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THE LEADING TECH FESTIVAL FOR EMERGING MARKETS


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Our Story

Step started out as a series of workshops and small gatherings, and over 11 years has grown to become the largest tech festival in Dubai. With 6 main tracks, more than 400 global startups showcasing, hundreds of global investors, and 8000+ global attendees over two days, Step brings the tech world to Dubai.

8000+

Attendees

400+

Showcasing Startups

100+

Participating Companies

$1+ Billion

Funding Present

conferences


2023 speakers

Andrew Lee Miller

GrowthExpertz

Andrew Lee Miller

GrowthExpertz

Andrew Lee Miller is an American startup marketing expert, also known as @AndrewStartups, who has driven growth for three startup exits including two in Dubai (Dubizzle and GoNabIt). After Dubai, Andrew moved to Silicon Valley and has since lectured in over 15 countries, written for INC magazine, StartupGrind, and StartupNation, and his first book entitled The Startup Growth Book is one of the top startup marketing books on Amazon. You can learn more about Andrew and how he helps startups grow at www.andrewstartups.com

Colin McDonagh

Velocity Global

Colin McDonagh

Velocity Global

Colin McDonagh leads the Emerging Business team at Velocity Global, which is focused on delivering products and services that simplify the process of working with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. Colin applies more than a decade of experience innovating programs to source top external talent for global companies. He is a frequent expert speaker and contributor on the topic of the Future of Work and was the architect for Meta’s (formerly Facebook) highly respected Direct Source Program.

Priya Rajan

Silicon Valley Bank

Priya Rajan

Silicon Valley Bank

Priya is Market Lead for India and MENA in SVB’s international market development team, Global Gateway. She provides market entry advice and insights on cross-border engagement focused on constituents in the innovation ecosystem – founders and investors. Priya’s work with Indian entrepreneurs and venture capital funds has yielded tangible value with founders accessing leading programs in the U.S. like Y-Combinator and investors getting visibility of great founders and deals. Priya calls on her experience, expertise and connections to champion a more inclusive innovation economy. She works closely with community leaders, including Change Catalyst, Kapor Capital, and YC Female Founders. She sits on the board of directors at non-profits Big Brothers Big Sisters and Women Who Code – an organization dedicated to helping women excel in technology careers. As a venture partner at Xfund, Priya connects VC firms with superior research universities and advisor at Entrepreneurship at Cornell University. Priya co-created the Diaspora Community initiative at SVB and is a charter member of TiE, a nonprofit focused on nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs with Indian ties. Prior to joining Global Gateway, Priya was a Director in our early stage practice (Startup Banking) where she led university programs and SVB Trek for student entrepreneurs. Leading to partnerships with Dorm Room Fund, The House Fund, Stanford Venture Studio and Rough Draft Ventures. Priya’s career at SVB Financial Group began as a global group financial officer, a pivotal role in the Finance team. Earlier in her career, she held financial management positions at Charles Schwab and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from the University of Madras and a master’s degree in international business from Queen’s University, Priya holds an MBA in business administration from Cornell University and a California CPA in accounting and business administration. Priya enjoys travelling the world, opening doors, and meeting new people. When not on a plane, Priya enjoys classical music – after studying music for over a decade, she passed on this passion and skill to her two children.

Mohannad Ali

Hotjar

Mohannad Ali

Hotjar

Mohannad Ali is the CEO of Hotjar, the Product Experience Insights software of choice for small and medium businesses. Before joining Hotjar in 2019, he was VP of Engineering at HelloFresh, and at Hotjar, Mohannad initially held the role of Chief Product and Technology Officer.

Nora Ali

Morning Brew

Nora Ali

Morning Brew

Nora Ali is the CEO & Co-Founder of an upcoming entertainment venture, and host at Morning Brew. Nora recently covered tech, business, and entertainment news at Cheddar, anchoring daily from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, where she also created, produced, and hosted several specialty TV series. Nora previously led teams of engineers and designers as a Senior Product Manager at Jet.com and started her career on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs. As a child of Bangladeshi immigrants, Nora is passionate about elevating historically excluded voices and telling the stories of those who feel like ‘outsiders.’

Laila Bin Hareb ALmheiri

Alive Holistic

Laila Bin Hareb ALmheiri

Alive Holistic

Laila Bin Hareb Almheiri is an Emirati serial entrepreneur, the founder & CEO of Alive Group, a keynote speaker, and an expert on multiple disciplines with more than three decades of experience in transforming the aviation, cybersecurity, public transportation, and holistic healthcare sectors. She used her knowledge of organic leadership, organizational transformation, and digital innovation to contribute immensely to the development of the UAE.

David Henry

NOMO FINTECH

David Henry

NOMO FINTECH

Beginning his career in Investment Advisory in London, David has been working in the financial services sector for the past 10 years. Moving to the UAE five years ago, David has built two digital banks, working as both a Chief of Staff and a Chief Operating Officer. Currently working as the COO at Nomo Fintech, a Shariah-compliant digital challenger banking platform provider, David is a passionate fintech leader and keen advocate of organisational agility and promoting cultures of innovation and continuous improvement.

G.V. Ravishankar

Sequoia India

G.V. Ravishankar

Sequoia India

GV Ravishankar, Managing Director, Sequoia India At Sequoia, GV Ravishankar advises on both technology as well as non-technology investments. He’s deeply interested in technology’s role in helping to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and improve access in consumer and healthcare markets. He currently serves on the boards of companies in the Middle East such as Huspy, Lean Technologies, and Tabby. Others across India include – axio, BYJUs, Eruditus Learning, Faces Cosmetics, Five Star Business Finance, Finova Capital, HomeLane, India Shelter Finance Corporation, Indigo Paints, K12 Technoservices, Prataap Snacks (NSE: DIAMONDYD), Rebel Foods, Rupeek, Suburban Diagnostics and Turtlemint. Prior to this, GV worked at McKinsey & Company, where he advised senior management of top Indian companies on a variety of issues including business building, channel management and leadership development. He also had a prior stint with Wipro Technologies in their Embedded and Internet Access division. GV is the recipient of the Midas Touch award by Economic Times Startup Awards 2020 and IIM Ahmedabad’s Young Alumni Achiever’s Award, 2019-20 in the Corporate Leadership category.

Amal Dokhan

500 Global

Amal Dokhan

500 Global

Amal is a seasoned professional with experience in startup investments, corporate innovation, and consulting in the MENA region. Previous to joining 500 Global, Ms. Dokhan was the Managing Director of Babson Global for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Previously, she was the Manager of Learning and Design at the Entrepreneurship Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology where she led the New Ventures Acceleration and Corporate Innovation programs. Prior to that engagement she worked in the KAUST Seed Fund developing marketing and events, while also providing a range of services to startup clients. Ms. Dokhan sits on the board of several organizations such as Wayakit Company, Cranfield University UK, King Abdulaziz University. She contributes to a monthly column at Leaders Magazine on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and has been a speaker at Davos World Economic Forum, TEDx at Kaust, the Annual Conference of the Islamic Development Bank, among others. Ms. Dokhan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, English Language & Literature from the King Abdul Aziz University, and a Masters of Strategic Marketing and Marketing Management from the University of Wollongong.

PADMINI GUPTA

XARE

PADMINI GUPTA

XARE

Padmini Gupta is the Co-founder and CEO of Xare. Xare is one of the fastest-growing fintechs globally now with more than 2 million users. Xare won Entrepreneur’s “Fastest Growing Fintech of the Year” for 2021. She began her entrepreneurial journey with Rise, a fintech platform that democratizes access to essential financial services for millions of migrants globally. Rise was Entrepreneur’s “MENA Fintech of the Year” for 2020. Rise launched Xare which was inspired by its migrant customers, and allows anyone, anywhere to share money with anyone, anywhere. Before her entrepreneurship journey, she was an award-winning Banker from California, a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow, and an Oxford MBA.

Step 2023 presented by

Super Partners

WHAT GOES ON

TALKS AND WORKSHOPS

Step hosts 4 stages of content, and running workshops and programming simultaneously covering everything startups, digital media, fintech, and future tech.

STARTUP PROGRAMMING

With over 400 startups showcasing and more than 1000 entrepreneurs attending, Step hosts multiple programs to facilitate connections with investors, clients, partners.

SATELLITE EVENTS & MEET-UPS

Step curates focused networking opportunities and meet-ups across industries, job levels, and interests hosted by VCs, incubators, digital agencies, and other partners. 

EXHIBITION AREAS

Tech companies and brands across multiple industries participate at Step so startups and attendees get a chance to connect with their next partner, client and learn about what’s new in the market.

BRAND ACTIVATIONS

Leading brands in the tech and digital space from FMCG brands to automotive companies, banks, media companies, and tech solutions, host first-of-their-kind activities to interact with attendees and startups. 

ENTERTAINMENT

Step’s festival format creates engaging networking opportunities beyond conference programming with outdoor activities with food trucks, music performances, and pop-up vendors all across the event areas.