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THE LEADING TECH FESTIVAL FOR EMERGING MARKETS

WHAT YOU GET

ALL-ACCESS TICKETS

Approved startups get the Startup Package which includes 2 Master Pass tickets with access to everything at the conference including programming, and special invitations to satellite events.

FREE BRANDED BOOTH

Showcasing startups are offered a branded booth for 1 day to showcase their latest product or service at the conference to investors, potential clients, partners, and event attendees.

PRIORITY ACCESS

Showcasing Startups get priority booking for the Pitch Competition, Mentor’s Corner, Investor Meetings, Workshops, Meet-Ups, and Satellite Events.

 

STARTUP BASECAMP

400 global startups participated at Step 2023’s Startup Basecamp across 6 tracks to showcase their products and services. Showcasing Startups had a chance to meet with regional investors and VCs, gather leads, and network with potential clients and partners

PITCH COMPETITION

Showcasing startups get the chance to participate at Step’s flagship Pitch Competition to present their products and services to leading investors and industry experts.

Mentor’s Corner

Mentorship sessions are hosted for startups and entrepreneurs to participate in 1-on-1 sessions and group sessions focused on specific topics.

Investor Meetings

Participating startups and entrepreneurs get to book 1-on-1 sessions with leading investors from the region from pre-seed to early and growth stage investors.

Pitch Competition Judges

Julien Plouzeau

Oraseya Capital

Julien Plouzeau

Oraseya Capital

Julien is a Senior Partner at Oraseya Capital, spearheading the investments across all stages and managing the fund’s portfolio. He has been in the UAE startup ecosystem since 2012, as a founder then as Principal & Portfolio Manager of Dtec Ventures since 2019, holding board duties. He previously worked as an Investment Banker for Societe Generale CIB in Italy.

Ned Jaroudi

Lancor

Ned Jaroudi

Lancor

Ned leads Lancor’s practice in the MENA region, working on executive and board searches for tech scaleups, regional conglomerates as well as international TMT companies looking to expand in the region. Previously, he held senior roles at exited startups in the US and the Middle East, and launched the first international startup incubator in MENA, in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation. He has also worked with private and public sector organizations like AWS, Intel, CA Technologies, UAE Prime Minister’s Office, and Expo 2020 Dubai, where he established and ran lines of business and innovation functions in the UAE, Middle East, Europe, and Africa. He has served as founding Board Member, United Nations ICT Arab Task Force; Board Member, Young Arab Leaders; founding President, Stanford UAE Alumni Club; Executive Committee Member, INSEAD UAE NAA; and Steering Committee Member, in5 Tech Innovation Centre. Ned holds an M.S. from Stanford University, a B.S. from Northeastern University, and an Executive Education Certificate in Management from INSEAD.

Stephanie Nour Prince

Nuwa Capital

Stephanie Nour Prince

Nuwa Capital

Stephanie Nour is partner at Nuwa Capital where she leads on network, LP engagement and operations. Prior to Nuwa, Stephanie was Wamda’s Director of Communications and Outreach, working on outreach and partnerships with multiple stakeholders in the MENA startup ecosystem. At Wamda, she focused on building the brand and community since joining in 2012, and led on projects such as the MIT Media Lab workshop Dubai, the American University of Beirut’s Reboot Beirut Hackathon, and the Crown Prince Court’s Minds on a Mission Design Thinking workshop among other programs and deal sourcing activities. She has a BS in Computer Science with a minor in Creative Writing from the American University of Beirut. Previously, she worked on both the product and community fronts of converged communication media startup Telephone.com.

Khalil Alami

Telr

Khalil Alami

Telr

Khalil Alami is the Founder & CEO of the leading online payment gateway, Telr. Khalil has more than two decades of experience in the financial services sector, including 19 years in the payment and card industry, with a focus on payment infrastructure and system implementation. Khalil has deep knowledge of industry structure, with emphasis on card processing and settlement, the four-party system, international payments architecture, electronic and mobile payments, consumer touch points, and network security. Khalil is also a Member of the Regional Fintech Working Group of the Arab Monetary Fund. Khalil has an MBA from the American University of Beirut and a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University in Economics.

Areije Al Shakar

Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds

Areije Al Shakar

Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds

Areije Al Shakar is a senior leader in Bahrain’s financial industry, bringing 20 years of experience in the startup and banking sectors to Al Waha Fund of Funds via her role as Senior Vice President at Bahrain Development Bank. A regular media commentator and columnist for outlets including CNBC, Entrepreneur magazine and Arabian Business, Areije is often called upon to offer high-level analysis of the full-entrepreneurship cycle, public policy, and ecosystem development within the region. She has been featured among Bahrain’s Most Influential Women by Business in Gulf. Areije is also a Kauffman Fellow and the co- chairperson of the prestigious investment program’s MENA Chapter. At Al Waha, Areije manages the fund of funds with a mandate to build out a venture capital ecosystem within the region. In pursuit of this goal, Areije has spearheaded several initiatives including the pioneering Rowad Program, an entrepreneurship platform and SeedFuel-Rowad, an early stage funding program. Before joining BDB, Areije worked in banking and advisory roles at BNP Paribas, and Lehman Brothers, contributing to setting up their respective Advisory and Investment Management desks for the wider region. She also worked at Citibank and Investcorp B.S.C. Areije graduated from the John Molson School of Business with a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and holds a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Areije she enjoys literature and has been recognized as a talented writer and story

Ivan Jakovljevic

Hub71

Ivan Jakovljevic

Hub71

Ivan is an experienced leader with a 20+ years track record in tech, start-ups and venture capital. Ivan is the Founder and CEO of Jakov Advisory, a boutique advisory and investment firm working with funds, start-ups and ecosystem builders to create value through tech and entrepreneurship. Ivan is an active and prominent member of the startup and investment community in the emerging markets. He is an advisor and member of the selection committee at Hub71 (startup ecosystem builder in Abu Dhabi) and Science Technology Park Belgrade (startup ecosystem builder in Serbia). He is also a Board member at Sary, and a former Board member at Telfaz 11, venture backed startups from Saudi Arabia. Ivan is also an active angel investor, having invested in 3 startups and 2 early stage venture funds in the US and Africa in the past 2 years. Former Google executive, Ivan was previously the Chief Development Officer at STV, the largest venture capital fund in the Middle East and North Africa region with more than $800M in assets under management. At STV, Ivan was leading portfolio support and value creation, helping STV portfolio companies address key challenges to scale, such as talent, marketing & growth, business development and strategy. Before joining STV, Ivan was Regional Lead for new markets at Google MENA and Principal at Booz & Company, consultants. Ivan holds a Masters in Logistics and Transport Engineering from Belgrade University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Keltoum Zniber

Bolt Consultancy

Keltoum Zniber

Bolt Consultancy

Keltoum Zniber relocated from London to Dubai to join Bolt Consultancy as a Program Director. Keltoum brings with her years of experience in the UK & global tech scene where she led multiple programs. Her background ranges from ESG, tech, programming, operations to being a founder herself. Keltoum is currently managing the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund’s Accelerator program as part of Bolt, one of the service delivery partners. The accelerator program is aimed to enhance the growth potential of the most innovative and disruptive businesses in the UAE and abroad. MBRIF focuses on the seven sectors of the UAE National Innovation Strategy: Space, Transport, Education, Technology, Water, Clean Energy and Health.

Ritesh Tilani

Enhance Ventures

Ritesh Tilani

Enhance Ventures

Ritesh Tilani is the founder of Enhance Ventures, a venture studio focused on the future of finance and commerce in the MENAPT region. Before launching Enhance Ventures, Ritesh was Head of UAE at iMENA Group, a leading regional VC and operator of online businesses. Ritesh is an active player in the Middle East tech ecosystem as an investor, board member, advisor and mentor to multiple startups and at a number of accelerators. Ritesh is also a regular speaker and judge at various events and startup competitions. Ritesh is a native of the UAE with over 30 years of experience in the region. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from INSEAD. Ritesh is an avid squash player, having played for Penn’s NCAA 1st Division varsity squash team.

Sion Hau

Plug and Play

Sion Hau

Plug and Play

Sion leads the Plug and Play UAE ventures team that focuses on investing in early stage B2B startups. She has experience in investing across the US and MENA region with a focus on health and insuretech. Sion also manages the relationships between startups and Plug and Play’s corporate innovation network of partners across the GCC.

Startup Testimonials

Paolo Khayat. CEO at Libas

“Step conference has been a key enabler in connecting with prominent VCs and angels. Not only did it fast-track our relationships, but also assisted in immediately breaking the ice with investors.”

Sahar Morhal. COO at Kagami Trading

“Engaging with investors at Step Conferences has been a game-changer for my startup. To secure funding, I’ve found that being well-prepared with a compelling pitch and a clear business plan is essential.”

Andrea Giannini. Co-Founder & CTO at Exovolar

“Step has been transformative for us. The true value of Step has been in the connections made and the relationships built. It’s the magic of these connections, sparked by a shared interest in our mission to make people fly, that has opened doors we hadn’t anticipated.”