypt. O’Donnell is one of a handful of IT entrepreneurs in Egypt to have exited successfully. He founded Sarmady Communications, one of foremost companies in digital media content and marketing in the country, which was later acquired by Vodafone. O’Donnell has considerable knowledge of marketing, business strategy and business development. He currently heads the Digital Economy Program for Mercy Corps Egypt, an organization that supports the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and identifies and directly equity-invests in social impact businesses. O’Donnell is an active member of the Cairo Angels, an Angel investment group. He is also Chairman of Book.com.eg.
Senior Community Projects Manager, Souktel
A leading young Palestinian social innovator, Dalia Othman manages Souktel’s community mobile service projects – empowering rural and marginalized communities through mobile technology. Othman also lectures on online journalism at Palestine’s Birzeit University, and has previously consulted for international media non-profits Internews and MobileActive. Othman is a frequent public speaker in the field of media and mobile technology; recent speaking engagements include Ramallah’s TechCamp in 2012, the Global Social Good Summit 2012 and the Arab Youth Entrepreneurship Conference in 2013. She holds a MA in Media from New York University (NYU), and a BA from the American University of Cairo.
Daniel Neuwirth is the German Co-founder of Shahiya.com, the leading Arabic social website dedicated to food. Growing up in the Middle East, he developed a great passion for the region’s peoples and cultures. He speaks Arabic fluently, and is an expert on the local culture and habits of consumers in the different Arab countries. Neuwirth leads sales and business development at Shahiya.com. He works with agencies and clients interested in creating special operations that include both content production and content integration. Shahiya.com is used by more than 1,200,000 unique visitors each month, almost half of whom come from the GCC. These users are predominantly married women aged 18-34, i.e. the decision makers for household related purchases. Shahiya.com also leads its space in mobile, recording more than 1,000,000 downloads of its iOS apps so far, and topping most Arabic Apple store apps.
CEO, BECO Capital
Dany Farha is a successful serial entrepreneur and investor, with many exits from ventures in a variety of industries. Farha co-founded and exited Bayt.com, the Middle East’s largest job site; Butlers, the UAE’s biggest commercial laundry company; and Intercat, one of the leading catering companies in the UAE. Farha was a seed investor in Gonabit, a Middle East-focused daily deal website that was acquired by Living Social in 2011. He currently sits on the boards of several portfolio companies.
Senior Advisor for Civic Engagement, Silatech
Dina Sherif is Founding Partner of Ahead of the Curve, a social enterprise dedicated to building sustainable societies by creating more sustainable business models and enterprises. Sherif has been Senior Advisor for Civic Engagement to Silatech since 2012. She was Associate Director of the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at the American University in Cairo from 2006 to 2011. Sherif has extensive experience in developing responsible management practices and strategic social investment programs in the private sector. She has also worked with civil society organizations to create effective and impactful programming. Sherif is qualified in sustainability management, strategic philanthropy, project management and design, strategic planning, designing public awareness campaigns, monitoring and evaluation, organizational capacity building and socio-economic research. She was recently named one of Trust America’s top 100 thought leaders on responsible business practice in Europe and the Middle East.
Executive Chairman, Oasis500
Usama Fayyad, Ph.D. is Executive Chairman of Oasis500, pursuant to an appointment by King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2010 to help create a tech startup ecosystem in the MENA. Fayyad is Executive Chairman of d1g.com in Jordan and Chairman and CTO of Blue Kangaroo – a personalized mobile search engine for offers based in California. Until 2008, he was Chief Data Officer and Executive VP at Yahoo!’, where he applied Big Data techniques to content/advertising targeting and built the world’s largest group of data scientists, helping Yahoo! grow its revenues from targeting by 20x in 4 years. Yahoo! acquired his second startup (DMX Group) in 2004. Founded in 2000, his first startup, Audience Science, is the U.S. leader on behavioral ad targeting. Previously, Fayyad held leadership positions at Microsoft and NASA – JPL where he pioneered BigData in Science and earned top research awards including a U.S. Government Medal in 1994.
Head of Digital at MHP, Advisor to Kiip
Eamonn Carey is Head of Digital at MHP Communications and an advisor to Kiip on their global expansion. He is a regular speaker on gaming, business, marketing and digital media at conferences around Europe and the Middle East.
Marketing and Communications Unit Head, Harassmap.org
Eba’a El-Tamami is Marketing and Communications Unit Head at HarassMap, an independent, volunteer-based initiative with the mission of ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt. El-Tamami spent the last 10 years working in the field of marketing and advertising. She started her own business at the age of 23, based out of Cairo and London. She moved to Dubai a few years later to work in multinational advertising agencies and finally as the Regional Marketing Communications Manager at HSBC for the Middle East and North Africa. After the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, she moved back to Egypt to pursue a career in social marketing and joined HarassMap.
General Manager MENA, PayPal
Elias Ghanem joined PayPal in January 2010. From January to June 2010, Ghanem was Director and Head of Marketing for PayPal South East Asia, India and Korea, where he developed the company’s marketing strategy and implemented initiatives to acquire new customers and engage existing users to buy more of their online purchases with PayPal. In July 2010, he became Managing Director of PayPal South East Asia and India, where he was responsible for the business performance and overall profit and loss for the region. In this role, Ghanem led the team that manages all business aspects including sales, marketing and products. He was also in charge of cultivating new strategic partnerships, merchant acquisitions and regional product launches. As of July 2012, Ghanem has been Managing Director of PayPal Middle East and North Africa, in charge of launching PayPal in the region. Prior to joining PayPal, Ghanem worked in the cards payment industry with Visa International Service Association.
President MEAP, Ipsos MediaCT
Elie Aoun is President of Ipsos MediaCT MEAP, a multinational marketing research company, founded in 1975, operating in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) since 1988, and considered a pioneer in the field of marketing research. Aoun joined Ipsos Group in 1992, immediately after earning a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. He developed his entire career while at Ipsos, becoming a reference in the region on Media Business. Aoun commenced in Beirut, thriving in the world of Advertising and PR and generating much success for the Group. Of his many achievements has been his contribution to Ipsos’s expansion into the MEA, where it now employs 900+ researchers and analysts who provide clients with high value-added analytical and market insight as well as innovative business solutions. Aoun launched the Adex services within Ipsos MediaCT, MEA, and contributed to the creation of all syndicated audience measurement studies, transforming Ipsos into the regional media currency.
Elie Habib is the co-founder of Anghami, a music streaming startup offering unlimited Arab & international music with several million licensed songs all wrapped in a distinctive sound for your listening pleasure. Launched just over 4 months ago, Anghami has more than 700,000 subscribers already. Prior to that, Elie co-founded PowerMeMobile in 2003 – a provider of carrier-grade mobile messaging solutions serving mobile operators all over the Middle East and North Africa. An entrepreneur at heart, he started his first company just out of university in 1994, where he developed software and ultimately e-commerce websites catching the web bug back in 1998. Elie is a developer at heart, still enjoying coding and exploring new technologies as much as possible.
Web Editorial Manager, L’Orient-Le Jour
Born in 1975, Emilie Sueur heads the web edition of L’Orient-Le Jour, the Lebanese French-language daily. Sueur has been working in Lebanon since 1998. Previously, she was in charge of L’Orient-Le Jour’s foreign desk, and worked as a correspondent for French and Belgian newspapers. Sueur holds a degree in Political Science from the Institut D’Etudes Politiques (IEP) in Paris.
Founder, CEO, Netizency
Fadi Khater is Managing Partner at Netizency, a social brand consultancy with clients including QNB Group, the largest bank on Facebook in the MENA; Adobe MENA; and the Qatar Olympic Committee. Khater has received executive education in Digital Marketing from the Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and Strategic Decision Making from the London Business School, London, UK. He has worked on digital, marketing and social media strategies for Zain, du, anayou, Eurosport Arabia, Qtel’s Virgin Mobile Service, Kcell and Turkcell. He has a holistic marketing experience, having worked at agencies, clients, and management consultancies across the Middle East including Leo Burnett, JWT, du, Qtel, and Delta Partners. Khater is heavily involved in the social media scene across the MENA; most prominently, he was the lead organizer for the Doha Twestival 2011, which made Doha the 4th largest Twestival city globally.
CEO, Just Falafel
Fadi Malas, an MBA graduate from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, is an experienced business leader, catalyst and strategist who holds shareholder positions in a diverse range of companies. He is CEO of Just Falafel, one of the world’s fastest growing food and beverage brands. Malas possesses vast cross-sector experience in banking, asset management, and financial engineering, with strong focus on expansion and development plans. Lately, Malas has been at the forefront of the digital media revolution, integrating successful sales strategies through social media. This has made him into a sought-after keynote speaker at industry events and business meets globally as well as the winner of several prestigious awards. Most recently, Malas was awarded 2012 Business Star of the Year and Arab Entrepreneur of the Year as well as 2012 Business Innovation of the Year by SMEinfo.
General Manager, Almasry Alyoum Newspaper & Media Corporation
Fathy Abouhatab is General Manager of Almasry Alyoum, the largest Egyptian newspaper. He previously worked as the paper’s Digital Development Manager and Community Manager. Abouhatab’s focus is on the digitalization of media, not only in Egypt but in the Arab world. He has participated in several international conferences and workshops in which new ideas were discussed about the future of media and newsrooms Abouhatab writes and participates in trainings programs for journalists. He believes that the future lies among Arab youths who are qualified to lead the media scene in the present.
Independent Digital Consultant,
Fawzi Rahal has over thirteen years of experience in the digital field in the Middle East. Heading Digital at Grey MENA over the last nine years, Rahal has helped launch, rebrand and manage online channels for the world’s leading brands including Nokia, Visa, Danone and Pantene. As a key member of the new business team, he focused on integrated marketing and communications strategies to help optimize client budget and maximize campaign exposure. Rahal has a creative background and solid strategic and marketing experience in telecom, blue chip, nutrition and FMCG. A typographer and designer by training, Rahal has helped his clients establish online identities and strategies across web, mobile and social media. When he’s not stuck in traffic, he might be found tinkering with gadgets, ranting online or scheming to make the web a more user-friendly place.
VP of New Media, France24
Frederic Bonnard is currently VP New Media for FRANCE 24, Monte Carlo Doualiya and RFI. Bonnard has more than 20 years of experience working in marketing in the high tech industry. After beginning his career at Intel, he spent 10 years in California in the field of product marketing, working for companies such as NeXT, Apple and Netscape. Back in France, Bonnard joined and created several startups in telecommunications and media asset management. Before joining FRANCE 24, MCD and RFI, Bonnard was VP Marketing for a company developing multi-screen solutions for telecom operators.
Platform Strategy Lead, Lebanon & NEPA IM, Microsoft
Ghassan Chahine is Platform Strategy Lead, MENAP, at Microsoft, where he focuses on the promotion and adoption of Microsoft Platform technologies. Before joining Microsoft, Ghassan had more than 12 years of experience in the IT industry, having been a software developer at An-Nahar Newspaper and managed his own software/web development company. Chahine is the creator of the green search engine Gusfinder.com, which combines all search engines.
Director Products & Services, Qualcomm
With over 10 years in new products & services development and deployment in the telecommunications industry, Gilles is focusing on the enabling of novel applications and services for mobile ecosystems at Qualcomm regional offices in Dubai. Prior to that, he held senior management positions in technology, marketing and business development in Europe and North America at companies such as Texas Instruments, Nortel, and Conexant.
Windows 8 and Azure Developer Lead, MEA, Microsoft
Prior to working at Microsoft, Goksin Bakir led one of the premiere software manufacturing companies in Turkey. Besides his experience of over 17 years in the IT Industry, Bakir was Microsoft’s Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa. During this time, Bakir also worked as a part time faculty member in Bogazici University’s MIS Department. He is in the INETA Speakers Bureau and has spoken to many groups worldwide as well as at international conferences and seminars like Microsoft Teched, MDC, PDC, and NDC. He contributes to IT publications such as PC Week and IT Weekly. Bakir has received many excellence awards from leading software and IT companies. His main areas of interest are cloud computing, parallel programming, data perception and security. Bakir has completed many projects with his teams within academia and large corporations; his recent work includes enterprise solutions on .NET technologies.
Chairwoman of the Pan Arab Region, MIT Enterprise Forum
Hala Fadel is currently a portfolio manager for European Equities at Comgest, a 16bn euro fund based in Paris and Dublin. Fadel launched and now runs the Shariah fund practice within Comgest as well as the Socially Responsible Investment practice there. She started her career as a financial analyst for Merrill Lynch in London in mergers and acquisitions. Fadel graduated from HEC in France with a Masters in Financial Economics and Berkeley Haas School of Business, and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. While at MIT, Fadel won the MIT 50K Business Plan Competition and started Booleo, a telecom software business. Building on this experience, she initiated the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition. She chairs the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan-Arab Region and is on the Global Advisory Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Turkey. Fadel is an Angel investor in a few regional startups.
Country Manager, Lebanon and Neighboring Indirect Markets, Microsoft
Hoda Younan took the helm of Microsoft Lebanon in October 2012, as Country Manager of Lebanon and neighboring new markets (Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine). Prior to her current role, Younan served as Financial Services Lead for Microsoft Middle East and Africa region and Government Lead for Microsoft North Africa, East Mediterranean and Pakistan. Younan is concentrating her efforts on five main areas: empowering SMBs through innovative Microsoft technology and improving business productivity and operational efficiency with cloud computing, inspiring digital lifestyles and delivering amazing digital experiences to consumers and enterprises, enabling educational institutions and governments with technological platforms for innovation and better end-user service, contributing to the growth of the IT sector in the countries she covers and developing it into a source of employability and economic value, and leading on policy development to support the growth of the sector.
Husain Misherghi was born and raised in California. His parents are from Tripoli, Libya. He attended UC Berkeley, where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in Business Administration and Psychology. Misherghi started his career at Google in Mountain View, CA. He was initially on the team responsible for the financial planning of Google’s multi-billion-dollar data center and machine infrastructure projects. Later he joined the global revenue forecasting and analytics team. In 2011, Misherghi joined Rocket Internet to co-found Rocket Internet Turkey and MENA. With offices in Istanbul, Dubai, and Cairo, he and his team have launched multiple e-commerce businesses in the region. His lasting legacy is Namshi.com, the MENA’s #1 fashion e-commerce website. In October 2012, Husain became CEO of Foodonclick.com. The company is quickly growing, and plans to enter Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2013.
Windows 8 Technical Evangelist, MEA, Microsoft
Ibrahim Kivanc is Windows 8 Technical Evangelist for Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa DPE Team. DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) delivers programs targeting software developers and IT professionals in academia, ISVs, customers and communities and ensures that the latest Microsoft technologies and platforms are accessible. Kivanc was previously a Software Development Engineer in Microsoft’s IT Data Management Organization Team, developing internal dashboards and data visualizations. Prior to Microsoft, he worked as a Software Development Engineer in IsNET/SoftTech. Kivanc is a former Microsoft Student Partner and was awarded “The Best Executor MSP in Turkey 2010”. He and his team won the Imagine Cup competition in the Software Design Category in Turkey and represented the country in competition’s world final. He has been awarded in many other local competitions as well. Kivanc holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Engineering and has started his Masters Degree in Managament and Information Systems.
Senior Developer, Koein
Joe Chahoud is Senior Web Developer at Koein. Chahoud has been in the digital industry for 5 years, working across a variety of projects with complex technical implementations from e-commerce sites to branded portal sites and mobile implementations. Chahoud is an expert in .net, CSS, GWT and Java.
Joe Dyke is a British journalist working for Executive Magazine, Lebanon’s leading monthly business and economic publication. He joined the team in late 2012 to launch the magazine’s new website and develop its digital content. Prior to moving to Beirut he worked for The Independent in London.
Founder, CEO, A Digital Republic
With over 14 years experience, Karim Khalifa’s expertise lies in all that is digital. He has been a pioneering figure in mobile Internet from its inception in 2000 with Vodafone Global in London, and managed the delivery of the first Egyptian 3G network with Vodafone in 2007. Notably, Khalifa championed the creation of the mobile advertising industry in the Middle East, launching the first comprehensive mobile ad portfolio in the region in 2008. In 2009, he founded Digital Republic, a leading digitally inspired, creative ad agency based in Cairo and Dubai. He has also been elected as Co-Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) in the Middle East and has held senior positions worldwide in Vodafone, Lucent, Maersk, Hilton Group, and SODIC Real Estate. Khalifa is a UK Chartered Electronic Engineer (CENG), a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Member of IEE (MIEE). He holds a MSc. from the University of Leeds.
Chairman, Endeavor Egypt
Dr. Khaled Ismail is Founder and CEO of SySDSoft, a company focused on the design of wireless communication system modems. In March 2011, SySDSoft was acquired by Intel. Dr. Ismail thereafter became Managing Director of Intel Mobile Communications. He is currently Chairman of Endeavor Egypt, a not-for-profit organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs. He is also Chairman of Kiangel, an angel investment fund focused on early-stage startups in Egypt. He was a Board Member of Orascom Telecom (2004-2011) and the IT Industry Development Authority (2009-2012). Between 2005 and 2007, he was the Senior Advisor to the Egyptian Minister of CIT, and was responsible for technology development. Dr. Ismail was VP of Engineering of Ellipsis Digital Systems (2000-2002), and General Manager of Ellipsis Egypt. Between 1989 and 1997, he was with IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center. He is the recipient of the IBM Invention Achievement Award and the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 1997 and 1995, respectively.
Chief International Officer, Deezer
As Chief International Officer, Laurent Billion is responsible for Deezer’s international strategy and its roll-out around the world – from opening offices in new markets to negotiating deals and partnerships. With a diploma in econometrics, Billion began his career at Bossard Consulting. He then became Managing Director of the French subsidiary of Vivendi-Universal Games, before founding a video game development studio and working as CFO for Wonderphone and COO for Moonscoop.
Co-Founder & Managing Director, 3BL Associates
Leena Al Olaimy is a social entrepreneur who is Co-founder and Managing Director of 3BL ‘Triple Bottom Line’ Associates: a Bahrain-based social impact and sustainability consultancy and think-do-tank. She serves as the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Quality Control Consultant for Sustainability Reporting Training Partners in the MENA. Al Olaimy sits on the Board of Trustees for the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse and HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan’s West Asia North Africa (WANA) Forum Advisory Council. Al Olaimy has spoken on CSR, sustainability and social entrepreneurship at events, including the Bahrain Social Business Week, facilitated by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Creative Lab; and most recently, alongside Forbes featured Acumen Fund Founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz. She holds a MA in Globalization Studies from Dartmouth College where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar and a BSc. in Culture and Communications from New York University.
Partner, MakeSense Mediterranean Tour
Leila Roumani graduated from UCLA in 2004, received her Degree in Dentistry from Tufts University in 2009, and her Advanced Degree in General Dentistry from Lutheran Medical Center in 2010. She was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow in 2008, and recipient of the TUSDM Award in Public Health Dentistry in 2009. Her passion lies in public health and social entrepreneurship. Approximately a year ago, Roumani consulted on an AUB/WHO EMRO MENA project. She is now starting a four-month journey with the MakeSense Mediterranean Tour, visiting 19 cities in 12 countries, where she will be meeting with local social entrepreneurs and organizations, and holding workshops to help challenge-solve startup social enterprises. Roumani is interested in increasing support for the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in the MENA.
Co-founder, CEO, Eastline Marketing
Marc Dfouni holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Management Information Systems and Knowledge Management from Concordia University. After one year as a Project Manager at BlueSponge Inc, a leading Canadian interactive solutions company, Marc was promoted to General Manager and Chief of Operations. Amongst his biggest accomplishments at BlueSponge, Marc has created an online marketing department in which he formed and trained a team. He has also managed high scale projects that have won numerous awards including South by South‐West, Canadian New Media Awards, Vidfest, Webby Awards, Gemini Awards, New York Festivals, Boomerangs, BIMA (British interactive media awards), Digital Marketing award, Prix Media and the prestigious Cannes Lion d’Or. Marc co-founded Beirut-based Eastline Marketing in 2006 and is presently its CEO and Managing Partner. He has been recently selected as an Endeavor High Impact entrepreneur as well as received the British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Award.
Founder, CEO, TigerLily
Matthieu Chéreau is Founder and CEO of Tigerlily, a leading European company that helps fortune 1000 companies manage and optimize their social marketing strategies. Chéreau is the author of the book “Community Management”, which is a best seller in France and Italy. Before Tigerlily, Chéreau was a research assistant at the French Ministry of Culture and Google as well as the CEO of a leading interactive agency. Recognized as a thought leader on digital media and social marketing, Chéreau speaks at top universities (HEC, Sciences-Po, La Sorbonne) and conferences (L2 Digital Think Tank, Electronic Business Group, Webit Congress). He has been interviewed by Techcrunch, LCI, Libération, Le journal du dimanche, Stratégies, Challenge, l’Expansion, BFM Radio and teknokulis, among others. With Tigerlily, Chéreau has won many awards, including a Silver Award at LeWeb and was a Techcrunch Europas and Seedcamp finalist.
Founder and CEO at C3 – Consult and Coach for a Cause, & Corporate Development Director at OSN
Medea Nocentini is Director of Corporate Development at OSN, the leading Pay TV platform in the MENA, where she is responsible for market and consumer intelligence, corporate strategy, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and cross-functional strategic projects. In her spare time, Nocentini gives back to the community, mentoring and consulting social entrepreneurs. In order to maximize her impact, she founded a social enterprise (C3 – Consult and Coach for a Cause) that mobilizes corporate professionals willing to support social entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis. Before joining OSN, Nocentini worked in Business Development at McGraw-Hill and prior to that spent several years at Booz & Co developing strategies for media, consumer and social sector clients across Europe, the US and Middle East. Nocentini holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (NY, USA), a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino (Italy) and an Engineering Diploma from Ecole Centrale Paris (France).
European Editor, TechCrunch
Mike Butcher is a journalist, broadcaster and commentator. He is firstly editor of TechCrunch Europe, but has also co-founded TechHub.com and Coadec.com in Europe as ventures to support the tech startup eco-system. TechHub, founded initially in London, aims to bring European technology entrepreneurs and investors together in a club environment (@TechHub). A long time journalist, Butcher has written for UK national newspapers and magazines including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The New Statesman. He is a former editor of New Media Age, the UK’s leading new media weekly magazine, and the European edition of the magazine The Industry Standard. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Butcher has spoken at the prestigious Monaco Media Forum and Le Web, among many other conferences. He is a regular commentator on technology business, appearing on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 and Bloomberg.
VP Business Development, Corona Labs
Mohamed Hamedi co-founded Game Minion, which delivers a back-end service solution for mobile game developers. The venture rapidly grew from an initial prototype to become acquired by Corona Labs, the number one mobile development engine, within 14 months. Hamedi also co-founded Sphere Networks, which develops enterprise-networking solutions. Having raised funds from Dubai Silicon Oasis and Intel Capital, Sphere Networks grew to employ 30 people and was acquired by Accton Technology in June 2009.
Mohamed Yamama works on evangelizing the Windows Phone Platform in the Middle East and Africa. Yamama’s history with mobile development is not recent. He developed an application on Windows Mobile 6.5 during the Imagine Cup 2009 in Egypt that was awarded the “Best Windows Mobile Application” trophy by Steve Ballmer personally. Yamama holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo.
General Manager, ZRE
Mouhamad Yassin Rabah is CEO of ZRE s.a.l, an established real estate company known for its leadership in property development, sales and marketing, and is currently developing Beirut Digital District (BDD). With more than 14 years of experience in strategic development, consultancy, and senior management, Rabah constantly generates new business opportunities for ZRE and contributes to further strengthening the company’s leading position in property development. One of his latest achievements is the completion of The Platinum Tower, which he managed in all its details and which exceeded his clients’ expectations. Holding a Masters in Science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelors in Engineering with distinction from the American University of Beirut, Rabah is acknowledged for his leadership and professionalism by top businesses in the USA, Europe, and Lebanon. Throughout his career, he has developed and implemented turn-key strategic solutions in the transportation, aerospace, and construction industries, among others.
Designer, Wolff Olins
Moussa Beidas is a Designer at Wolff Olins, an international brand consultancy representing clients in all sectors. He has worked on brands including DeNA, Tata DOCOMO, Skype, Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Microsoft, Hero MotoCorp, i2, ALDAR, VOX Cinemas, Omran, Zayed National Museum, Qatar Museum Authority, and Emirates NBD. Beidas was previously a Graphic Designer at BMW and Senior Visualizer at BSB Advertising Group. His skills and experience cover user interface design and user experience, typography, brand development, digital strategy, visual communication, and experience and interaction design, among others. Beidas holds a Bachelors of Science in Graphic Design with an emphasis on print and publishing and an Associate Degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis on television, radio and film from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
CCO, Touch Lebanon
Nadim Khater is the Chief Commercial Officer at Touch, the leading Lebanese wireless operator and part of Zain group. Nadim has developed solid acumen in both the technical and commercial dimensions of the telecommunications industry having served as HR Director, IT Director and finally CCO. Before joining Zain Group in 2004, Nadim worked as a consultant at Accenture delivering projects for telecommunications companies in the Middle East region. Nadim’s passion lies in marketing and the value of customer-centric design that makes companies relevant and eventually profitable. He values simplicity, transparency, and results.
Arabic and Legibility Specialist, Monotype
Dr. Nadine Chahine is an award winning Lebanese type designer working as the Arabic Specialist at Linotype and Monotype. She studied Graphic Design at the American University of Beirut, has an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading, UK, and a PhD from Leiden University, The Netherlands. In 2005 she joined Linotype in Germany as the Arabic specialist and has been living there since. Chahine’s research focus is on legibility studies for the Arabic script. She has won an Award for Excellence in Type Design from the Type Directors Club in New York in 2008 and 2011. Her typefaces include: the best-selling Frutiger Arabic, Neue Helvetica Arabic, Univers Next Arabic, Palatino and Palatino Sans Arabic, Koufiya, and BigVesta Arabic. Chahine’s work has been featured in the 5th edition of Megg’s History of Graphic Design. In 2012, she was selected by Fast Company as one of its 100 Most Creative People in Business.
Nadine Moawad is a feminist organizer, blogger, and activist based in Beirut, Lebanon and a founder of Nasawiya. She started Take Back the Tech in 2010 with the objective of bringing feminist perspectives into the usage, understanding, and programming of technology. She also organizes an annual Girl Geek Camp for teenagers to encourage girls to pursue tech-related careers. Between 2009 and 2011, Nadine conducted research on internet regulation in Lebanon as part of a global initiative to look at the intersections of sexual rights and cyberspace. She conducts trainings and facilitates discussion groups on gender & sexuality, and is also active on women’s rights, migrant rights, and political change
Founder, Eses4 Ventures
Nidal heads Eses4, an investment holding company with international reach whose investments embody the current “Consciousness & Wisdom Revolution” to ensure laying the foundation for “Caring Capitalism”. Eses4 created the first co-working space in Jordan: Zee Launch Pad. Nidal also led regional and international groups in the past 25 years in the investment, banking and commercial sectors. In addition to his work in Eses4, he is currently a Board Member of Tikyet Um Ali, an NGO that focuses on alleviating hunger in Jordan, and is an Advisory Board Member at Global Thinkers Forum.
Chairman, Jordan Gaming Task Force
Nour Khrais is Founder and CEO of Maysalward and Chairman of the Jordan Gaming Task Force. Khrais has over 13 years of international experience in online and mobile value added services. Prior to forming Maysalward, he worked in a multicultural environment between VAS companies in Jordan, Dubai, Egypt, Qatar and France. In November 2003, with a glocalized vision, Khrais launched the first mobile game development operation in the Middle East, offering unique games targeting the Middle East, Europe and Latin American markets. Khrais holds a Masters in International Business, Global Marketing and Internationalization, a Diploma in Mobile Telecommunication and a BSc in Agriculture Engineering. His passion for games and mobile entertainment strengthened by his strong business vision and management experience and skills in mobile value added services guarantee the success and uniqueness of his products and services.
Omar Abou Ezzeddine
Deputy General Manager, Cleartag
Omar AbouEzzeddine is the Deputy General Manager at Cleartag where he is responsible for regional operations and business expansion throughout the Middle East. With a passion for innovative technologies and a belief in the power of strategic development in digital channels, Omar’s experience includes government contracting, security applications, artificial intelligence, online platform development, and digital strategy formulation and execution. Before joining Cleartag, Omar worked at Northrop Grumman in Washington DC where he was in charge of projects with the Department of Defense and the Department of Education. Omar also worked with Duos Technologies, an artificial intelligence security platform provider in Jacksonville, Florida and Abu Dhabi, UAE. Omar holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business as well as a Master’s of Science Degree from George Washington University.
Founder, CEO, Yala Music
When Patrick Chassany founded Yala Music in 2010, he was living in Morocco and indulging in his favorite sport: technology watching! A serial entrepreneur well-versed in digital trends, Chassany has been building Internet companies for over 12 years. He founded Amen.fr, a leading French web hosting company acquired by Vianetwork in 2004, and co-founded Fotolia.com, a disruptive photo market place. After selling his two companies, Chassany created Yala Music, the first online music service in the MENA. As CEO of Yala Music, Chassany sets the vision of the company and oversees its strategy. Chassany likes to go into the depths of things and has a taste for discovery. That’s why when he is not orchestrating Yala Music, he is mostly travelling the world extensively to connect with the Yala community, work with business partners or search for innovative ways to develop the company.
Marketing Senior HoD, Alfa Telecom
Raafat Mounla has been working in the mobile telecom industry for the last 18 years. Mounla worked with Cellis as Head of Radio and Optimization and Head of Portals. In 2004, he took charge of the Marketing Department after managing the rebranding project to launch as Alfa. In 2007, Mounla joined Booz and Company as a Lead Associate and delivered several projects for a regional mobile operator with more than 20 million subscribers. His projects involved 3G boost strategy, high value customer management, segmentation study, customer experience strategy, roaming strategy, fixed mobile convergence strategy, sales strategy, business and marketing plans, retail outlet optimization, content strategy, customer management organization, and customer retention strategy. He rejoined Alfa in September 2010 as Senior Head of the Marketing Department. Mounla holds an MBA from l’Ecole Supèrieure des Affaires (ESA) in Beirut and a Masters and Bachelors in Engineering from the University of Surrey, UK.
VAS Engineering HoD, Alfa Telecom
Rami Assoum received a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the Lebanese University in 1995 and a Masters of Science in Technology Management from University College of Dublin in 2005. He has been working in the field of mobile telecoms for 17 years, beginning with MTN West Africa, then Ericsson Ireland, and finally settling at Alfa in Lebanon in 2005. He has worked on different parts of the telecom value chain including: core networks, intelligent networks, value added services and business support systems. His experience covers the different disciplines in providing the final product to the end-users such as operation and maintenance (at MTN); support, verification, and design of intelligent network products (at Ericsson), and engineering and planning (at Alfa). He is now leading the VAS Engineering Department at Alfa and is responsible for the development, implementation, charging, and policy management of new services and bundles to the market.
Co-founder, Visualizing Palestine
Ramzi Jaber is Co-Founder of Visualizing Justice (www.visualizingjustice.org), an organization that specializes in data visualization and journalism, creating visual stories on social justice. A project of Visualizing Justice, Visualizing Palestine has been featured in the Huffington Post, Fast Company, and Al Jazeera, among others. With Global Voices, Jaber created onlinecensorship.org, a space where communities crowdsource instances of censorship enacted by private online platforms. In addition, Jaber is Co-Founder of Thaber, a technology startup that builds products revolving around behavioral economics An engineer by training, Jaber served as key organizer and curator of TEDxRamallah, an independently organized TED event showcasing inspirational stories of Palestine. In 2012, he was a Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. Jaber has been featured in Foreign Policy, Fast Company, Jazeera English, Open Democracy, and the Stanford Daily and has given talks at Google Mountain View and the TEDxSummit in Doha.
Interaction Designer, ART+COM
Razan Sadeq is an Interaction Designer who tinkers with pixels in physical space. Coming from a background in Computer Engineering, she creates playful tangible interactions with an emphasis on technology. She views technology not only as a tool, but as medium for human experiences that should utilized in a meaningful way. From urban and service design to art installations and wearable technology, Sadeq’s portfolio includes a broad spectrum of people-centered projects that aim to impact lives. In 2012, she received a Masters from Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, where she collaborated with designers from all over the world and gained further skills in human-centered research, physical prototyping, and visual design. Currently, she works for ART+COM, a Berlin-based design agency specializing in designing spaces with new media.
Director International Markets, Delivery Hero
Saeed Gouda is leading Delivery Hero’s International Operations. Established just a bit over two years, Delivery Hero has over 500 employees worldwide and has already raised 100 million USD. It is the market leader in 12 countries and is currently one of the largest global platforms for online food ordering with 30,000+ local restaurants in its network. Gouda has worked with top-notch European entrepreneurs and investors to build disruptive internet companies and roll them out internationally. Before Delivery Hero, he worked in Rebate Networks, an exclusive offers network that was present in 30 countries and had successful exits to Google and Living Social during his time. Gouda also has comprehensive telecom experience. He built Vodafone’s first mobile advertising platform in the MENA with reputable clients such as Pepsi and BMW.
Founder, Antoine Online
Sany Naufal is Co-founder of Cedar Books and an Executive for the Group and its subsidiaries. Naufal oversees the New York office and co-manages operations while leading business development. He created Antoine Online Services in 2004, which he sold to Cedar Books in 2007 as part of the company’s reorganization. Between 2004 and 2007, while President of Antoine International Holding, the investment arm of Librairie Antoine s.a.l., he set up the bookstore sections of Prime Megastore in Amman and Virgin Megastores at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai and Cairo City Stars. He started his career in advertising in Dubai with Euro-RSCG. He then moved to Paris to work with Interpublic Group before starting an Internet company there in 2000. Naufal holds a Masters in Finance from Paris-IX Dauphine University. He now lives in New York and is President of Books Without Borders, the North American operations of Cedar Books.
Business Head – E-commerce, Landmark Group
Savitar leads the Web Team for the $4.7 billion Landmark Group, covering all areas related to e-commerce, product strategy, product design, product engineering, product management and product marketing. The Web Team’s goal is to build and grow a new generation of digital products for the Group and its many businesses, all crafted with an obsessive focus on the user and customer experience. Key accomplishments include successfully launching LandmarkShops.com, the Group’s answer to online retail, delivering multi-lingual e-commerce for Citymax Hotels, re-designing and re-engineering 12 brand websites including Home Centre, Splash, Emax, Max, and Shukran amongst others and building a socially-networked Intranet for 4000+ Group employees. Before Landmark, Savitar built the Project and Content Management divisions for Cleartrip.com, one of India’s leading online travel agencies. Earlier, he drove the redesign of HDFC Securities’ online trading systems. Savitar earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems from Drake University in the USA.
Tamara Al Sheikh
User Experience Researcher, Google Inc.
Tamara Alsheikh is a User Experience researcher in the Emerging Markets team at Google. Tamara is currently based in Switzerland and has been working on various lab-based and field UX research projects to help shape Google products to better meet the needs of users around the world. Prior to Google, she has worked in various UK based research institutions such as Microsoft Research Cambridge, University College London (UCL) and Interaction Design Centre at Middlesex University focusing on value sensitive design related projects and understanding computer-mediated communication and collaboration with specific emphasis on Arab culture. Beside her specialization in UX research and consultancy, Tamara has a background in computer science and business administration from the American University in Cairo and UCL
Product Manager, Youtube, Google
Thabet Alfishawi is a Product Manager with Google and is responsible for Partner Services and Rights Management within YouTube. Alfishawi’s work focuses on how users and businesses manage and monetize their content on YouTube, an area that is at the intersection of technology, legal compliance and user experience. He is passionate about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Middle East and dedicates time to mentoring start-ups in the region, especially ones that focus on new media. Prior to joining Google, Alfishawi worked with Procter & Gamble, McKinsey & Co, EFG-Hermes and several tech start-ups in the Middle East.
Director, ePlanet Ventures
Tim Rea started his career in R&D with British Telecom, went on to found a technology company, then moved into the venture capital industry. His venture capital activities include a period at Softbank Europe Ventures, followed by a corporate venturing role at NEC. He is currently a Director at ePlanet Ventures, a global venture capital fund known for its investments in companies such as Baidu and Skype. Rea has been involved with many start-ups as an investor and an entrepreneur and currently serves on the boards of seven companies. He is interim CEO of Palringo, a UK-based provider of a mobile group messaging service. Founded in 2006, Palringo has built a mobile communication solution focused on multimedia group communications within user-created communities and has around 16 million users. Rea holds a B.Eng in Materials Science from the University of Sheffield, an MSc in Telecommunications from the University of London and an MBA from the London Business School.
Technology, Media and Telecom Reporter, The National
Triska Hamid is the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) reporter at The National, an English-language daily newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. Previously, she was at MEED, covering, IT, telecoms, capital markets and commodities as well as socio-economic issues in Iraq and Morocco. Hamid began her career as a headhunter in the TMT industry in London, before moving onto editing an Iraqi-based B2B technology magazine. She is an Iraqi-born Kurd, raised in London and currently residing in Dubai. She graduated from Oxford University with an MA Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies in 2008.
Windows Azure Technical Evangelist, MEA, Microsoft
Umit Sunar is a Windows Azure Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Middle East and Africa. Sunar focuses on working with MEA CSVs, startups, developers and influencers around Windows Azure and Cloud Computing, trying to increase the reach, adoption and impact of Microsoft Cloud in the region. Sunar received his first programming certificate at 13 and has worked with many development technologies for more than 12 years. He has been working with Cloud Computing for over 5 years now. During his professional career, he has worked as an architect and trusted advisor and has been involved in a wide variety of projects, ranging from security, ERP, CRM and real-time transactional systems. Sunar holds a Bachelors in Aeronautics Engineering from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey and has started an Executive MBA.
Marketing Manager, Patchi
Vera Hassan is Head of Marketing at Patchi Headquarters. Hassan has over 10 years of experience in brand communication development, marketing and corporate communications, public relations and events management. She has led Patchi’s marketing department for the past 6 years and has successfully accomplished the development of the brand’s current image and identity, introduced the brand into new countries such as Azerbaijan and the UK, amongst others, and expanded its business in the MENA. Prior to her current position, she was Corporate Manager at Integra SAL, from which she launched Al-Balad Newspaper, and Business Development Manager at Promo Seven. Hassan was elected as a Member of the Jury for the Mena Crystal Awards in 2009 and acted as a key advisor and speaker at the Arab Brand Summit in 2012.
Walid El Saadany
Commercial Manager, Otlob.com
Walid El Saadany is Commercial Manager of Otlob.com, the biggest online food ordering platform in the Middle East. His responsibilities include managing Otlob’s commercial operations across Egypt, UAE, KSA, Sudan and Bahrain, as well as increasing its market share, producing research, and strategically developing new lines of services in these different markets. El Saadany previously held leading roles in a number of online and e-commerce projects in the MENA, including leading the business of Yallabina.com, as well as several positions across LinkonLine’s portals portfolio such as Masrawy.com and Yallakora.com. With more than 7 years of experience in the MENA e-commerce scene, El Saadany has a deep understanding of users’ online ordering behavior and habits. His understanding of local buying behavior allows him to present insights about the future of e-commerce in the MENA. El Saadany holds a Sales and Marketing Diploma from the American University in Cairo and an MBA from the German University in Cairo.
Creative Director, Koein
Walid Wannous is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Koein. His mission is to inspire creative thinking among diverse talents. An expert in web technologies and UI/UX, Wannous works on marrying design, functionality and code efficiency. He has been a university instructor in digital design since 2005.
Executive Director, iPark
Dr. Wissam Rabadi is Executive Director of iPARK and is responsible for its incubation and investment programs. Prior to this, Dr. Rabadi held many positions including Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), Director of Research and Business Development at King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), and Co-Founder of the Zakroff Group, LLP, a Houston-based firm providing investment advice and international business development services to small and medium size US clients. Dr. Rabadi was the Strategic Business Development Manager at Texas Instruments Inc. where he was as a member of the Strategic Planning Group. His work there included new product development, commercialization of new technology, business development and venture investments. He was a Professor of Computer Engineering at the American University in Dubai (AUD), a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston and a Researcher at the Center for Research in Electro-Optics and Laser (CREOL) in Florida.
Partner, MakeSense Mediterranean Tour
Yomna Nassar is a senior Economics major at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She is currently a backpacker with the organization MakeSense. Given her role in the MakeSense Mediterranean Tour, Nassar dropped out of university for a semester to travel to 15 countries in the region and help solve the challenges of social entrepreneurs, drawing on her background in economic development and social entrepreneurship. Nassar’s interest in entrepreneurship is reflected in her impressive track record. She was Vice President of Substantive Affairs for Entrepreneurs’ Society in Egypt, where she led the team responsible for the organization and development of the mentorship processes through workshops and awareness events. Nassar also co-founded the first product innovation competition and online show at AUC called The Hit.
CEO, The Alleyway Group
Ziad Kamel is CEO and Co-Founder of ‘The Alleyway Group’ and has been Treasurer of the ‘Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Nightclubs and Pastries in Lebanon’ since 2010. Kamel began his career in Beirut in 2003 with Leo Burnet. In parallel, he organized events at Sursock Palace. In 2005, Kamel cofounded ‘The Alleyway Group’ and went on to launch and manage F&B concepts in Lebanon. Kamel’s first outlet was Gauche Caviar, which opened in Beirut in 2006. Following its success, the expansion of ‘The Alleyway’ was completed in 2009. Today, The Alleyway hosts the French bistro Couqley, the bar The Angry Monkey, and a tanning salon. In 2011, Kamel’s company launched the French café-bistro Amarres in Zaitunay Bay. Upcoming projects include developing a new concept for Gauche Caviar, expanding Couqley in Lebanon, and growing the brand portfolio across the Middle East. Kamel is a Judge and Mentor on MTV Lebanon’s entrepreneurial competition show Ideaz Prize.
Strategy and Development Director, Digital Media Solutions
Ziad Khammar’s passion for digital media was ignited in 1999, when he helped launch a friend’s e-commerce supermarket website. By the turn of the millennium, Khammar had been appointed as General Manager of “eworks” (Publicis’ dedicated digital agency), leading digital marketing initiatives for a host of world-class advertisers, including Nestle, British Airways and HP. In 2007, Khammar’s career became aligned with EMAP’s $24 million acquisition of “AME Info”, which would recruit him as the portal’s new General Manager and where he would engage in spearheading operations, overseeing editorial, sales, marketing and web development. By 2010, Khammar ventured out again to launch “Madison Digital”, an independent digital agency focused on delivering consultancy services. His 14+ years of intensive experience across the digital media arena led him to his current role within Choueiri Group, where he serves as Strategy and Development Director for the Group’s digital media arm “Digital Media Services (DMS)”.
Head of the Middle East & Central Asia, Qualcomm
Ziad Matar is currently Senior Director and Head of the Middle East and Central Asia region for Qualcomm. Matar joined Qualcomm in 2010 as Director of Business Development in the Middle East. Prior to that, Matar spent more than 10 years at Ericsson in numerous technology, marketing and sales positions across the Middle East and West Africa. Matar holds an MBA from Notre Dame University and a BE in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut. Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is a world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of wireless communications, connecting people more closely to information, entertainment and each other. Today, Qualcomm technologies are powering the convergence of mobile communications and consumer electronics, making wireless devices and services more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere.
Ziad Nassif is CEO of Exotica Group Holding. The Group was established in 1978 as a horticultural company involved in the ornamental and gifting sector. Over the years the brand has grown to become a leading provider of world-class flower and plant retail, online sales, events, nursery production and landscape contracting in the Middle East. Promoting green is a pillar of Exotica’s corporate mission and communication strategy. Nassif holds a Masters of Science from New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology and a Bachelor in Engineering from the American University of Beirut. Before joining Exotica, he held several executive management positions in diverse industries across North America, the Middle East and Africa, including Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline.
This is a preliminary agenda, please check back soon for updates.
|DESIGN+CODE DAY||TRACK 1 Hall A||TRACK 2 Hall B||TRACK 3 Hall C|
|09:30||TALKTalk by Alfa Telecom|
|09:45||TALKTalk by Razan Sadeq|
|11:30||WORKSHOPDeveloping for Windows 8||WORKSHOPDigital Arabic Typography [Linotype]||WORKSHOPResponsive Design|
|14:00||WORKSHOPDesigning Mobile Games with Corona SDK||WORKSHOPBranding for startups [Wolff Olins]||WORKSHOPUX Design [Google]|
|15:00||WORKSHOPDeveloping for iOS [Foo Solutions]||WORKSHOPDeveloping Augmented Reality Applications|
|16:30||WORKSHOPDeveloping for Windows Phone||WORKSHOPProduct Management [Google]|
|End of Day|
|FORUM DAYS||TRACK 1 Hall A||TRACK 2 Hall B|
|10:30||PANELThe Entrepreneurship Ecosystem – Measuring our progress|
|15:00||INTERVIEWMarket Tools & Insights||TALKState of Digital|
|15:15||INTERVIEWMinister of Telecom, Nicolas Sehnaoui||PANELOnline Food Delivery|
|15:45||TALKFRANCE 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya’s Impact in the Arab World|
|16:00||PANELMedia: from Print to Digital||PANELOnline Reservation|
|16:30||PANELFeed Me Content|
|End of Day|
|TRACK 1 Hall A||TRACK 2 Hall B|
|09:15||PANELEnabling Game Development|
|10:30||TALKStartup Opportunities in the Apps Economy||PANELResearch and Case Studies in Social Media|
|12:00||PANELDigital Innovation in Media and Advertising||PANELResearch and Case Studies in Social Media|
|12:45||COMPETITIONCreative Combat Competition||PANELCase Studies in E-retail|
|14:30||PANELSocial Entrepreneurship||WORKSHOPSocial Impact Workshops|
|16:00||PANELDigital Advocacy||WORKSHOPSocial Impact Workshops|
|End of Day|