ASTROLABS MENTORS

View our network of mentors that give guidance to our startup entrepreneur community.

Abdullah Mando Co-founder & CEO, Qubba Ltd.

Abdullah Mando (@mandowi) is the co-founder and CEO of Qubba Ltd. Before then, he is the co-founder and former CEO of UTURN, an online network (of 8 million members) that creates and distributes local and entertainment content, targeting the Saudi youth. Abdullah’s vision is to stimulate and nourish thought through mass media. Under his leadership UTURN sparked the new media industry in Saudi Arabia and has created a hub for talents and content creators in the region. His academic background enabled him to put the company on the right track to success, balancing between content creation and business aspirations. Abdullah was an undergrad in Montreal, Canada, where he majored in Film from the The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and Business from the John Molson School of Business.

Ambareen Musa CEO, Souqalmal.com

Originally from Mauritius, Musa holds an undergraduate business degree from RMIT university, in Melbourne, Australia.  She started her first online business, an online property portal for international students to Australia at the age of 21. Moving to London in 2004 to work for GE’s financial arm,  GE Money, Musa had various roles including marketing, financial literacy, customer advocacy and E-commerce.   She led the first online financial literacy  initiative in the UK,  Moneybasics.co.uk, Moving to the MIDDLE EAST in 2008, Musa worked as a consultant for Bain & Company  Middle East and focused on financial services projects such as growth strategies for banks in the region.  She moved on to set up the consulting arm of MasterCard Middle East and Africa, where she stayed for 2 years, before founding Souqalmal.com  in 2012. Musa holds an MBA  from INSEAD and is the co-author of  Entrepreneurial opportunities on the internet in 2006.

Amir Farha Managing Partner, BECO Capital

Amir is an entrepreneur, angel investor, startup advisor and mentor. He has invested in and co-founded a number of local businesses, including Toolman, a property maintenance business; Purple PR, a boutique PR company of which he successfully exited in 2012; and Tandem Partners, a startup and small business advisory firm in which he helped over 100 companies plan and grow their businesses. He has looked at early stage businesses from every angle, starting with a Swedish VC firm based in London, followed by a stint at what was the first seed capital fund in the MENA region, the Arab Business Angel Network (part of Dubai International Capital), before becoming an entrepreneur himself.

Anshul Srivastav CIO & Digital Officer, Union Insurance

A leader with major operating tenets as driving technology transformation through thought leadership, innovation, analytics & delivering value to stakeholders. Anshul is a global technology leader who has been instrumental in driving technology transformations for businesses in the range of to multi Billion USD as revenues. He has been key player at organizations which have been on an average 30% growth year on year in a career spanning almost two decades. Anshul is been mentoring start ups and management students from IIM Bangalore since 2012. Start ups mentored are in the space of analytics, mobility, tech based micro finance institution, healthcare tech and analytics, tech based retail merchandising and mobile wallets. Experience has been around taking up strategic technology initiatives, architecting, delivering and managing it at an enterprise level. Anshul has several notable career accomplishments, wherein he has led, created and launched the key ecommerce, mobile and business intelligence initiatives for world’s #1 insurance brand AXA in the fastest growing emerging markets of Asia. Currently in a leadership role as Chief Information Officer Information Technology and Digital Officer, leading the IT Strategy, Technology Transformations, Analytics, software delivery, architecture and Cloud for Union Insurance (UAE and Oman) across all lines of Business (Life, General (P&C) and Health Insurance)  Creating and Driving big strategic Initiatives aligning through IT transformation to deliver business value. Transformational leader and Senior Management IT professional, with almost two decade of experience spreading across multiple geographies (US, Europe,South East Asia and Middle East). Anshul has built & led local, regional, and global teams across 3 continents. Capitalized on opportunities to drive revenues, profits, and growth. Strong P&L management. Couple of Awards:
1. Won couple of Star Performer of the Year Awards from AXA India & thrice has been awarded the AXA innovation award both at AXA Asia and AXA Group level.
2. CIO of the year award, InfoSec Maestro Award, CSO Next of the year award.
3. CISO award from MESA.
4. Anshul writes on Innovation, Big Data and Transformations and couple of publications are available in CNME, Data quest, LinkedIn and PM Network.

Asim Janjua Creative Director & Founder, Noology

Asim is a creative thinker skilled at driving social innovation through technology, design thinking, and business development. He combines a keen grasp of complex issues and impeccable design sensibility. Asim has over a decade of experience in creating transformative change in ambiguous environments through meaningful ways with cutting-edge companies and startups. With a background in arts and a self-taught coder. Asim strives to bridge the gap between designers and developers, marketing and engineering; so that technology serves its purpose and is universally accessible that provides empowerment and opportunity. Asim has worked and lived in Dubai, New York, Zurich, Johannesburg, Monaco, and London. During his time at Google, Asim served as a Technical Design Lead from Zurich and later as a Emerging Markets Lead from Dubai. During his time on the Brand Studio team Asim collaborated on UX/UI and design with interdisciplinary departments that included Marketing, Developer Relations, Outreach, Software Engineers and User Research teams. With a focus on Middle East and Africa, Asim helped bring Google products to thousands of users in developing countries. In 2013 Asim took a sabbatical from Google to serve as an Acumen Global Fellow, in the class of 2014. The fellowship comprises of a cohort of emerging leaders who aspire to change how the world sees and tackles poverty. Fellows work directly with the CEO of an Acumen funded startup, on a critical business challenge facing the organization. Today Asim is working as a consultant for VC’s, startups and multinationals focusing on Visual Design Strategy, Brand and Creative Strategy taking their products and services from idea to market.

Aysenur Guven CEO, Daphne Digital

Aysenur Guven is the founder & CEO of Daphne Digital – a marketing consultancy firm founded in 2012 with offices in Istanbul and Dubai, specialized in supporting businesses with online presence. She and the Daphne team have the privilege to be a part of more than 50 companies located in Europe, Turkey and Middle East, serving multiple markets from diverse verticals such as travel, retail, finance and ecommerce. Aysenur has worked as the VP of Marketing at Rocket Internet Turkey & MENA for a year, building marketing teams, defining and executing marketing strategies and the budget for 7 domains both in Turkey and MENA, including Namshi.com. Before joining Rocket, she worked for Metglobal – a global online travel firm – in Istanbul and New York. Her career started wondering who would click on the Google ads, she soon to discovered it by managing a 7-digit Google ads-only budget in 2005. She held US Office Director and Online Marketing Manager positions for a total of 6 years. With 10 years of hands-on marketing and management experience, Aysenur believes and supports learning cultures and she is amazed every day to learn something new.  Aysenur lives in Istanbul or Dubai. Airports are her favourite place to be – for real.

Bassem Sawan Industry Manager, Consumer Goods, Google MENA

Bassem graduated in 2006 from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Communications Engineering. He started his career with Procter & Gamble in brand management, where he spent 4 years in both regional and local roles within the MENA region. In 2010, Bassem moved to Boston to pursue his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Harvard Business School. During this time, Bassem’s emphasis was on Strategy and General Management. Upon completing his MBA, Bassem joined Bain & Company, a global management consultancy, where he advised major players in retail, consumer goods and the public sector on topics of strategy, process improvement, and organization development. Bassem left Bain & Company as a Case Team Leader in March 2015 and joined Google as Industry Manager FMCG for the MENA region.

Ben Walton Former Head of Technology, dubizzle

Ben started his career working for a web agency in the UK, mainly working on the booking process for a large hotel chain. During this time Ben picked up a love of learning new technologies in the internet space and a keen interest in startups. In 2007 Ben moved to Dubai to become the lead developer and first employee of dubizzle, initially tasked with rebuilding the entire website from scratch. From there Ben was promoted to Director of Technology, helped the company grow to 150+ employees and go through 2 multi million dollar investment rounds. Ben founded an internal R&D department at dubizzle to look at new technologies and potential new businesses outside of the main product. Ben is now working on a few of his own startups focussed on health, fitness and motivation. Ben has a keen interest in building minimum viable products and testing assumptions on small budgets. When not wired into a Mac, Ben is a keen triathlete, mountain biker and runner competing in events all over the globe.

Bilal Kabbani Head of Large Customer Marketing at Google

Currently the Head of Large Customer Marketing at Google, Bilal is a seasoned sales and marketing professional with 13 years of cross-industry experience (FMCG, Telco and Travel), a background in strategy consulting and a passion for tech.

Brian Meenagh Partner, Latham & Watkins

Brian Meenagh is a partner at Latham & Watkins, leads its Middle East Technology Transactions and Cybersecurity practice and is an active member of its Emerging Companies practice. Brian has significant experience advising early stage companies on intellectual property, data privacy, cybersecurity and general commercial matters and prior to becoming a lawyer Brian was a technology analyst at Accenture and worked on a wide variety of systems implementation and outsourcing projects for major corporates and the UK government. Brian’s experience includes advising:
1. Mohamed Alabbar and the Public Investment Fund in connection with their $1 billion joint venture to establish Noon.com
2. Standard Chartered in its $50 million investment, as part of a $275 million consortium, in Souq.com
3. Dubizzle.com on various intellectual property and commercial contract matters
4. various UAE early-stage companies on intellectual property, privacy, cybersecurity and commercial contract matters related to operating their business in the UAE
5. a UAE-based FinTech startup in connection with establishing an online payment processing business
6. Takamol Holding, a company owned by the KSA Ministry of Labor on various projects to promote SMEs and start-ups in KSA, including the creation of Doroob.sa in conjunction with edX.org
7. a global US-based payment processor on operating in the UAE
8. a global US-based messaging company on operating in the UAE and KSA
9. a global US-based biotech company on operating in the UAE
10. a global US-based consumer electronics company on operating in the UAE
11. a global China-based e-commerce company on operating in the UAE and KSA

Chad Fox Founder & Managing Director, Disruptive.Legal

Chad operates out of Abu Dhabi Global Market under his own legal consultancy called Disruptive.Legal and is a regular speaker at start-up events such as Startup Weekend Dubai.  Prior to this Chad was an Associate at Bird & Bird in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Charbel Sarkis Sector Lead – Retail, E-Commerce, Technology and Telecom, Google MENA

Charbel joined Google in January 2012 and he is now leading the retail, e-commerce, telecom and technology businesses in MENA. Prior to Google, he spent several years in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in London and in strategy consulting at Booz & Co in MENA. He studied engineering at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon and completed a Masters in Strategic Management at HEC in France and an MBA at Harvard Business School. He is fluent in Arabic and French in addition to English.

Charlie Barlow Founder and CEO, Health at Hand

After 12 years as a private and investment banker in London, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Dubai, Charlie founded Rockfirst in 2012 in order to disrupt the way investment professionals think and act, while offering a modern-day platform for entrepreneurs to gain access to investment opportunities and capital. Charlie is the Founder and CEO of Health at Hand, the CEO of Chargifi Asia, a board director of RED BOX, RED CUBE and Hurree, and a mentor at Astrolabs (the only Google partnered technology academy in the Middle East and Africa).
Areas of focus:
1. Equity raising and access to investors
2. Board and non-executive representation
3. Preparation of investment documentation including Information Memorandum, Shareholder Agreements and the building of bespoke dynamic financial models
4. Industry contacts across hardware and software and geographically from Silicon Valley, through Europe, the Middle East and Asia
5. Presentation skills

Dina Amin Partner Manager, Google MENA

Dina joined Google in January 2015 as the Strategic Partner Manager for MENA. She works with the largest clients in the region to help them monetize their display, video & mobile inventory through programmatic advertising. She previously worked as the Head of Digital for Barclays and started her career at Proctor & Gamble. Her undergraduate degree is in Computer Science from the University of Manchester & she got a scholarship to read for an MBA at the London Business School. Dina is Iraqi / British and has been living in Dubai for the last 9 years.

Eddy Farhat Principal Analyst Retail, Google MENA

Eddy is the principal retail analyst at Google MENA. He is currently leading the thinking around eCommerce and retail digitization within Google’s MENA team. Recently, CSO and interim-CMO at MarkaVIP. Over the 3 years tenure, witnessed both early-stage bootstrapping and later-stage growth-coping challenges and successes. Formerly, strategy consultant with Booz&Company and freelance web and mobile software engineer.

Eddy Maroun Co-Founder, Anghami

Eddy is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. In late 2012, seizing the opportunity of a lack of proper digital music service, Eddy and his partner Elie Habib launched Anghami (meaning My Tunes in Arabic). Since then, Anghami has reached over 10 million users, streams close to 10 million licensed Arabic & English tracks and is integrated with 15 mobile operators. Anghami successfully raised $3.5M from VCs and partnered with MBC the top media group in the region to raise digital awareness. At Anghami, Eddy handles the business development and strategic partnerships among music labels, telcos, advertisers and media. Eddy holds a master in private law and an MBA in international business from Bordeaux Business School. Eddy is a musician at heart with a life long experience in live, digital and mobile entertainment. Eddy was selected an Endeavor high-impact entrepreneur in 2013 and a Lebanese Top Entrepreneur in 2012 and 2013.

Elie Habib Co-Founder, Anghami

Elie is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. In late 2012, seizing the opportunity of a lack of proper digital music service, Elie and his partner Eddy Maroun launched Anghami (My Tunes in Arabic).  Since then, and in less than 1 year, Anghami has reached over 3.7 million users, streams close to 5 million licensed Arabic & English tracks and is integrated with 7 mobile operators.  Anghami successfully raised $3M from VCs and partnered with MBC the top media group in the region to raise digital awareness. At Anghami, Elie runs the operations and product development, spending most of his time working between clouds, streams and pixels.  Before Anghami, Elie co-founded PowerMeMobile – a mobile messaging gateway provider. Prior to that, he was the CTO of one of the first portals in the Middle East Naharnet.com. Elie was selected an Endeavor high-impact entrepreneur in 2013 and a Lebanese top Entrepreneur in 2012 and 2013.

Eyad Latif Senior Associate, Latham & Watkins

Eyad Latif is a member of the Corporate Department and Emerging Companies and Mergers & Acquisitions practices. Eyad was previously resident in the firm’s New York and San Francisco offices. Eyad’s practice involves advising early stage companies on corporate and regulatory matters. Eyad’s experience includes advising: 1. Mohamed Alabbar and the Public Investment Fund in connection with their $1 billion joint venture to establish Noon.com
2. Standard Chartered in: (i) its $50 million investment, as part of a $275 million consortium, in Souq.com; and (ii) the sale of its minority interest in Souq.com to Amazon
3. Symphony Investments, an entity controlled by Mohamed Alabbar, in its €100 million purchase of a minority interest in Yoox Net-a-Porter Group
4. Symphony Investments in its €130 million joint venture with Yoox Net-a-Porter Group to create a Middle East-based online luxury fashion retailer
5. a UAE-based FinTech startup in connection with establishing an online payment processing business
6. a US-based security tech startup in connection with its expansion into the Middle East
7. a US-based enterprise communications startup in connection with its expansion into the Middle East
8. a US-based IT enterprise startup in connection with its expansion into the Middle East
9. a US-based digital investigations startup in connection with its expansion into the Middle East
10. Yahoo! on its acquisition of Maktoob.com, a leading Arabic-language Internet portal

Farid Gharazeddine Digital Marketing, Google MENA

Farid joined Google MENA in December 2013. He focuses on using Google’s measurement products to facilitate digital marketing decisions and achieve the best possible returns on digital advertising spends for MENA’s biggest retailers. Farid’s job is considered complete when every single digital marketing decision in a company is backed up by high-integrity, accurate data that has been interpreted properly. Farid is an engineer, a pilot and a musician in no particular order. Engineering is his foundation, aviation is his passion and music keeps him going.

Francoise Lamotte

Françoise Lamotte Head of Direct Sales & Digital Strategy, MetLife EMEA

Passionate about new business opportunities fostered by digital economy, new consumer behaviors and new technologies. Global and versatile manager: fluent in French and English, conversant in Japanese. Travelled in 60+ countries. Worked in Japan (7 years), USA (5 years). Worked for large groups : SG, BNP Paribas, AXA, BCG; as well as start ups / small firms : assetplanner.com, familyprotect.fr, eurofil.com, blablacar.com.

Jad El Boustani Associate Director at Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)

Jad currently holds the position of Associate Director at a leading technology VC firm in MENA (Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)) which manages more than $120M of assets. During his experience at MEVP, Jad worked on more than 30 VC transactions and assisted MEVP’s portfolio companies in their fundraising process and in their strategy definition. Prior to joining MEVP in July 2012, Jad worked as Project Manager at Truffle Capital as part of the Venture Capital Tech Team in Paris during which, he assisted in fundraising efforts and in the expansion of a build-up of startups specialized in mobile services. Prior to that, Jad worked as a financial analyst in the M&A department of Bank Lazard Brothers with a focus in EMEA Telecom and Technology. In 2010, he served as an auditor in the Finance division of General Electric Healthcare. Jad’s experience in Lebanon includes working as an analyst and developer at NavLink and as an IT developer at Societe Generale. Jad holds a degree in Telecom and Computer Engineering from the Lebanese University, and an MBA (with a finance and private equity emphasis) from the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, ESSEC (France).

Joanne Bou Jawad VP, iMENA Group

Joanne Bou Jawad is the Head of UAE of iMENA Group and the Head of Product Development of iMENA’s online classifieds business OpenSooq. She oversees product development at OpenSooq, and is responsible for sourcing and implementing iMENA Group’s corporate development initiatives out of the UAE. Prior to joining iMENA, Joanne was the Head of Digital Strategy at Namshi.com where she set-up and led all website and mobile application initiatives such as on-site analytics, conversion and performance optimization, product development, brand positioning and definition and content strategy setting across all sites and marketing channels. Before joining Namshi, Joanne was a Team Manager at Nokia Siemens Networks. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut.

Laith Zraikat Venture Partner, Arzan VC

Laith Zraikat, a Senior Investment Manager at Arzan Venture Capital, founded his first startup in 1997 with the aim to bring more people and more businesses in Jordan onto the World Wide Web. Three years later that business pivoted into what became one of the most notable startups in the Arab World -Jeeran.com. As co-founder of Jeeran, Laith served as Developer, Designer, Product Manager, Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer. His role was primarily overseeing and executing the company’s product vision, and growing its user base from a handful of close friends and acquaintances to nearly 7 million unique visitors. As Jeeran matured, Laith decided to leave in 2012 and pursue his true passion, working with startups. Since then he has worked with startup founders as a mentor, advisor, and sometimes as part of the team, on solving technical, product, and operational challenges. What he is proud of most are the hundreds of jobs he created for talented young women and men who all went on to start their own startups or assume leading roles at other companies. A self-taught technologist and a geek at heart, Laith enjoys working closely with passionate developers and designers on new and bold ideas. He still codes almost daily, and speaks fluent Arabic, English, Objective-C, PHP, C#, JavaScript, SQL, CSS, HTML, and a little bit of Python. Laith holds Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of Jordan

Magnus Olsson Co-Founder & MD, Careem

Magnus is the co-founder and Chief Navigator at Careem, Middle East’s leading chauffeur-driven car service. Prior to Careem, Magnus was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company where he was part of the high-tech practice and advised clients globally on strategy and business-building. Initially based in Stockholm, Magnus met his Arabic princess during a consulting project in Africa and moved to the Middle East in 2006. Already at the age of fifteen, Magnus founded his first company, an IT consultancy focused on helping SMEs. Magnus lives in Abu Dhabi with his wonderful wife and adorable daughter.

Marc Haidamous Analytical Lead, Google MENA

Marc joined Google as a Media Measurement Expert in the Dubai office in 2014. His focus is on building client’s capabilities and making sure that their customer’s online journey is fully tracked. He previously worked for the United Nations as a software developer. His undergraduate degree is in Computer Engineering from McGill University in Canada.
Marc’s passion is mainly in the culinary world.

Nicola Dalmazzo IM Marketplace, Google MENA

Nicola graduated from the Bocconi University in 2006 with a CEMS MIM Master and, after working in Toyota and L’Oreal, joined Google 5 years ago. After 2 years in Paris office, working with international clients like OLX and Schibsted, he joined the Dubai office in 2013 to support Emirates Airlines’s digital campaigns globally. Since January 2014, I lead the marketplace vertical across MENA, managing the relationship with leading regional companies such as Dubizzle, Avito, Bayt, Propertyfinder, Rocket Internet venture, etc.

Pamir Gelenbe Partner, Hummingbird Ventures

Pamir is a Partner at Hummingbird Ventures where he currently focuses his efforts on virtual currencies. He is also the founder of CoinSummit (www.coinsumm.it), a series of events in the US and Europe focused on virtual currencies. London-based, Pamir speaks fluent English, Turkish and French.  Previously, he co-founded MarkaVIP (www.markavip.com), the leading online apparel and accessories etailer in the MENA region, as well as On Device Research (www.ondeviceresearch.com) and Flytxt, (www.flytxt.com). Prior to that, he worked at Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, D.E.Shaw and Juno Online Services. Pamir received his BS in Electrical Engineering Summa Cum Laude from Duke University and a Master of Science in Operations Research from Columbia University.

Paolo Spiluttini VP Marketing for the mobile prepaid business at du

Prior to joining du, Paolo has been holding key leadership roles in few disruptive telecom operators across Europe, introducing and establishing new brands and disruptive propositions in the telecom space. Before moving to Dubai he held the position of Marketing Director for a new telecom player in Greece (On Telecoms) where he has launched the first 3-play portfolio based on the first local-loop-unbundling (LLU) proprietary network in Greece. Prior to On Telecoms, Paolo has worked in London as marketing and sales lead to set-up and grow a new Cable & Wireless business unit, Bulldog Broadband, introducing the first 2-play portfolio delivered through the first LLU proprietary network in UK. Before moving to UK Paolo was marketing manager at Fastweb in Milan,  a new player that has transformed the Italian telecom market by launching the first IPTV service in Europe through both FFTH and the LLU proprietary networks. Paolo holds a degree in Economics and Political Science from Universita’ degli Studi di Milano and an executive MBA from Cass of London.

Ravi Bhusari Managing Director & Co-Founder, DUPLAYS

Ravi co-founded DUPLAYS with his friend and now business partner in 2007. DUPLAYS builds sport communities in emerging markets and now has over registered 80,000 members, 20 full-time staff, operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Gurgaon, Doha, Amman, Riyadh and Jeddah. It has raised over $1.2M in investment from the region’s leading investors: MENA VI, Wamda, and Beco Capital. Prior to starting DUPLAYS, Ravi was employed as a Development Advisory Manager in Colliers International’s real estate practice and as a consultant at Investment Boutique LLC, both based in Dubai. Prior to Dubai, he worked as a Project Engineer at Halliburton in Canada. Ravi’s passion has always been for sports. He was awarded the Greater Montreal Athletic Association’s medal for Sportsmanship and was twice selected to Montreal’s All-Star Football team representing Lower Canada College, one of Canada’s most prestigious preparatory schools for boys. Ravi holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Ravi was selected as an Endeavor entrepreneur in 2013.

Robert Nurgberg Regional Marketing Director, LG Electronics MEA

Robert is an entrepreneur and driven intrapreneur with over 20 years experience inside both SMEs and global corporations. With a passion for creating change with marketing, business innovation, conceptual design and product development, the mix of working with both physical and digital products and services has made Robert an agile player in today’s business environment.
After moving to Dubai in 2010 to join LG Electronics, Robert has set up a regional design and concept function, established the regional SmartTV content business and revamped the B2B marketing. The ability to create results has given him mentor roles in a global perspective, and his profound passion to look beyond the innovation and the technology makes the distinctive differentiation when taking a product to market. The emphasis on customer experience, emotions, storytelling, and positioning elements always takes the center stage.

Ruchir Punjabi Founder & Chair, Langoor

Ruchir has built a 200+ people business across Asia Pacific. He has helped launched more than 60 startups over the last 7 years.
Talk to Ruchir about:
1. Business Validation,
2. Business Models,
3. User Acquisition,
4. Online and Offline Advertising,
5. Branding,
6. Hiring,
7. Scaling a Business,
8. Building a Board,
9. Asia Pacific markets including India.

Sany Kabbani Industry Analyst Tech / Telco, Google MENA

After graduating from the American University of Beirut (Bachelor of Engineering) in 2006, Sany moved into consulting with Booz & Company. He worked primarily in the telecom sector on different projects (business plans, marketing strategy, sales strategy, etc.) and with different business units. After 3 years as a consultant, he went to complete his MBA from Harvard Business School after which he returned to consulting for 2 years working again with telecom companies. He moved to Yahoo in 2013 for a year as sales manager for telecom and tech before joining Google in January 2015 as Industry Analyst for tech/telco. His role is to present relevant insights to clients using Google internal data and to advise clients on how best to think about their digitization strategy.

Sebastian Reis Business Development Manager, Checkout.com

Sebastian has been running Checkout’s MENA operations for the past 2 years in which time he has built a deep understanding of the region’s various quirks when it comes to payments. Originally from London, Sebastian spent the first part of his working life in finance before upping sticks and decamping to Dubai. Having already helped over 100 merchants from the region with their payment needs, Sebastian is well placed to answer any and all questions related to payments, optimisation of the checkout process and risk/fraud management.

Sheriff Rizwan Founder, ALSHOP.com

Sheriff founded ALSHOP.com, an online shopping portal and e-commerce company, in March 2008. ALSHOP.com is based in Dubai, UAE and currently has a team of 30+ including designers and developers. They have a wide range of product listings and showcase numerous brands of consumer goods from electronics, IT gadgets, perfumes, home appliances and lifestyle products. Sheriff has been fortunate to have travelled and worked in several continents and proud to have a rich network of friends from all walks of life and business industries.  His education background has been economics, but have taken interest in self learning about people management and marketing.

Souheil Soueid Agency Head, Google MENA

Souheil lived his life between Lebanon and France. He studied in France in Paris and Grenoble where he received his masters in 2006 (Grenoble Ecole de Management). He worked two years in Paris in an SME driving sales with large retail chains. Then joined Google Dublin in 2006. He moved to Dubai in 2008 to help start operations in the region and work with large customers across multiple sectors in MENA. Recently, he was head of finance in MENA where he set up the team and strategy and worked with financial institutions and banks helping them in their transition online. Currently, he heads the agency performance business supporting large agency groups and smaller independent agencies setup and grow their performance arm.

Tarek Yafi Industry Manager, E-Commerce and Omnichannel Retail, MENA at Google

Tarek joined Google’s EU HQ in 2008 working on the advertising and products team of MENA.  Currently leading the Retail industry in MENA with a strong focus on Omni-Channel Retail and E-commerce. Working closely with Top Retailers in MENA helping them in their journey moving towards Omni-Channel models. Passionate about E-Commerce, Digital Marketing and Analytics. Holds degrees in Business Marketing and Management Information systems from the American University in Beirut.