ArabNet Kuwait 2017

Conference Agenda

This is a preliminary agenda, please check back soon for updates.

Forum Day 1 Investment & Innovation Forum 1 Hall A Investment & Innovation Forum 2 Hall A
09:00

 

Speakers

- H.E Khaled Nasser Abdullah Al-Roudan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs at

- Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO at ArabNet

Opening Ceremony
10:00

 

Coffee Break
10:45

The Kuwaiti market has witnessed a surge in institutions supporting innovation in the past 3 years, including new VC funds, co-working spaces, training and acceleration programs, as well as landmark acquisitions, like Talabat, Carriage, and JustClean. Kuwait has tremendous potential to develop a thriving innovation economy, with a robust national digital payment gateway, as well as internet, smartphone, and social media penetration rates all above 90%. However, there are still a number of challenges facing innovators in Kuwait - from funding to culture and skills. This panel brings together leaders who are working to build an innovation-driven economy in Kuwait to discuss the challenges and opportunities, as well as the role that the public and private sector can play in this vision.

Moderator

- Dana Mado, Founder and Marketing Strategist at Twentytwo11

Speakers

- Sheikha Al Zain Al Sabah, Undersecretary of the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs - Kuwait at

- Ahmad Alomani, Chairman at Markab Capital

- Firas AlOda, Director of Finance and Investment at Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS)

Opening Panel: Building An Innovation Ecosystem in Kuwait

- Venue: Hall A

11:25

 

Speakers

- Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO at ArabNet

- Salah AlFulaij, CEO at National Bank of Kuwait

CEO Series: National Bank of Kuwait

- Venue: Hall A

11:45

Speakers

- Athbi Alenezi, Co-Founder at Justclean

- Nouri Alenezi, Co-Founder at Justclean

- Rita Makhoul, Managing Editor at ArabNet

Acquisition Spotlight: Interview with JustClean

- Venue: Hall A

12:00

A series of back-to-back 2-minute pitches from entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have strong business potential.

Competition Ideathon Competition

- Venue: Hall A

12:20

A back-to-back 5-minute pitches that offers entrepreneurs with a digital product or service the opportunity to demonstrate its strong market potential and effective business model.

Competition Startup Battle Competition

- Venue: Hall A

13:00

 

Break Lunch
14:00

 

Speakers

- Andrew Hanna, Chief Commercial Officer at Kuwait Telecommunications Company (VIVA)

- Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO at ArabNet

Fireside Chat with VIVA

- Venue: Hall A

According to ArabNet’s Business Intelligence, more than $918M have been invested in regional digital startups in 2016 alone (~4x the total value of investments in 2015). MENA has witnessed a surge in interest from international growth capital, as well as an increase in M&A activities (highlighted by Amazon’s acquisition of Souq.com, and Rocket Internet’s acquisitions of Talabat and Carriage). There are also billions of dollars in VC funds currently being raised to invest in MENA startups over the next 5 years, with the announcement of Wamda’s $300-500M Fund, MEVP and AlAbbar’s $250M Fund and ST Ventures’ $500M fund. This panel will feature regional VCs discussing the influx of capital and its impact on the investment landscape, their strategies for maximizing ROI, the challenges and opportunities in fundraising and deal flow generation, and what it will take for MENA to generate more successes.

Moderator

- Prashant 'PK' Gulati, Founder of The SmartStart Fund at Founder of The Assembly

Speakers

- Fares Ghandour, Partner at Wamda Capital

- Omar Almajdouie, Founding Partner at Raed Ventures

- Waleed AlBallaa​, Partner at STVentures

- Youssef Hammad, Managing Partner at BECO Capital

Panel Understanding Regional VC: Strategies and ROI

- Venue: Hall B

14:20

 

Speakers

- Ammar Hamadien, Head of Strategic Engagement - MENA at GSMA

Talk State of Mobile by GSMA

- Venue: Hall A

 

14:40

According to Euromoney & AT Kearney estimates, the food retail market in the GCC will reach $106B in 2017. Meanwhile, digital companies have stepped in to revolutionize this space: through food delivery, grocery and ingredient delivery, restaurant management software, home-made food marketplaces, all the way to customer service bots and in-store interactive technologies. The most aggressive growth internationally and domestically has been in the food ordering and delivery space through acquisition sprees by Rocket Internet (acquired Talabat, Carriage, 24h.ae, Hungerstation) and side businesses entering the space (UberEats and Zomato Delivery). ArabNet Business Intelligence has identified more than 120 startups in the food services and delivery space across MENA. Kuwait’s Savour Ventures has embraced this market by launching the region’s first F&B accelerator. This panel hosts leaders in the F&B space to discuss the state of the market from their experience, the key opportunities, and technologies that they see will reshape the F&B experience in the region.

Moderator

- Rita Makhoul, Managing Editor at ArabNet

Speakers

- Ahmed Salamah, Co-Founder and CEO at BilBayt

- Khalil Shadid, Founder and CEO at ReserveOut

- Rashid Sultan, Founder and Managing Partner at Savour Ventures

- Zeid Husban, Founder and CEO at POSRocket

Panel Entrepreneurship in Foodtech

- Venue: Hall A

Moderator

- Aby Thomas, Editor in Chief at Entrepreneur Middle East

Speakers

- Malek Hammoud, Group Executive Director - Strategy & Business Development at Zain

- Susan Amat, Founder and CEO at Venture Hive

Panel Corporate Startup Innovation

- Venue: Hall B

15:10

 

The Kuwaiti startup ecosystem has witnessed a stellar year, with the acquisitions of JustClean by Fatih Capital, and Carriage by Rocket Internet for over ~$100M, highlighting the rapid growth of the market. 

The ecosystem is looking to sustain this growth through the launch of multiple new funds, including vertical accelerators like Savour, focused on F&B technology. However, much of the activity in the market is still very private - many of the investments are done privately (by family funds, angels) and not by institutional investors like VCs, and many are not announced publicly and remain below the radar. Meanwhile, the rapid success of Carriage (exit in ~14 months) has created hype and expectations for entrepreneurs that may not be reflective of the fundamental market dynamics. This panel gathers leading Kuwaiti investors to discuss the key strengths and challenges in the market, and the opportunities moving forward.

Moderator

- Lena Ramfelt, Co-Founder at Gear Up Ventures

Speakers

- Fawaz Alobaid, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Seeds Partners

- Mona Al Mukhaizeem, Managing Partner at Savour Ventures at Co-Founder at Sirdab Lab

Panel Kuwaiti Startup Ecosystem - Progress and Challenges

- Venue: Hall B

15:20

 

Speakers

- Michael Aswad, Senior Business Development Manager at ArabNet

- Nabil Borhanu, President and Managing Member at Graphene Ventures

Fireside Chat with Graphene Ventures

- Venue: Hall A

 

15:45

 

Coffee Break
16:15

Moderator

- Mona Al Mukhaizeem, Managing Partner at Savour Ventures at Co-Founder at Sirdab Lab

Speakers

- Karim Khorshed, Co-Founder and CEO at Cequens

- Sahar Salama, Founder and CEO at TPAY mobile

Panel Startup Growth by Acquisition

- Venue: Hall A

16:45

According to ArabNet Business Intelligence, only 5% of total investments made in 2016 were over $7M in value, and only 9% of MENA’s equity investors provide growth stage investment. Growth capital is critical for startups to scale - allowing them to invest further in product development, new market expansion and team growth - especially as competition increases from traditional businesses moving online and international players attracted to the MENA market opportunity. As companies expand to new markets, expanding their human capital and retaining it becomes critical to success and investor returns. This panel host regional startups that have successfully raised growth capital to talk about the keys to closing big ticket rounds, attracting interest from international investors, and growing their teams

Moderator

- Rashid Sultan, Founder and Managing Partner at Savour Ventures

Speakers

- Carlos Tibi, Founder and CEO at Icflix

- Eric van Biesen, Chief Financial Officer at PayTabs

- Geet Bhalla, ​Co-Founder and CEO at HolidayMe

- Idriss Al Rifai, Founder and CEO at Fetchr

Panel Startup Growth: Raising Money & Growing Teams

- Venue: Hall A

End of Day
Digital Commerce Forum Hall A Adtech Forum Hall B
10:00

Global funding to fintech companies reached $2.4B in Q3 of 2016 according to CBInsights and KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report. While, TechCrunch lists over 20 fintech unicorns (valued > $1B) globally, providing a variety of services from payments (Stripe) to peer-to-peer lending (Prosper), and from transfers / remittances (Transferwise) to SME financing (Kabbage). Against this backdrop, banks and financial institutions are carefully considering their strategies when it comes to fintech startups, and experimenting with launching fintech accelerators, investing in startups directly, or partnering with them through JVs or revenue sharing and distribution agreements. This panel highlights the hottest global trends in fintech, what the next billion-dollar fintech businesses will be, and the strategies that banks and financial institutes can pursue to stay ahead of the curve.

Moderator

- Ammar Hamadien, Head of Strategic Engagement - MENA at GSMA

Speakers

- Hadi Raad, Regional Head of Digital Solutions - Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Visa

- Mohammad Al-Rashidi, Executive Chairman at One Global

- Tareq Al Saleh, Assistant General Manager for Investments at Gulf Bank

- Walid Hanna, Founder and Managing Partner at Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)

Panel Fintech - New Trends and Innovation

- Venue: Hall A

 

Speakers

- Hussein Freijeh, Managing Director - MENA at Snap Inc.

- Rita Makhoul, Managing Editor at ArabNet

Fireside Chat: Snapchat

- Venue: Hall B

10:25

 

Speakers

- Benjamin Ampen, Head of Revenue - MENA at Twitter

Twitter is what's happening - The next level of engagement by Twitter

- Venue: Hall B

10:45

 

Speakers

- Farshad Dabeshkhoy, Commercial Director, Middle East at Criteo

Keynote The Vibrant Future of Commerce Marketing by Criteo​

- Venue: Hall B

11:00

 

Speakers

- Fadi Ghandour, ‎Executive Chairman of Wamda Group at Founder of Aramex

- Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO at ArabNet

Fireside Chat with Wamda Group CEO

- Venue: Hall A

 

11:15

 

Coffee Break
11:45

Moderator

- Matthew Gardiner, Founder at Catch London

Speakers

- Mohamed El Shareef, Chief Strategic Planning Officer at Warba Bank

- Omar Yassine, Senior Vice President, Head of Retail Digital Channels at The National Commercial Bank

- Tareq Muhmood, Senior Deputy CEO- Banking Group at Ahli United Bank, Kuwait

Panel Digital Banking and Innovation

- Venue: Hall A

Globally there are over 3 billion social accounts across instagram, facebook, snapchat and twitter (not accounting for chat platforms and asian social networks like WeChat). Meanwhile, social media penetration in Kuwait is at 96% (one of the highest globally), and leading the MENA region on platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. Even before the platforms launched their advertising solutions in MENA, Snaphcat and Instagram were key sales channels for micro-businesses and big brands alike, and drove sales through influencer referrals, customer service and actual product sales. Brands are increasingly integrating eCommerce into their social strategies and engaging with existing eCommerce players (Unilever and Nike selling through Souq.com). This panel discusses the new role of social channels in driving sales, how consumers are engaging with social commerce and the key opportunities in the space.

Moderator

- Dr. Samar M. Baqer, Faculty member in the College of Business Administration at Kuwait University

Speakers

- Mijbel Alayoub, Director - Coorporate Communication at Ooredoo

- Mohammed Soueidan, Vice General Manager at Omedia

- Musaed Al-Mutairi, Brand Executive at

- Said Ouchnak, E-commerce Director at Sayidaty Mall

Panel Social Commerce; Leveraging Social Media as a Sales Channel

- Venue: Hall B

12:25

 

Speakers

- Matthew Gardiner, Founder at Catch London

Keynote FinTech trends in MENA and the wider world by Catch London

- Venue: Hall A

 

Speakers

- Neil Hardwick, CEO at MEC MENA

- Omar Christidis, Founder and CEO at ArabNet

CEO Series: MEC MENA

- Venue: Hall B

12:45

 

Users today have more available content on more channels and more screens than ever, so capturing attention with the right kind of content has become the key to success. Content marketing is on the rise (expected to reach $2.3B in Europe by 2020), creating even more competition for user attention and retention. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s success with instant / disappearing / ephemeral content has triggered this to spread across other channels, most importantly Facebook’s ecosystem including Instagram and Whatsapp. Mobile video content is one of the hottest trends this year: it is on the minds of brands, agencies and publishers alike as they determine their strategies around ephemeral (disappearing) stories, live streaming, and branded content. Marketers are experimenting with vertical video, and trying to optimize the creation of short, low-cost video content at high frequencies. This panel discusses case studies and best practices for content, explores the new formats and mediums.

Moderator

- Rita Makhoul, Managing Editor at ArabNet

Speakers

- Akash Pandya, Senior Manager - Digital at Zenith

- Eyad Zarea, META Media Director at Mars

- Inass Abdulaziz, CEO at DotSpace Group

- Julien Cavailles, Sales Director - Middle East and Africa at Buzzeff

Panel Best Practices for Winning Online Content - Exploring New Mediums and Formats

- Venue: Hall B

13:15

 

Break Lunch
14:15

 

Speakers

- Abdulla Al-Ajmi, CEO at The Shared Electronic Banking KNET

Keynote State of Payment and e-Commerce in Kuwait by KNET

- Venue: Hall A

Direct traffic to Buzzfeed’s website and apps today represents only 23% of it’s content views, with the rest aggregated across other distribution platforms. Publishers today are increasingly counting content views (across channels) instead of page views, a model that asserts that content as king and that distribution is key. With the proliferation of channels in the content space, it’s important for publishers to identify the ideal distribution mix for their content between social, advertorial, content networks, mobile and an array of potential hosts of their content, as well as how to best adapt their content to maximize interaction and conversion. This panel gathers leading media professionals to discuss their best practices for content distribution, and insights on consumer behavior and adoption.

Moderator

- Marwan Farah, IAA Board Member at

Speakers

- Dana Al Hanbali, Managing Partner at Beattie + Dane

- Nour Al Masri, Regional Digital Media Director at Sayidaty Magazine

Panel Driving Traffic and Distribution

- Venue: Hall B

14:35

Moderator

- Khalid Al-Zanki, Founder & CEO at LAUNCH

Speakers

- Abdulwahab Alessa, Co-Founder at Boutiqaat

- Ali Alqenai, Founder at Cavaraty

- Dhari AlAbdulhadi, Co-Founder and CTO at Ubuy.com

Panel From Kuwait to the World: Opportunities and Threats for Independent E-commerce

- Venue: Hall A

 

14:45

 

 

Speakers

- Ian Manning, Regional Head of Agencies - MENA and Pakistan at Facebook and Instagram

Keynote Instagram; Visual expression, Visible Action by Instagram

- Venue: Hall B

15:05

 

With the increase in digital touch points between consumers and brands across social, mobile and online platforms, optimization in targeting and personalization have become critical for advertisers to achieve their goals. Some of the key challenges currently facing the advertising space include attribution of ad conversions, unified metrics for views across platforms, and brand safety. Meanwhile advertisers are pushing for more forms of advertising (e.g. within messengers), and more data collection and analysis about the audience. This panel highlights the latest challenges that advertisers face within today’s online landscape and how technologies can help resolve them, as well as the best practices in attribution and the opportunities that new forms of advertising are opening up for brands.

Moderator

- Iqbal Al Haddad, Vice President at IAA at Professor at American University of Kuwait

Speakers

- Nader Bitar, Senior Director at MenaMarketPlace

- Nael Halabi, Executive Vice President, Kuwait at Publicis Media

- Ziad Azzam, Sales Director at DMS

Panel New Technologies and Trends in Advertising

- Venue: Hall B

15:15

 

Speakers

- Abdullah Al Mutawa, Co-Founder and CEO at Carriage

- Rita Makhoul, Managing Editor at ArabNet

Acquisition Spotlight: Interview w/ Carriage

- Venue: Hall A

 

15:45

 

Coffee Break
16:15

Driven by a generation of connected youth, high mobile penetration and shifting consumers habits, the on-demand services economy is booming across the world, and is expected to reach $57B in value in the USA in 2017, according to BIA / Kelsey research. The Middle East is no exception, and on demand businesses have attracted the interest of some of the region’s biggest investors, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund investing $3.5B into Uber, and Careem raising $500M in it’s last round. The demand for car-hailing, talent marketplaces, food-delivery and other services is evident in the increasing number of players in the space and the active acquisitions that are occurring (Careem acquired Savaree, Taxiii & Enwani; Rocket Internet acquired 24h.ae, Carriage & Talabat). This panel hosts some of MENA’s hottest on-demand leaders to talk about the challenges of building marketplaces, educating consumers, and growing across borders.

Moderator

- Khalid Al-Zanki, Founder & CEO at LAUNCH

Speakers

- Karl Naim, Co-Founder and CEO at ChefXchange

- Kunal Kapoor, CEO at ​​The Luxury Closet

Panel Panel: Marketplaces and the On-Demand Economy

- Venue: Hall A

17:00

 

Awards and Closing Ceremony

- Venue: Hall A

End of Day