Speakers

Bringing Together the Who’s Who of Digital!

The ArabNet Digital Summit 2017 brings you the “behind-the-scene” initiators of change from across the world.
Over 80 speakers will join us this year as we pave the way for the latest in digital.

Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr Director General, Smart Dubai Office

H.E Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr is the Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, the government entity charged with overseeing Dubai’s citywide smart transformation, engaging with leadership in the public and private sector to make Dubai a global benchmark smart city. Prior to that, Dr. Aisha worked as Assistant Director General of the Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. The Executive Office role is to implement the vision of HH (to make Dubai #1 globally) as well as to be the source of the best futuristic initiatives. Part of her role was leading the Smart Dubai task force team from the time of the announcement of the Smart Dubai initiative in March 2014, to the formation of the Smart Dubai Office.

Twitter:@Aisha_BinBishr
His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi Chief Executive Officer, Dubai SME

Abdul Baset Al Janahi is the CEO of Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai mandated to promote the small and medium enterprise sector. In his current role, Al Janahi has been contributing significantly to developing and maintaining an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai and mobilising government and private sector support to help young and aspiring entrepreneurs in the UAE grow into successful business leaders. Today, under his leadership, more than 13,000 entrepreneurs have been assisted. Prior to starting Dubai SME, Al Janahi was a founding member in a number of leading organisations and transformational initiatives in Dubai, including the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Internet city and Aswaq. Currently Al Janahi is also the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SME, a member of Board of Directors of Tejuri.com (LLC), and a member of UAE Genetic Diseases Association. Al Janahi is a graduate in Business Administration; He has also completed executive programmes in management, entrepreneurship, and public finance from the Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School, Georgetown University, National University of Singapore and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Management

Twitter:@abasetaljanahi
Younus Al Nasser Assistant Director General, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Data Establishment

Younus Al Nasser is the Assistant Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, guiding Dubai’s citywide effort to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city by 2017. Younus Al Nasser is also the CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, part of the Smart Dubai Office, charged with overseeing the implement of the Dubai Data Initiative, the most ambitious data initiative globally, and fostering a culture of data sharing in Dubai. Prior to that, he was a Director of Projects and Security Systems in Dubai Electronic Security Centre Implementing Agile and Lean Methodologies in Project Management and member of Dubai Open Data Committee which was formed in November 2014 with a Decree from H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum to deliver Dubai Data Strategy, Dubai Data Road Map and Dubai Data Law.

Aaron Oliver Head of Digital Commerce - Middle East and Africa Lead, Mastercard

Aaron Oliver is responsible for the development and execution of MasterCard’s regional Digital Commerce commercial strategy in order to create a new web-based economy and business model. He manages the strategic and commercial relationships driving Digital Commerce in the MEA region along with other regional and global stakeholders to ensure effective execution and development of the commercial strategy. Aaron has over 10 years of experience in the payment solutions and services industry across the Asia Pacific and the MEA region.

Twitter:@aaronHSL
Abdul Haseeb Basit Chief Financial Officer, Innovate Finance

Abdul is the CFO of Innovate Finance. He works with a number of Innovate Finance strategic partners to deliver the core objectives of the organisation. Prior to working at Innovate Finance, Abdul worked in wealth management strategy and change management roles at Credit Suisse. He is a qualified management accountant and has an MBA (with distinction) from Imperial College Business School. Abdul is well versed in Islamic Finance and has a keen interest in supporting the potential for FinTech to drive the Islamic Finance sector forward."

Twitter:@abdulhbasit
Abdulrahman Tarabzouni Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, STVentures

Twitter:@aitmit
Abdulrazzaq AlMutawa Chief Executive Officer and General Manger, Ghaliah

Abdulrazag Al Mutawa is Founder & General Manager of Ghaliah, the leading Social Media Agency in Kuwait & the GCC. Al Mutawa opted to divert marketing from its typical offline focus & shifted the direction online, to Social Media. Ghaliah currently functions in four different countries in the region with its Headquarters based in Kuwait, focusing on the core functions of Social Media and online advertising.

Aby Thomas Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East, a business magazine catering to the region's entrepreneurs and business-minded readership. In this role, Aby writes and edits for Entrepreneur Middle East's monthly print publication, and website, www.entrepreneur.com/me. He is especially interested in stories on startups and the people behind them. Prior to media, Aby was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London and New York.

Ahmad Bashour Managing Director, ITP Live

Twitter:@bashour7
Ajlan Gun Vice President of Digital Commerce, Al Tayer Group

As Vice President of Digital Commerce, Ajlan is in charge of Digital Commerce division within Al Tayer Retail. In his current role, Ajlan leverages his consulting background with his international and multidimensional retail experience to incubate digital businesses and capabilities to bring Al Tayer Digital portfolio online. He has been with the Group since 2015. Prior to joining Al Tayer Group, Ajlan has worked with Accenture (multinational management consulting services company) as Senior Manager in Digital Strategy and served in several countries including Turkey, Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and UAE over 10 years. He has extensive experience in Digital, Fashion, Retail and worked with global clients across these countries.

Alexandra Tohme Head of Strategy, Eight Creative Technology

Twitter:@alextohme
Alpesh Doshi Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fintricity

Alpesh Doshi is a globally renowned thought leader in how organisations can transform and future-proof their business using emerging technologies, particularly around digital, big data & analytics, and blockchain. He is focused on innovative thinking and practical strategies to add value for his clients fast and often, introducing the agile approach of working to digital transformation.

Twitter:@alpeshdoshi
Amad Almsaodi Chief Executive Officer, Aqarmap.com

Amad Almsaodi is the CEO of Aqarmap.com, a company that started in Yemen and is now the leading Real Estate portal in Egypt & Saudi Arabia. In 2016, more than 17,000 properties were sold via Aqarmap worth more than 550 Million USD. Prior to Aqarmap, Almsaodi was the Project Manager for eBusiness at Boeing. Aqarmap has won several awards from Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdallah Al Saud, Forbes Magazine, and the World Economic Forum.

Twitter:@almsaodi
Amir Farha Co-founder and Managing Partner, BECO Capital

Twitter:@afarha
Ankush Chibber Managing Editor, Inc. Arabia

Ankush Chibber is the managing editor of Inc. Arabia, the magazine for emerging businesses in the Middle East and North Africa. Formerly the editor of Gulf Business magazine in Dubai, and Entrepreneur magazine in India, Ankush has covered technology, entrepreneurship, financial services, pharma, and infrastructure in South Asia and the Middle East for over 13 years now.

Twitter:@ankushatwork
Ashraf Zeitoon Chief Executive Officer - Dubia, Smaat

Ashraf Zeitoon is the Chief Executive Officer of Smaat Dubai, A leading full-service, digital media and digital marketing company. As the Chief Executive Officer, Ashraf leads Smaat's expansion in the United Arab Emirates and strategic engagement with key clients regionally and globally. Ashraf has more than 18 years’ experience in Strategic Communications, Public Affairs and Digital Communications having worked with leading Global and Regional Corporations in the Middle East. Prior to Joining Smaat, Ashraf was the Former Head of Public Policy for Middle East & North Africa at Facebook. During his tenure with Facebook, he led the company’s public policy work in the region on a broad portfolio of issues including Government Relations, Freedom of Expression Online, Privacy, Data Protection, Online child safety, Regulatory Affairs, Social Media for Social good and Government and Civil Society use of Social Media for Engagement. Before joining Facebook in the summer of 2014, Ashraf worked in senior positions in Public Affairs and Communications with leading corporations in the Middle East and North Africa, including Aramex and Arabtec Holding. Ashraf held senior positions with the Governments of Jordan and Emirate of Dubai in several capacities including Special Aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Assistant Director of Government performance Directorate at the Prime Ministry of Jordan, and Director of Special Projects at the Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Ashraf is a former associate of the Dubai Initiative at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his writing has been published in the Financial Times and Foreignpolicy.com. He holds a B.A. in Political Science & English Literature from Yarmouk University in Jordan.

Twitter:@ashrafzeitoon
Benjamin Masse Managing Director - UK, Triton Digital

Benjamin Masse is a recognized programmatic advertising technology and interactive applications pioneer with more than 15 years of experience. Over this period, Benjamin has established synergies between business stakeholders and software development teams, delivering consistently innovative products. As Managing Director, Market Development and Strategy at Triton Digital, Benjamin spearheads market development and identifies strategic partnerships across the globe, working to enhance and grow Triton’s international footprint. He also contributes to product strategy, prioritizing the roadmap according to market needs and requirements, both from the supply and demand-side.

Twitter:@benjaminmasse
C.V Suvi Managing Director, Content - Middle East, Publicis Media

Chris Adelsbach Managing Director, Techstars

Chris is a London-based entrepreneur, FinTech investor, advisor, and mentor. He is a Managing Director at Techstars, a global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. Chris has been an active private investor, focusing primarily on disruptive FinTech companies. He is a seed investor in Atom Bank, the UK's original "mobile first" bank; Post Quantum, a next-generation cyber security company; Everledger, a blockchain company; Seldon, an open A.I. platform; and Cuvva, an insurance-tech company, to name a few. He is also on the board of advisors of Railsbank.

Twitter:@ChrisAdelsbach
Chris Free General Manager - UAE and Qatar, Uber

Christos Mastoras Founder and Managing Partner, Iliad Partners

Christos is the Founder of Iliad Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage tech startups in MENA. He is a digital executive, tech entrepreneur and venture investor with experience in the US, Europe and MENA. Previously, he was the Head of Business Development of Yahoo Maktoob, and a management consultant with Booz & Company. He is co-founder and Board Member of GlamBox.ME, and is on the Advisory Boards of Eventtus and Magnitt. Christos holds an MBA from MIT and is an active alum.

Twitter:@cmastoras
Craig Moore Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Beehive

As Founder and CEO, Craig is responsible for overseeing the overall strategic direction and managing the day-to-day operations of Beehive. Before founding Beehive, Craig was a Founder & COO of Butterfly Software, a data analytics and migration software company acquired by IBM in September 2012. Prior to Butterfly his experience includes various sales, consulting and finance roles at numerous multinational companies such as Dell, EMC, Hitachi and HSBC with an emphasis on shaping effective go to market and value propositions.

Twitter:@Craig_Moore_uae
Crystal Worthem Marketing Director - Middle East and Africa, Ford

Worthem joined Ford in 1999. She led brand integrations on American Idol, Need for Speed, and the highly successful Effie award-winning Fiesta Movement and Escape Routes marketing campaigns. Recently recognised as a Young History Maker, Top 40 Under 40, and Marketer of the Year by various publications, Worthem has also received numerous awards for her efforts, namely eX-Award for the Ford Experience Tour, Warriors In Pink, Focus Rally, and the Global Marketing Excellence Award.

Twitter:@crystalworthem
Dan Hu General Manager - Middle East and Africa, Alibaba Cloud

Dan Hu, as the first Alibaba employee in Middle East and Africa region, set up Alibaba Dubai office and is responsible for the the business development and operation of Alibaba Cloud in the region. Prior to that, he worked as sales director in Huawei Middle East.

Twitter:@alibaba_cloud
Dana Adhami ‎Head of MENA, Maker Studios

Dynamic and diligent digital media professional with over 12 years of experience leading up teams and driving business. Digital specialist recognized for developing and executing various platforms of innovation in content, digital partnerships and social media. Strategic thinker and business developer focusing on driving business growth and product development with a focus on profitability.

Twitter:@DanaAdhami
Dani Afiouni Regional Director of Consumer Engagement & Media - MENA, PepsiCo

Dani is a 15 year Marketing & Advertising industry veteran, a mountaineer, adventurer, marathoner and team member of the record breaking group that ran 7 Marathons across 7 Continents in 11 days, on top of North Pole Marathon. Dani’s advertising journey included various assignments in leading Media & Communications agencies, last being OMD MENA, before moving to PepsiCo. in 2012 to lead and develop the organization’s Media agenda in Middle East & Africa. Dani currently heads the Consumer Engagement & Media department at PepsiCo. which overlooks all Digital, Content Marketing and Media for the Foods & Beverages portfolio at PepsiCo. Middle East & North Africa. Effective April 2017, Dani is also the regional marketing lead on the Non Carbonated Beverages sub-category at PepsiCo MENA.

Twitter:@dani_afiouni
Daniel Merege Founder, CityTech

Daniel is CEO and Founder of CityTech. He holds a degree in Information Systems and a Master's Degree in Computer Engineering from the University of São Paulo (USP), and studied Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Stanford University. He worked for 7 years in the Brazilian financial market and managed a start-up in the field of Collaborative Marketing. In 2014, Daniel traveled through 13 countries and 60 cities studying the development of Smart Cities in countries such as Australia, India, Lebanon and Spain. In 2016, he founded CityTech, a company dedicated to technological projects oriented to urban development and innovation.

Danish Farhan Chief Executive Officer, Xische & Co

Danish is an investor, strategist, entrepreneur, sailor and father. He is the founder of hybrid advisory boutique Xische & Co. in Dubai, New York & Kuala Lumpur. Danish is a proud Dubai-an who is evangelical about entrepreneurship, culture and anti-disciplinary thinking. He is a strategic advisor to the Government of Dubai, co- author of Dubai's Happiness Agenda, HULT Prize jury member, serves on Cities by Design Council, founding fellow of World Happiness Summit and mentor at 1776.

Twitter:@danishfarhan
Danny Abla Founder, Rider Technologies

Danny is very passionate about using technology to solve daily-life problems. He is an avid student of growth, constantly experimenting with new channels to provide value for users. In 2014 Danny founded Rider Technologies. Rider has went on to launch Uber’s first fleet in KSA, developed a turn-key car rental platform. Currently Rider is working with W MOTORS and ICONIQ MOTORS on reimagining urban mobility from the lens of the passenger rather than the driver. Trivia: Danny has not missed a formula 1 race since 1994

Twitter:@Dyablo666
Dany Farha Co-Founder and CEO, BECO Capital

Dany is the Co-founder and CEO at BECO Capital, a Venture Capital firm that provides early stage growth capital and hands-on operational support for technology companies in the MENA region with a focus on the GCC. BECO Capital has been associated with some of the most successful technology venture capital transactions in the region. The Firm is a hands-on partner that assists its portfolio companies through growth finance and operational support. Its team brings a rich and diverse experience in venture capital, technology, entrepreneurship and finance, triggering value creation across all the business and operational functions of portfolio companies. This includes helping them to expand to new markets across the GCC, acquire key talent, implement operational improvements, adopt corporate governance practices and raise further growth capital. Leading these efforts is Dany Farha, with his 20 year track record in the region as a successful serial entrepreneur and investor. Prior to founding BECO Capital, Dany co-founded and exited Bayt.com, the Middle East’s largest job site; Butlers, the UAE’s largest commercial laundry company and Intercat, one of the largest catering companies in the UAE. He was also 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 board of the Propertyfinder Group and several other portfolio companies. Dany has graduated from UCL in London in Management Sciences and finance.

Twitter:@danyfarha
Daria Solovieva Founder and Editor In Chief, ella Media

Daria Solovieva is a Russian-American business journalist, women’s advocate and entrepreneur who is the founder of ella, a newsletter for women in the Middle East. Daria founded Ella Media in 2016 to offer professional women in MENA biweekly summaries of top news stories, inspiring profiles of female leaders as well as invites to networking events. Daria has written for leading publications around the world, including The Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Fast Company, USA Today, International Business Times and Bloomberg News in Dubai.

Twitter:@dariasolo
Darren Taylor Chief Design Officer, CLEARLY

With over 15 years within financial services, Darren is a seasoned design thinker and problem solver, combining digital capability with human-centered design to transform customer experience. Previously, Darren led digital innovation at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank where he built their innovation lab and ran teams of UX designers and developers on new digital products, and was a VP at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management within Strategy and Execution where he led the highest priority projects within the EMEA COO office, including the historically significant client transition to Julius Baer.

David Gilford Senior Director, Intersection

David Gilford leads the Connected Communities practice at Intersection, a technology firm formed by Sidewalk Labs and Alphabet to improve life in urban environments. David helps real estate developers and cities create efficiencies, unlock new revenue sources, and deliver unique experiences. Prior to Intersection, David was Vice President for Urban Innovation & Sustainability at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. David holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Twitter:@dgilford
Dmitry Galperin Principal, Runa Capital

Dmitry is a Principal at Runa and helps lead the firm's European investing, focusing on a variety of areas of software including machine intelligence and VR. Dmitry currently sits on the board of Wallarm. He joined Runa in January 2011 and was previously Strategy Director at Rambler Internet Holdings, focusing on business reorganization and marketing. He holds an MS and PhD in Physics from Moscow State University.

Twitter:@dgalperin
Ehab Alshurafa Managing Partner and Chief Business Officer, ​​ArabiaWeather

Ehab Alshurafa is an ICT executive with over 17 years of experience providing thought leadership and differentiated solutions to internal and external clients. In 2015, he joined ArabiaWeather as the Senior Vice President - Enterprise Solutions. He established the Dubai office, and officially launched ArabiaWeather’s Enterprise business, which has since experienced significant growth. Prior to that, Ehab led the Cloud, IoT, M2M and Big Data practice at TELUS, Canada’s leading telco and ICT provider. He has extensive experience in Business Development, Management Consulting, and Solution Development.

Elie Nasr Co-founder and Managing Partner, FOO

Fadi Ghosn Chief Marketing Officer - Middle East, Nissan

Ghosn has more than 24 years of experience in sales & marketing. He previously held senior positions with Ford & General Motors in the Middle East and Detroit. Ghosn began his career in 1991 with Saatchi & Saatchi, Saudi Arabia, managing Procter & Gamble brands across the Middle East and North Africa. Ghosn holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Ecole Des Hautes Etudes Commerciales. He is married and has two children.

Faisal Khan Banking & Payments Consultant + FinTech Scout for VCs/PE,

Faisal Khan is a banking / payments consultant specializing in cross-border payment system and a digital money evangelist. He is the co-host of Around the Coin, a weekly podcast on banking, money and payments. Mr. Khan is an advisor to Hippocorn (a VC company out of Denmark) as well as a talent scout for Series A & B financing for various fintech VCs/funds. He is also a frequent contributor to popular Q&A site Quora. His official website is at www.faisalkhan.com.

Twitter:@babushka99
Geet Bhalla ​Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, HolidayMe

Geet Bhalla is the Co-Founder and CEO of HolidayMe, a Dubai-based online travel portal which offers on-the-fly customisation of holiday packages. Geet has a background in finance and banking technology with over 15 years of experience in building enterprise sales and marketing structures across the Middle East. He has completed his Master’s in Business Administration from Symbiosis University, Pune and has worked with large Multinationals throughout his career and has established excelled business connection in the Middle East business world.

Hani Saif Chief Information Officer, United Electronics Co. – eXtra

Hani Said is the Chief Information Officer to the leader consumer electronics retailer in KSA with 20 years of experience in Technology and Omni Channel Retail. He is also a member of the Global Oracle Usability Advisory Board (OUAB), and has a successful track record in building and managing ICT solutions, infrastructure and E-Commerce platform. For the last 13 years, Hani has built eXtra – a $1 billion ecosystem technology platform.

Twitter:@Hanisaif
Heather Sharp Director - Economics, KPMG

Idriss Al Rifai Founder and CEO, Fetchr

Idriss has developed and optimized a last mile delivery solution specifically for the e-commerce needs and requirements in the Middle East. In 2013, Idriss founded Fetchr, formerly MENA360, which has evolved to become a full end-to-end logistic solution, backed by technology, for e-commerce companies, regional players, social media sellers as well as SMBs in the MENA region. Fetchr is also the first company in MENA to raise $11M in Series A funding, led by a top Silicon Valley VC, New Enterprise Associates.

Twitter:@Idriss_alrifai
Imad Sarrouf Commercial and Technology Director, DMS

Imad is a seasoned digital media and marketing expert with over eleven years of experience in the MENA region. He has been directing the development and application of digital media since the early days of the Internet, with a career centered on digital media planning and buying, ad technology and product formation. His role at DMS is focused on developing and reinforcing the company's vision, values and commercial policies, while aligning the latest digital media and advertising solutions with the needs of leading brands and industry trends.

Twitter:@Digitful
Issa Aghabi Investment Officer, IFC World Bank

Issa's career has been in the finance and investments industry for 13+ years with focus on Venture Capital in the wider TMT space. Issa has successfully closed over 45+ investment deals (from $100K to $10M per transaction), managed over $100m in MENA Venture funds and served as a BOD member for a number of companies, providing commercial and business strategies, along with general operational, financial, and strategic support. In 2015, he led the exit of twofour54's largest two investments. Issa currently runs IFC MENA direct and indirect Venture Capital activities.

Twitter:@iaghabi
James Welch Founder and Digital Acceleration Consultant, Orchestra Middle East

James engages with marketing stakeholders - both internally and externally - to ensure that digital data is collected, analysed and monetized. Some call it transformation; others call it acceleration. Then it becomes business as usual - always adapting, changing; keeping agile. James arrived in Dubai in 2014 from Singapore where he ran the MIG, a WPP-owned programmatic trading desk, part of 247Media. James is vice chairman of The Marketing Society Middle East and a co-founder of NextMoneyDXB.

Twitter:@hear2listen
Jayash Patel Head of Liv, Emirates NBD

Jayash Patel was born in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois – Urban Champaign. Jayash is currently the Head of Liv., banking proposition for millennials at Emirates NBD, and previously headed Retail Banking strategy for 3 years at Emirates NBD. Jayash has had strong regional experience working for DIFC Investment and Ooredo in Qatar. Prior to that Jayash was management consultant in the US and spent 4 years advising on innovation and consumer retail across industries with IBM, and Deloitte.

Jeff Lynn Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Seedrs

Jeff Lynn is CEO and co-founder of Seedrs, one of the world's largest equity crowdfunding platforms. Seedrs has seen over £210 million invested through its platform, and has funded nearly 500 deals across Europe, since its launch in 2012. Jeff has been named by GQ Magazine as one of the 100 most influential men in Britain and by Business Insider as one of the 10 coolest people in UK tech.

Twitter:@jeffseedrs
Jeffrey Abbott General Partner, Wasabi Ventures

Jeff Abbott is General Partner at Wasabi Ventures Global where he leads the firms’ technology commercialization and international operations. Prior to joining WVG, he ran the Furnace Technology Transfer Accelerator Program at Arizona State University, where he helped form and advise dozens of technology-based startups in diverse industries. Jeff is a co-founder of the Global Startup Academy, has served as marketing director for Metropia, and VP of business development for Passport Health. He founded AIM Integrated Marketing, and was an early partner agency of Hubspot.

Jessy El Murr Social Media Producer/Presenter, SkyNews Arabia

Jessy El Murr is a multimedia journalist, writer and moderator with a special interest in social media and Arab youth. El Murr currently produces and presents Sky News Arabia’s daily segment Taghreedat Al Sabah which highlights the online work and successes of Arab youth. With over 15 years of media experience, El Murr is a Lebanese-American journalist who has reported for several international TV networks including BBC and Al Jazeera before moving to UAE in 2012. From Washington DC to NY, Geneva, Istanbul, and Beirut, El Murr covered major political, economic and military news stories including U.S presidential elections and the international coalition airstrikes on ISIS. In September 2014 Jessy boarded aircraft carrier USS George H.W Bush to cover the international coalition strikes on ISIS locations in Syria and Iraq. Jessy witnessed and reported the US Navy F18 fighter jets leading the airstrikes, thus delivering insight into both the military and logistical challenges facing the mission. In 2012, she was the first Arab female reporter to complete an embed with US Army Troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan reporting on the NATO troops withdrawal for SKY News Arabia. El Murr has interviewed a wide range of high ranking military officials and foreign dignitaries She is fluent in English, Arabic and French and holds a Master's degree in Integrated Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, USA Facebook: @JessyTrends https://www.facebook.com/JessyTrends/ Twitter: @JessyTrendSKY https://twitter.com/JessyTrendSKY

Twitter:@jessytrendsky
John Stoneman General Manager - Europe, Triplelift

John Stoneman has worked in digital media for over 20 years at a number of leading companies including Microsoft, Nokia, PubMatic and InMobi. He joined TripleLift in September 2015 to lead the development of the business across Europe. Prior to joining TripleLift he was VP of EMEA for PubMatic, managing its business across five offices across the region and General Manager of the mobile advertising network InMobi.

Twitter:@johnstoneman
John Todary Regional Commercial Director, Buzzeff.tv

John Todary is the Regional Commercial Director for Buzzeff Middle East Africa, the leading online video publishing platform globally. John joined the company in November 2016 and is responsible for the commercial strategy and the sales team across the Middle East. John has 16 years of media and advertising experience across the Middle East market.

Twitter:@JohnTodary
Jonathan Labin Managing Director - Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan, Facebook

Jonathan is an experienced and hands on tech and media leader that is passionate about building high performance teams and growing businesses internationally. He is the head of the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan at Facebook and leads the regional office in Dubai. As Facebook’s first employee in the Middle East & North Africa, he built the MENA team and business from the ground up and is responsible for growing revenues across Facebook’s family of brands. In September 2016, Jonathan was named media and marketing business leader of the year by Gulf Business. Prior to Facebook, Jonathan was VP, Head of Ad Sales, Emerging Markets at MTV Networks and tasked with maximizing advertising revenues for brands like MTV, VIVA, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central across all media channels. During his tenure at MTV Networks, he also held the position of Strategy & Business Development Director for Viacom International, and played a key role in strengthening the company’s position across multiple lines of business and regions. His passion for the technology and startup ecosystem combined with the corporate finance experience he gained as a consultant at Stern Stewart & Co also led him to become an investor and active advisor to a variety of startups in the Middle East. Jonathan holds an MBA with highest distinction from Columbia Business School in New York and bachelor degrees in International Business from Universidad Pontificia Commillas in Madrid and the European School of Business in Reutlingen. He speaks 3 languages fluently and has lived in Germany, Spain, Argentina, the US, the UK and the UAE.

Julien Mosse COO, Ligatus

Julien Mosse as COO of Ligatus, leading player in native advertising in Europe, holding over 10 countries and +100 employees. With an Executive MBA in Leadership & Strategy from HEC he has a solid background in business development and digital advertising. In 2009, he joins Ligatus where he was managing director for France. In 2012 he began developing Southern Europe and today he is in charge of the commercial development of Ligatus in current market and new international markets.

Justin Mlynarski Regional Head of digital - MENA, UM

Holding over 16 years of digital marketing experience, Justin Mlynarski currently heads up all digital strategies and activations across 14 offices in 13 countries across the Middle East for UM MENA. He moved to Dubai in 2013 and has been instrumental in building, developing and leading a digital and social team of over 30 people, and helping raise the digital & social IQ throughout the agency. Justin has played a key role in conceiving & implementing multiple plans for clients across multiple verticals, with relevant business ROI at the core.

Twitter:@JMCPH13
Kaveh Vessali Senior Partner, NXN (Formerly neXgen)

Kaveh Vessali is Senior Partner and Data Practice Lead at NXN (Formerly neXgen) in Dubai. Kaveh is also currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Smart Dubai Office and the Dubai Data Establishment, where he has been helping to develop and implement the emirate’s Smart City and Data strategies for the past two and half years. Mr. Vessali is the former Vice Consul and Deputy Chief for Economic Affairs at the United States Consulate General in Dubai. Prior to his time in the diplomatic corps, Kaveh spent 15 years in Silicon Valley as a strategy, marketing, and product executive at several software startups and global technology companies including Siebel Systems, SAP, and most recently salesforce.com, where he founded the company’s Public Sector Solutions group and served as its Global Vice President. Mr. Vessali started his career as an urban planning and public policy economist, analysing economic, environmental, land use, and transportation policy at the national and local government levels in the U.S. and Europe. Kaveh served as Editor of the Berkeley Planning Journal, and his team’s work on an economic revitalization strategy for the historic city of Toledo, Spain won the European Community’s urban planning award in 1995. Mr. Vessali conducted his Ph.D. studies in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earlier received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Kerim Ozbakirci Senior Marketing Director - MENA, Adidas Group

Kerim Ozbakirci leads the marketing division for adidas MENA focusing on building the brands momentum, adoption and advocacy by being relevant with their consumers throughout their journey. Kerim has extensive technology experience and spent 16 years at Microsoft across APAC, CEE & MEA leading the companies key products such as Hotmail, Messenger, Internet Explorer and more recently XBOX before joining adidas in late 2016. Kerim has diverse management experience across digital and physical consumer goods and recognized for numerous industry awards for winning the consumers mind and heart through effective campaigns.

Kunal Kapoor Chief Executive Officer, ​​The Luxury Closet

Kunal is the founder of The Luxury Closet, a marketplace for luxury preowned items for top luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier and​ ​Rolex. The company started in his own apartment, however now has close​ ​to 80 employees, across UAE, India and KSA, and raised over $10m from​ ​leading regional investors like MEVP, Wamda Capital. The site now​ ​features the largest luxury catalogue in the region with 16000+ unique​ ​styles, and customers from over 40 countries each year.

Kushal Shah Managing Partner, Roland Berger

Kushal Shah is a Partner at Roland Berger's Dubai office and a Managing Partner for the Middle East. He joined the firm in 2011, leading the telecommunications business in the Middle East and also working with several large telecommunications clients across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Kushal is a Member of the Investment Committee of the region's largest venture capital company. Prior to joining Roland Berger, he spent 12 years with a leading consultancy in London and Dubai. He studied Economics at Cambridge in the UK.

Lauren Maillian Entrepreneur, Global Marketer, Startup Advisor, Speaker, TV Personality and Best-Selling Author,

Lauren Maillian is a respected marketing and communications professional, and an innovative premium lifestyle brand architect with a deep understanding of business development and strategy across diverse industries. Maillian’s entrepreneurial experience makes her a self-starter, who innately possesses problem-solving leadership skills with limited oversight. She has a collaborative and innovative spirit combined with the ability to implement and execute in a concise manner. As a connector, influencer and broadcast media spokesperson Lauren has demonstrated her ability to create messaging that resonates with brands, millennial’s and women. Maillian is the author of The Path Redefined, a best-selling business book, and, most recently, Lauren has contributed her trademark personality and passion for innovation-through-entrepreneurship to television as the Master Marketer and co-star of the startup focused television docu-series, Quit Your Day Job, on Oxygen (NBCU). The momentum from the exposure of broadcast television has catapulted Lauren into a new type of marketer, who has global influence as both a strategist and face of Fortune 500 and 1000 brands. She's been the face, voice and thought leadership behind campaigns for brands such as Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card, Cover Girl, Devry, and Brooks Brothers. As a result, she is keenly aware of what brands want from influencers and the best ways to engage and activate such influencer-driven strategies. Maillian has sustained and deepened her influence internationally through speaking engagements to address topics that include marketing, branding, business, venture capital, women’s leadership, technology and investing. She has spoken at prestigious institutions including Harvard University, Columbia University, the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and the University of Virginia, and Fortune 500 and 100 companies such as Shell, Dell, Ernst and Young (EY), Prudential, Ogilvy, Weber Shandwick, L’Oréal and Bloomberg, at events such as Social Media Week, ColorComm, and LearnVest. Lauren serves on the advisory board of Digital Undivided, a social enterprise that increases the active participation of urban communities, especially women, in the digital space; and CoSign, a technology company that allows you to monetize your social media and shareable content. Lauren is the Founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and advisory company, and was a Founding Partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer facing technology enabled companies. At age 19, Lauren cofounded a boutique winery that quickly became an internationally recognized award-winning wine brand, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She served as the Chief Operating Officer of the company from inception through the brand’s acquisition in 2011. Maillian has a clear and uncluttered, yet passionate, interpretative ability that allows her to connect the dots in marketing, brand strategy and communication, and is known to spearhead the development of communication concepts to help others build, inspire, engage and connect. Lauren is a marketer at heart, who loves to build brands and devise business development strategies with a concentration on the creation and implementation of innovative yet strategic plans that build brand identity and increase revenue. She is a detail-oriented strategist and has a unique ability to turn opportunities into inflection points that help companies gain the traction and market share they need. Lauren has a global perspective and a fresh, yet entrepreneurial, approach to implementation. Lauren has become a respected and sought-after influencer and connecter with a unique skillset as both a marketing and communications professional, entrepreneur and talent, giving her a competitive-advantage in understanding what drives clients to engage influencers and what motivates influencers to engage with brands. Her relationships span multiple categories between brands, corporations, media partners and influencers. Lauren’s experience is both vast and distinctive given the roles and responsibilities she’s had ranging from entrepreneur, investor, advisor, talent, client focused marketer and thought leader. She is uniquely qualified and comfortable in a fast paced environment, and has the relevant experience to influence stakeholders in a highly matrixed organization. Lauren's work has been featured in national media outlets including Forbes, American Express OPEN Forum, Interactive ONE, Sirius XM Radio, 1010 WIN’s, HuffPost LIVE, AOL Build, Inc. Magazine, Mashable, UPTOWN Magazine, Jet Magazine, CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, MSNBC, FOX 5, CBS New York, Business Insider, Fast Company, and Black Enterprise. In 2011 she was recognized at The White House by the Kauffman Foundation as an Empact100 Award honoree which lists the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and in 2013, Essence Magazine named Lauren a “Shot Caller” to watch in business. In 2014, the New York Urban League’s Young Professionals awarded Lauren the honor of Philanthropist of the Year for her charitable involvement and dedication to giving back, in 2015 Kia Motors and UPTOWN Magazine awarded Lauren for being Inspirationally Crafted for her leadership and fearless entrepreneurial journey and in 2015, Smart CEO Magazine named Lauren as a Smart CEO Brava Award Winner. In 2016, Walker’s Legacy named Lauren to their WL50 Power List that honors women making strides in the business and philanthropic community. Lauren is an advocate for women, girls and issues in the multicultural community. She is very involved in a number of philanthropic organizations that affect youth, poverty, education, and the arts. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative (MADI) Committee, as Co-Chair of The Apollo Theater Foundation Young Patrons Steering Committee, The New York Urban League’s Development Committee, is a founding member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, and a Lifetime Member of the Children’s Aid Society. Lauren is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. She has a Bachelors of Science, Magna Cum Laude, in International Trade and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Twitter:@LaurenMaillian
Leah Duquemin Group Account Director, Socialize Agency

Leah has almost 10 years of digital marketing experience, gained in London and Dubai, on major brands including P&G and Unilever. Leah currently heads client servicing at Socialize for a portfolio of award winning clients including Mercedes-Benz Cars and General Mills. She leads the planning, execution and management of content strategies, that are fuelled by social insights and drive tangible, measurable results for her clients.

Lewaa Hamadeh Technology Solutions Manager, Maddict

Lewaa is currently responsible of Maddict's expansion into advanced location-based behavioral targeting. Prior to his experience in the media industry, Lewaa spent 8 years as a services consultant with Ericsson, where he worked with telecom operators across the MENA region. As the market boundaries between telecom, technology and media continue to diminish, Lewaa looks to build on his experience in telecom and mobility to realize the full potential of behavioral targeting.

Twitter:@LewaaHamadeh
Liely Bullock Enterprise Partnerships Manager - EMEA, Statiq

Liely heads Statiq's licence software-as-a-service partnerships across EMEA, and also manages all channel partnerships; with DSPs, SSPs, networks, publishers, cross-device partners and media owners. Liely's original background is in statistical Psychology, after which she has been at a number of technology businesses across both the advertising tech and marketing tech space, working across the UK, EMEA and the US with a particular focus on mobile.

Twitter:@LielyB
Luke Krueger President, VA Angels International

Luke is an entrepreneur turned part time investor, board member and advisor, and the President of VA Angels International, the global arm of VA Angels; Canada’s largest and most active Angel Investment Network. Luke speaks, trains and mentors companies while finding strategic partners including the World Bank, Canadian Government and XCala. Luke is deeply interested in social enterprise and impact investing having previously worked with Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. He is equally passionate about building new startup ecosystems, investment communities, developing new entrepreneurs and basketball.

Twitter:@luketkrueger
Mahmoud Fouz Chief Executive Officer, Easy Middle East (EasyTaxi)

Mahmoud is a serial entrepreneur from Germany - having co-founded three companies with the largest European E-commerce incubator Rocket Internet including Lazada which was recently acquired by Alibaba for 1.5bn USD. He earned a PhD Summa Cum Laude in Computer Science from the top Computer Science school in Germany - Saarland University. He is currently the CEO of Easy Middle East - the third largest ride hailing service in the Middle East.

Mansour Salameh Client Solutions Manager - Retail & E-Commerce, MENA, Facebook

Mansour Salameh has been working as Facebook’s Client Solutions Manager for Retail & E-commerce clients in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan since 2012. During this time, Mansour has been at the forefront of helping top retail, online and e-commerce companies including Souq, Namshi, Dubizzle, Careem, AWOK, Al Shaya, Al Tayer and Landmark Group (among others) achieve their marketing objectives and scale their business through Facebook. Prior to that, Mansour spent 9 years working in traditional media and creative advertising, managing blue-chip brands across various industries.

Twitter:@VincenzoSalamon
Marcus Siddons Managing Director - MENA, Xaxis

Marcus Siddons is Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In his role, Marcus is responsible for managing operations across the region, overseeing account management, trading, publisher relations and partnerships. Marcus joined Xaxis at the beginning of 2014, from Sony Pictures Entertainment where he served as head of digital media for Sony Pictures Television Arabia. In this role, he lead strategy for the studio’s in-market Web / mobile only productions as well oversaw the digital platforms for Sony television properties airing in the MENA market. His responsibilities included a focus on video monetization and second screen integration. Previously, Siddons was Head of Digital, Middle East & North Africa for global media agency MindShare. He holds a BA from Oxford Brookes University in Marketing Management and was a member of the IAB UK’s Mobile Council and founding member of the IAB UK’s Social Media Taskforce.

Matthew Gardiner Founder, CatchLondon

Matthew Gardiner is the founder of CatchLondon. He consults to banks, financial institutions, FinTechs, high growth tech businesses, corporations, ‘Scale Ups’ and VCs on blockchain, payments, compliance, risk, cyber security and data architectures. He is an incisive public speaker, up to the minute on developing emergent strategies with FinTech, Blockchain, AI, AR, VR, IoT, SaaS, DaaS, Cyber Security, Open Banking API, PSD2, MiFID II, InsurTech, EdTech and other emerging technologies including BioTech, AgriTech and PropTech. Matthew has spoken at CSFI, Barclays, Lloyds, and Google, among many others.

Twitter:@matwg
Maud Moawad Founder and Managing Director, Maddict

Maud Moawad is Maddict Managing Director and a founding partner. She earned till date a substantial 15 years’ experience in mobile technology and mobile media. Maud success story starts with the emergence of Maddict from a startup to a profitable medium enterprise spread across four markets in the MENA in three years’ time. Maud is also invested in Big Data research and privacy compliance technologies. She achieved fruitful consultancy outcome in the innovative technology for multiple multinational brands across the MENA markets. She holds a bachelor of engineering and a Master in Economics. Maud is also a professional Ballet dancer.

Maya Hojeij Chief Editor, Presenter, Dubai TV

Creator and Editor in chief of #Mal show on Dubai TV Anchor of #Mal show on Dubai TV #Mal is a Business News Show that covers the daily stock markets and economic news with a focus on the UAE economy Creator and Editor in chief and Anchor of Yawm.com show on Dubai TV Yawm.com is a morning variety show, with a business and political angle, and daily social media reflections locally and from around the globe.

Twitter:@MayaHojeij
Mohamed Abdeljalil Business Development and Community Program Manager, HERE

Mohammed Khudairi Managing Partner of Khudairi Group, Co-Founder of TechHub

Mohammed Khudairi is a native of Baghdad and currently lives in Dubai where he serves as the Managing Partner of Khudairi Group. Recently Mohammed has co-founded TechHub to help catalyze and provide a home for tech entrepreneurs in Iraq. Mohammed attended the University of Texas and received a degree in Finance with a focus in Middle Eastern Studies. He is actively involved in several non-profit charity organizations including the Iraqi Children Foundation, and YPO Dubai Chapter.

Mona Ataya Chief Executive Officer, Mumzworld

Mona Ataya has proven to be one of the Middle East’s most prominent of women entrepreneurs. The co-founder of Bayt.com, arguably the most successful online search engine for jobs in the Middle East, is now working to disrupt the well-ingrained retail space in the Middle East with the goal of assisting mothers with their maternity, infant and childcare product needs. Ataya’s latest venture is Mumzworld.com, a leading gold standard e-commerce vertical for baby and child shopping in the Middle East region that has been going from strength to strength.

Muhammad Arrabi Chief Executive Officer, ecommerce SEA

Muhammad is the CEO of Ecommerce Sea, a pioneering fashion ecommerce startup in Saudi, and operator of Vanilla.sa, the Home for Modern Saudi Fashion and Beauty. Previously he was an executive and investment team member at N2V Ventures in Saudi. He spent 13 years in US, working at Microsoft and Silicon Valley startups (Nusym, Cobalt) – gaining both global startup and enterprise experience. Muhammad holds an MS from Colorado State University, winner of multiple international Programming competitions, and the Google Award for Best Online Business Plan QRCE competition in 2008.

Twitter:@mrarrabi
Nabil Borhanu President and Managing Member, Graphene Ventures

For over fifteen years, Nabil has been a serial entrepreneur, guest speaker, and judge in startup events across Silicon Valley and the Middle East. He successfully built three different companies in telecom, sports, and media from the ground up, and grew them into the $100M range in less than five years. Nabil moved to Silicon Valley where he started Graphene Ventures. His entrepreneur, corporate executive, and investor experience makes him an ideal partner for Graphene’s portfolio companies; he led Graphene investments in Snap Inc., Lyft Inc., among others.

Twitter:@NabilAlnoor
Nour Al Masri Regional Digital Media Director, Sayidaty Magazine

Nour is a digital marketing & media development expert with 17+ years’ experience working with recognizable media, publishing, Dot-com TV and telecom companies. In 2012, she joined Sayidaty magazine to establish the Digital Media Department across multiple countries in the Arab region. Now Sayidaty is recognized as the most reached magazine specialized in Arab women issues worldwide, and recently the 1st to launch an ecommerce platform for its vast audience.

Twitter:@NrMasri
Omar Christidis Founder and Chief Executive Officer, ArabNet

Omar Christidis is the Founder & CEO of ArabNet, the leading events & media company focused on the Arab web and mobile industry. ArabNet organizes the leading conferences for the digital sector in MENA including annual events in Beirut, Dubai and Riyadh. ArabNet also publishes news and analysis of the web and mobile industry on its online portal and print magazine, The ArabNet Quarterly. Before founding ArabNet, Omar worked in private wealth management at a family office in New York on a small team managing $1B in diverse assets. Prior to that, he was a Consultant at Booz & Co. in the MENA, and worked on varied projects across industries, including energy, technology / media, and public sector. Omar was selected as a high-impact Endeavor Entrepreneur, and was highlighted by GulfNews Magazine as one of its “30 under 30" list in 2012. He holds a BA and MBA from Yale University and is the Co-Founder of the Yale Arab Alumni Association.

Twitter:@OmarChr
Omar Hashem Executive Vice President and Head, Digital Banking Division, The National Commercial Bank

Seasoned banker with more than 20 years of diverse experience in spearheading startup initiatives in corporate banking, retail banking, strategy, and customer experience. Chairman of Board Sanid, Member of the Advisory Board of souqalmal.com and EVP head of Digital Banking, National Commercial Bank - Saudi Arabia. In addition, he works with Regulator on Fintech initiatives and payment initiatives.

Omar Madi Head of Performance Media, Performics

Ovais Naqvi Managing Director, The Abraaj Group

Ovais is a Managing Director at The Abraaj Group. He focuses on the Value Creation efforts targeted at our portfolio companies. Ovais has worked across multiple consumer businesses in Abraaj’s portfolio (including Careem and Hepsiburada.com). He has held line management roles in industry and been active in early-stage, specifically in the creation of Wamda, which Abraaj incubated and spun-out as the Wamda.com content platform and Wamda Capital.

Owen Davis Managing Director, NYC Seed

Owen is currently Managing Director of NYC Seed, a seed stage venture capital fund in New York City. He also founded the NYC Seedstart accelerator and Overlap - among other companies - an artificial intelligence software company for scheduling. Owen is the author of various patents in Internet methods and technologies; author of the book Instant Java Applets; an original board member of the World Wide Web Artists Consortium, and named various times as one of the 100 Top Internet Executives in New York by The Silicon Alley Reporter, among other accolades.

Rabih Dabboussi Senior Vice President - Sales, Marketing & Business Development, DarkMatter

Twitter:@RabihDabboussi
Rashed AlRashed Managing Partner, Tamm Investments

As Founder and Managing Partner of Tamm Investments, Rashed AlRashed focuses on investing growth capital in SMEs. Prior to that, Rashed covered Financial Institutions at Deutsche Bank AG. Rashed started his career in China with Capital Today, a Private Equity Fund focused on SMEs in Shanghai China. Rashed holds an MBA from London Business School and a BBA from King Fahad University for Petroleum.

Rasool Hujair Chief Executive Officer, Najm

Rasool Hujair has extensive experience in the cards and payments industry, both regionally and internationally. He has been the CEO of Najm, the financial products and services arm of Majid Al Futtaim since 2007. Prior to that, Rasool worked with American Express in several senior management capacities across the Middle East, Europe and Africa, including Regional Director for Gulf Countries. Rasool has also served as CEO at AFS and Euronet Middle East.

Rita Makhoul Managing Editor, Arabnet

Rita Makhoul is the Managing Editor of ArabNet’s website as well the magazine the ‘ArabNet Quarterly.’ The ArabNet website is a leading reference for digital businesses in the Middle-East, featuring news, analysis, expert advice, interviews, and a vibrant community of startups, developers and entrepreneurs. The ‘ArabNet Quarterly’ is the first print release for growing digital enterprises and leading companies with insights and special stories covering the latest e-business, technology, media and entrepreneurship news in the MENA. She has a wealth of strategic experience from her 16 years in the marketing and communications industry having led key accounts across industries and finding her passion in the digital, tech, and startup industry.

Twitter:@rampurple
Rizwan Rajpoot Managing Director – Digital Retailing, Al Futtaim

Rizwan Rajpoot is currently the Managing Director - Digital Retailing for Al-Futtaim. As a British, his core experience was gained when ecommerce first started in the UK circa early 2000’s and he has worked for some big retail organizations such as Carphone Warehouse, Dixons Group, American Golf, Mamas & Papas in the UK leading their Digital & Omni-Channel initiatives. He spent 3 years working in Australia for Specialty Fashion Group again leading their Digital & Omni-Channel initiatives before moving to the Middle East in 2014. Rizwan is passionate about Omni-Channel Retailing and is a staunch believer of people first and customer first approach

Ronit Ghose Managing Director, Global Banks Sector Head, Citi Research

Ronit Ghose is Global Sector Head for Banks in Citi Research. Since joining Citi in 1997, Ronit has covered banks in Europe, the Middle East and North America. He is the lead author of Citi's global fintech research GPS reports. Before Citi, Ronit worked at the British Bankers’ Association and as a research assistant for the former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. Ronit is a graduate of the University of Oxford.

Sara Buluggiu Managing Director - Italy, Spain and MENA, Rubicon Project

Sara Buluggiu is Managing Director of Italy, Spain and MENA for Rubicon Project, working with buyers and sellers across these regions to evangelise and increase adoption of the company’s technology platform. Based in Milan, she reports directly to James Brown, Managing Director of EMEA. Previously Digital Director at VivaKi Italy and Starcom MediaVest Group, Buluggiu has considerable experience and expertise in the digital advertising space, working with high profile customers such as Procter & Gamble.

Twitter:@bulug
Sarah Cunningham Head of Demand Generation - EMEA, AdRoll

Sarah Cunningham is Head of Demand Generation at AdRoll EMEA. She has nearly a decade's experience launching fast paced tech startups in the market. A digital thought leader and expert marketing strategist, Sarah is passionate about helping brands build and scale their businesses with the newest technologies. Sarah has been at the helm of over 200 events across EMEA for AdRoll and regularly speaks at them too.

Twitter:@Sarahcunnin
Sebastian Schindler Global Insights Lead, Inskin

Sebastian Schindler is Global Insights Lead at InSkin Media. Sebastian’s mission is to empower advertisers and agencies by providing industry-leading research into how digital works for brands. He joined InSkin Media in 2015 from leading audience analytics company comScore, where he started his career as an analyst before moving on to lead comScore’s marketing activities in N-EMEA. Sebastian holds a Master’s degree in Creative & Media Enterprises from the University of Warwick.

Shafi Alam Head of CRM & Data, Samsung Gulf Electronics

Shafi is driving data driven marketing efforts at Samsung Gulf, Dubai for last 1 year. Prior to this, Shafi was the core member of Digital innovation team at Samsung Global HQ (Korea) that initiated data driven marketing in the company. He successfully piloted and expanded DMP implementation in key markets globally. Before getting into data driven marketing he was a product marketer since the first Galaxy S devices at Samsung HQ.

Shaikha Al Falasi Engineer - Sustainable Energy Program, MBRSC (Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre)

Shaikha Al Falasi has completed her bachelor’s degree in Civil engineering with minors in Math and Science. She also pursued concentrations in both sustainability and urban planning. Her current position is as an engineer in the Sustainable Energy Program at MBRSC. Shaikha has worked on building the first passive house in the UAE, located in MBRSC. She worked on the civil engineer aspect of the passive house which is a vital aspect into ensuring the successful performance of the house. Her aim is to prove that sustainability is a lifestyle rather than a one stop solution.

Sharifa AlBarami Managing Director, Oman Technology Fund

Sharifa AlBarami is an entrepreneurship development consultant, mentor and businesswoman with a performance excellence track record spanning over 15 years in both public and private sectors. Managing Director of the Oman Accelerator Fund, a seed fund and accelerator program aimed at bridging the region with Silicon Valley; non-executive partner and co-owner of AlJazeera Global Services & Investments; and founder of the BizHub Entrepreneurship Centre. Previously, the primary consultant hired to design, execute and manage Oman's first start-up accelerator & seed fund initiative, the "CELL", a CSR initiative for OMIFCO.

Twitter:@SharifaAlBarami
Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri Managing Director, Smart Cities NYC

Simon is a Managing Partner at Global Futures Group spearheading programs driving urban innovation. He is a Strategic Advisor to the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Administration. Simon is also the Executive Director of Civ:Lab, a non-profit scaling solutions to cities globally. Simon is an Adjunct Professor at NYU's Center for Global Affairs and the Founder of Urban Data NYC - NYC’s largest smart city Meetup.

Twitter:@SmartCitySimon
Sonia Weymuller Partner, VentureSouq

Sonia Weymuller is a Founding Partner of VentureSouq, the largest early stage equity funding platform in the region. Previously, she headed Advertising Sales for Turner Broadcasting’s portfolio of children’s platforms across MENA and Africa. Prior to Turner, Sonia worked with Viacom’s Emerging Markets’ Strategy Group and Microsoft’s Strategy and M&A team in London. Sonia is a Charter Member for TiE's Dubai chapter, serves as the UAE Director for the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, is the Partnerships Committee Co-Chair, mentor at e7 Daughters of the Emirates and advisor to Air Shepherd.

Twitter:@SoniaWey
Stanislas Brunais Senior Director, Performance - UAE, OMD

Stanislas has been working in Performance Marketing for over eight years, starting in Paris. He quickly took charge of, and successfully executed, several complex e-commerce projects for brands including Betclic, Sarenza and Air France. Based in Dubai since 2012, Stanislas has handled digital performance campaigns for regional brands, such as Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Sephora, MC Donalds or Souq.com. Stanislas is the senior lead on performance for OMD UAE, with overall responsibility for strategy, international coordination and implementation. Stan is fluent in French and English.

Twitter:@stanislasbrunai
Steve Parker Chief Executive Officer - Middle East, Publicis Media

Steve Plimsoll Chief Digital and Data Officer - Middle East, PwC

Steve is a leading global digital transformation expert with almost 20 years of experience using data and technology to design and deliver customer centric digital disruption platforms that create new and integrate previously siloed capabilities to enable ground breaking and award winning solutions. Prior to his move to the Middle East, Steve was PwC UK’s Digital Strategy and Transformation Consulting Leader, CTO at WPP/Mindshare, CSO and VP Consulting and Marketing Services for Acxiom, Global Head of Digital for FutureBrand and EMEA CTO & Head of Technology Enablement for Digitas.

Twitter:@splimsoll
Tamara Pupic Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic, Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East, has become renowned on the local entrepreneurial circuit as a journalist who has a highly visible presence, a keen eye for up and coming start-ups with a potential to grow into the next business success story, and an editor who doesn’t shy away from putting unsung business talent even on the magazine’s front cover. Prior to starting her career in journalism in 2012, Tamara worked in the international trade policy development field, especially focusing on WTO law.

Tammer Qaddumi Partner, VentureSouq

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

Twitter:@tqaddumi
Tariq Al Asiri Co-Founder, Argaam

Tariq AlAsiri is the co-founder of Argaam.com, a bilingual Financial Data Driven portal that covers GCC Stock markets information, company news and financial data. Tariq holds a BA in Management Information System and has a passion for data driven contents and enjoys following the latest business trends and entrepreneurships.

Tim Lea Chief Executive officer of Veredictum.io, Author of Blockchain Book

Tim is the CEO and founder of Veredictum.io a blockchain-enabled start-up developing a decentralized distribution and anti-piracy platform to stop film and video piracy. He has an MBA, is a published author on corporate finance and is a regular speaker on the strategic applications of the Blockchain. He is the author of Down the Rabbit Hole - a Blockchain book in plain English.

Twitter:@TimothyLea2
Tim Wolfs Managing Director, Startupbootcamp Smart Cities

With 15 years of experience in a European digital agency environment, Tim has been managing teams, recommendations and strategic projects for global brands. Currently, he is responsible for the European digital transformation of Altavia, the largest independent retail-specialised communication group in the world. In this role, he helps retailers to define digital priorities and aids in the deployment of their omni-channel strategy.

Twitter:@tikkes
Todd OBrien Managing Director, Startupbootcamp Smart Cities

Todd recently took on the role of Managing Director for Startup Bootcamp in Dubai with a focus on Smart Cities. Most recently he has been helping companies globally move the needle on customer traction and revenue growth. His experiences include marketing, strategy, services, consumer, product management, sales leadership and investments. Todd worked 17 years for Dell, RackSpace and many start-up ventures where he had successful exits. Todd thrives on change and proactively addresses challenges with a creative flare.

Twitter:@ToddOBrien3
Tony Graham Managing Director, Experience Training

Tony B Graham is a retail banking leader who has worked in eight countries spanning the Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. He has a deep understanding of the regulatory, economic and technological challenges facing companies as they adapt their business models to the digital age. He is currently Managing Director of Experience Training which helps senior executives become better presenters, public speakers and to collaborate with emotional intelligence.

Ulugbek Yuldashev Founder and Chief Executive Officer, awok.com

Kyrgyz entrepreneur Ulugbek Yuldashev is the founder and CEO of AWOK.com, one of the leading online retail platforms in the UAE, offering over 50,000 products across 30+ categories, and employs close to 500 people. Yuldashev started his first company when he was 19 - a retail and wholesale business in Kyrgyzstan named “Domashniy” (Russian for home center). He then moved to Dubai and in 2008 established the wholesale company Gulf Alabel Technologies LLC, followed by Alifco LLC, before entering ecommerce with ALIFCA DMCC as the parent company of AWOK.com.

Usama Qasem Regional Marketing Communication Manager, IKEA

Usama has been working in web and digital marketing for over 10 years. He is the now the Regional Digital Marketing Manager at IKEA. He is one of the pioneers, who early advocated for the importance of UX, and social media in the region. During his career at IKEA he has helped the brand become the first furniture retailer in the Middle East to sell furniture online. In addition, his contribution towards the IKEA website and mobile website has earned the brand 2 awards for enhancement of these digital platforms. He as well launched the brand social media presence in the region. Early in 2015 he founded ESTAND.ME an online shopping website specialized in selling unique and smart products.

Twitter:@usamaqasem
Ussal Şahbaz Innovation Leader - Turkey, GE

As GE’s innovation leader for Turkey since March 2016, Ussal leads development of an industrial internet eco-system in Turkey, through co-creation projects with corporates, supporting startups and working with the government. Prior to GE, he led the Business 20 and Think 20 engagement groups in Turkey’s G20 presidency. He worked with the Economic Policy Research Foundation, Turkey’s premier think tank, Government of Turkey and the World Bank. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University in international development.

Twitter:@ussal
Vivian Law Corporate Innovation Director at Chinaccelerator MOX, Investment Associate at SOSV

Vivian Law is the Corporate Innovation Director for Chinaccelerator, China’s #1 digital cross-border accelerator, and MOX, a mobile-app accelerators targeting emerging markets headquartered in Shanghai and Taiwan. Vivian leads Corporate Innovation Programs, which partner big brands with startups to solve strategic business problems. She also manages the accelerator’s mentor network of 250+ global mentors and industry experts. Vivian is also an Investment Associate for SOSV. A $300M USD accelerator VC, investing in startups via 8 global accelerators, focused on hardware, software, food and biotech.

Wael Attili Co-Founder, Kharabeesh

Wael Nafee Vice President of Product, Careem

Wael is the Vice President of Products at Careem. He is a Y Combinator alumnus who has co-founded various startups in both the Silicon Valley and the Middle East Wael is an entrepreneur at heart and has built various products used by 10's of millions of users worldwide and featured in publications such as TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, and many others. He's passionate about building products users love. In his free time, Wael loves mentoring young entrepreneurs to help them hone their product and startup strategy.

Waleed AlBallaa​ Partner, STVentures

With a long career that has spanned many links across the hi-tech food chain locally and internationally, Waleed is well equipped for his career mission to participate in unlocking the potential of the region's innovation ecosystem. Waleed is currently part of a team setting up a new VC fund, STV, with an operating model that could redefine how large corporations and startups work together towards growing the ecosystem for everyone.

Twitter:@wballaa
Walid Hanna Founder and Managing Partner, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)

Walid has been active in venture capital and in new venture development for the past 18 years and successfully completed more than 40 VC investments in the past 9 years. Prior to founding MEVP in 2009, and increasing its AUM to $120 million, Walid was the CEO of Dubai International Capital's venture arm, the Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), which managed a regional seed venture fund as well as the first Business Angels network in the Arab World. Prior to ABAN, he was on the investment-management team of Abraaj Capital.

Wesam Lootah Chief Executive Officer, Smart Dubai Government

Wesam Lootah is the CEO at the Smart Dubai Government Establishment. A committed and talented Emirati, Wesam has more than 18 years of experience in strategic leadership positions where he has leveraged Information Technology to create innovative channels and Smart Government infrastructure to improve the quality of public services for citizens, residents, visitors and businesses in Dubai. Wesam has worked in both government and the private sector in high profile organizations. From 2009 to 2012, Wesam was Vice President, Information Technology at World Trade Centre where he led the transformation of IT through a number of initiatives including the implementation of sales force automation, CRM, and ERP implementation. Prior to that, he was Director, Information Technology at Emaar Properties. During his time at Emaar, Wesam led the global rollout of sales automation and ERP across Emaar subsidiaries. This included countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Canada. Wesam is not new to Smart Dubai Government as he was previously Head of Application Services from 2002 to 2007. During that time Wesam led the implementation of unified business process and ERP across Dubai Government entities. Wesam holds a Master’s degree in Computer science and engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University. Wesam is also an author with published research in Computer Security.

Zafer Younis Partner, 500 Startups

Twitter:@zaferyounis
Zahir Khoja Senior Vice President, Global Acceptance Product Development and Innovation, MasterCard

Zahir Khoja is the Senior Vice President, Global Acceptance Product Development and Innovation at MasterCard. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing and executing solutions that will enable new growth opportunities for stakeholders such as acquirers, merchants (traditional and e-comm), consumers, government and other eco system partners through the use of innovative payment solutions and enhanced consumer experiences. Zahir joined MasterCard in 2012 as the Chief Executive Officer for Mobile Payment Solutions (MPS), a joint venture between MasterCard and SMART Hub Inc. where he was responsible for deploying mobile solutions in Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey. Prior to that, Zahir was the Executive Director for Mobile Commerce at Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading total communications provider and President for M-Paisa, Afghanistan’s first commercially-licensed mobile money service, which he project managed in its entirety. This project has earned him global recognition for his contribution to driving financial inclusion in the country. He has also won several awards for his work in Afghanistan including the 2011 GSMA Best Mobile Money for the Unbanked (joint award with Vodafone), and 2011 Telecom Asia’s Best Community Based. Zahir was also instrumental in setting up the Afghanistan Mobile Money Operators Association (AMMOA) with support from USAID and the Central Bank of Afghanistan. Zahir has held several additional senior-level positions at Virgin Mobile, TELUS and Pepsi Cola in Canada. He currently serves as a board advisor for Kudos, an online social recognition platform and as a member of the Grameen Foundation Technology Center Advisory Board. He also served on the Board for the Burnaby Hospital Foundation in Canada and has been an active member and supporter for AIESEC and Junior Achievement. Zahir holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honors Degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Ottawa in Canada, in addition to completing several executive education courses at Harvard Business School, INSEAD and the University of British Columbia.

Twitter:@Khoja_Inc
Ziad Matar Senior Director, Business Development - Middle East and Central Asia, Qualcomm Technologies

Ziad Matar serves as senior director at Qualcomm Technologies, where he manages business development activities in the Middle East and Central Asia region, working closely with the Company’s regional customers ranging from network operators, mobile handset vendors to other mobile technology providers. Ziad also manages MEA engagement with mobile handset vendors having their regional headquarters in Dubai. Prior to his current role, Ziad lead strategic business development activities and was responsible for developing and driving the commercialization of new technologies outside of Qualcomm’s traditional cellular efforts and in adjacent segments.

Twitter:@wirelessly