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Ronaldo Mouchawar

VP Amazon MENA & Turkey

Amazon

Episode 76

Ronaldo Mouchawar reveals how he built Souq.com into MENA's e-commerce giant, leading to its $580 million acquisition by Amazon. Hear his personal stories, industry insights, and what's next for him.

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Episode 75

Jonathan unpacks his learnings from his time at Rocket Internet and being a Co-CEO of 2 scale-ups, Jumia in Nigeria and Daraz in South Asia. Today, Jonathan invests in founders, helps them find co-founders and launch a startup with Antler MENAP

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Episode 74

Dana and I go through her journey building MUNCH:ON from how she met her co-founder to figuring out governance, product testing, to fundraising, to scaling and dealing with an existential crisis to selling the business. A must listen!

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Episode 73

What can Middle East founders learn from the China tech playbook? How can the Venture capital community come together to attract global funding? What are the winning industries for MENA? A super insightful conversation!

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Episode 72

I sat down with Huda Al-Lawati, a veteran Private Equity executive to discuss the development of the industry in the Middle East & North Africa. Who qualifies for PE? What are the opportunities? The challenges? and what to expect from PE funds?

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Episode 71

I sat down with Hassan Sawaf to learn about his work in AI particularly building aiXplain. Imagine GPT-4, Gemini, LLaMA and thousands more in 1 place and aiXplain would leverage them to build you a custom tool with little or no-code. Welcome to the future

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Episode 70

I sat down with Jihad El Eit to unpack his experience building Kaykroo a hybrid kitchen startup serving 40 in-house brands across the UAE & Saudi. Jihad shares his journey, fundraising challenges and learnings! A great listen to entrepreneurs in F&B

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Episode 69

In this special episode shot live from the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival on February 4th 2024, Steven and I discuss the power of personal branding, authenticity, entrepreneurship and more! A truly inspiring conversation

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Allen Taylor

Managing Partner

Endeavor Catalyst

Episode 68

Venture capital is a long term game. Allen describes the work that Endeavor Catalyst does to support entrepreneurs globally through mentorship, investment and overall ecosystem development. He shares great advice to founders and emerging fund managers!

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Episode 67

Elie and I discuss Anghami's transformation during the Covid/ Post Covid era. We discuss their dramatic move from Lebanon to Abu Dhabi, their NASDAQ New York listing and their recent merger with OSN+. An episode that is personal and highly informative!

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Episode 66

Philip and I unpack the Emerging Venture Markets 2023 report recently published by MAGNiTT. We go beyond the numbers and discuss the trends that shaped 2023, the impact on the regional startup ecosystem, Saudi Arabia bucking the trend and 2024 predictions

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Loulou Khazen

Investor & Host

Episode 65

We're looking back at 2023's most practical advice distilled from the 19 episodes shot over the year. Hear from top entrepreneurs, VCs and industry experts on confidence, culture, startups exits and investing.

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Loulou Khazen

Entrepreneur & Investor

Episode 64

We're looking back at 2023's biggest AHA moments. The common theme across all 19 episodes recorded in 2023 has been 'resilience'. Enjoy these inspiring moments and insights from some of our guests

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Episode 63

Ali and I discuss his fascinating journey building Volt - a car pooling app - then Volt Lines - a B2B mobility platform - and the near fatal experiences he's had to endure including Volt Line's exit to Swvl. A masterclass in entrepreneurship!

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Episode 62

Ryan and I discuss the technologies RedSea is building from the heart of KAUST in Saudi Arabia to feed the world sustainably. We go through the lifecycle of taking an idea through R&D, manufacturing, testing and into the hands of customers.

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Tomaso Rodriguez

Chief Executive Officer

talabat

Episode 61

Tomaso shares his insights on running talabat, the largest food delivery platform operating in 8 Middle Eastern markets. We discuss operations, riders, revenue mix, mergers and acquisitions, innovation and we learn about Tomaso's leadership style.

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GV Ravishankar

Managing Partner

Peak XV

Episode 60

GV and I discuss the state of growth stage venture capital investing with a special focus on the MENA region. We discuss Peak XV's investment strategy, what he looks for in target companies, advice for growth stage founders and early stage investors.

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Dr. Saliha Afridi

Clinical Psychologist and Founder

The Lighthouse Arabia

Episode 59

No is a powerful word and can be quite disheartening. Dr. Afridi and I discuss how we can prepare better and recover from rejection without letting it derail us. We also discuss the need to create safe spaces for expression in light of the ongoing war

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Dr. Ali Fenwick

Professor of Organizational Behavior & Innovation

Hult International Business School

Episode 58

Dr. Ali Fenwick and I discuss the impact of AI on our identity and the workforce, why does ChatGPT feel sentient, why should AIs be more human like, how he leveraged the predictability of algorithms to build a ~2million audience on TikTok and Instagram

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Episode 57

Philip and I unpack the latest Emerging Venture Markets H1 2023 report published by MAGNiTT. We discuss venture capital investment trends, investor behavior, winning and emerging industries, artificial intelligence and Elon Musk's work ethic!

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Marwan Chaar & Hassan Jaffar

Co-founders

Carzaty

Episode 56

Marwan & Hassan wanted to make buying a used car, a high trust and digital first experience. They co-founded Carzaty in Oman in 2018 and exited to Kavak 3 years later. We discuss their analytical approach to founding Carzaty and their ultimate win!

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Mudassir Sheikha

Co-founder & CEO

Careem

Episode 55

Mudassir is the Co-founder & CEO of Careem, the MENAP region's biggest startup success story to date with a $3.1Bn exit to Uber in 2020. We discuss learnings from the various phases of Careem and what the future holds. Buckle up!

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Zuhair Shamma & Rawan Baddour

Co-founders

Zest Equity

Episode 54

Zuhair & Rawan are the co-founders of Zest Equity, a platform that enables secondary transactions for startups and a host of liquidity-as-a-service products. We discuss syndications, secondaries, ESOP and the maturity of the MENA startup ecosystem.

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Kareem Elsirafy

Managing Partner

Modus Capital

Episode 53

Kareem is the Managing Partner at Modus Capital, a regional venture builder. We discuss lessons from his training as a US Marine, as an entrepreneur and we dive into the role of venture builders in supporting startup founders

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Bill Connor

Founder & CEO

Three Media Consultancy

Episode 52

I sat with Bill Connor, Founder & CEO of Three Media Consultancy to discuss the art of presenting confidently, a skill that no entrepreneur or leader can ignore. Bill shares tips on how to prepare the content, present and deliver a strong ask.

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Episode 51

Basil is the General Partner at Nclude, a Venture Capital firm based in Egypt investing in fintech startups. We discuss the impact of the global macro environment on our startup ecosystem, specifically on Egyptian startups facing spiraling inflation.

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Binod Shankar

Executive Coach & Market Analyst

Episode 50

Binod is an ex finance executive, ex founder and current executive coach and market analyst. We discuss inflation, bank failures, startup valuations and their impact on us as founders, business leaders and individuals living in the GCC

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Episode 49

Adam founded One Moto to electrify last mile delivery across the world. He bootstrapped his way to selling ~10,000 electric vehicles/ month in 6 markets, raising $150Mn in financing and winning multiple awards. Adam shares his learnings.

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Carine el Khazen Hadati

Clinial Lead, Psychology Services (Dubai)

ACPN

Episode 48

Carine is a leading clinical psychologist in Dubai. On the occasion of International Women's Day 2023, we discuss the impact of inequities on women's mental health, how to raise resilient and independent girls, how to stop judging and shaming women.

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Hossam Allam

General Partner

Climate Resilience Fund

Episode 47

Hossam is a marine oceanographer turned climate fund manager. We discuss the nature economy, regenerative farming, insect protein, food security and why our (MEA) region is particularly vulnerable vis-a-vis the Global North.

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Nima Abu Wardeh

Founder

LearnCommunicate.com

Episode 46

Nima is an award winning journalist. She was the presenter of The Middle East Business Report on BBC world. Nima shares tips on how we can become effective communicators and get what we want.

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Philip Bahoshy

Founder & CEO

Magnitt

Episode 45

Philip and I unpack the latest Emerging Venture Markets 2022 report recently published by Magnitt. We discuss venture capital investment trends, winning industries, 2023 predictions and advice for founders. A great way to set the scene for 2023.

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Sufyan Al Issa, Ph.D

Head of the UAE

International Finance Corporation

Episode 44

Sufyan Al Issa, Ph.D heads the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the UAE. We discuss the IFC's multibillion dollar investments based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a key focus on inclusiveness and reducing the gender gap

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Episode 43

Dr. Druggan is an experienced educator and leader, he is currently the Superintendent at the American School of Dubai. We discuss the role of the school today and in the future, how we raise kids that are whole and how we deal with mental health

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Dr. Raf Fatani

Regional General Manager

Amazon Alexa, MENA

Episode 42

Dr. Raf Fatani is spearheading Amazon Alexa in Arabic globally. We discuss the challenges of building voice technology in Arabic from the ground up, what is the utility of a virtual assistant today and what does the future look like

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Episode 41

Dr. Noah Raford is a globally respected futurist with extensive experience helping governments think big and translate ideas into policy. We discuss the future of gaming, why we need to care and what we should be doing about it

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Episode 40

Christian Eid is one of the few who played a critical role in Careem's early days that lead to its eventual $3.1Bn sale to Uber. We discuss Careem's secret sauce, the role of culture and his unconventional approach to talent matching via NoBueno

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Episode 39

We've all heard of the metaverse, but what does it truly mean and should we care? I speak to Fares Akkad, Meta's regional director for MENA about his company's $10Bn push into the metaverse. We also discuss the commercial opportunities for MENA creators.

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Basel Anabtawi

Co-founder

Rising Giants Network

Episode 38

We talk to Basel Anabtawi about his transition from podcaster and host of Basel Meets to entrepreneur and co-founder of Rising Giants Network. We discuss the challenges of starting up, monetizing podcasts and working with brands.

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Episode 37

We talk to Sara Chemmaa about stumbling into entrepreneurship inspired by her toddler's unusual mealtime needs. We discuss entrepreneurship, manufacturing, fundraising for a non-tech startup and building a global brand.

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Kamal Dimachkie

Eddie Maalouf

Tough Love Advisors

Episode 36

Kamal Dimachkie and Eddie Maalouf are veteran marketing and communications experts and partners at newly launched Tough Love Advisors. We discuss the challenges of new beginnings, brand building, marketing, social media and more.

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Episode 35

We talk to Feras Jalbout about his jump from employment to entrepreneur to build Baraka, an investment platform for the MENA region's young generation. We discuss his experience with Y Combinator, the world's top accelerator and how to navigate volatility

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Episode 34

We talk to Ralph R. Debbas about pioneering the automotive industry in the Middle East. A 15 year journey that saw him create some of the world's most exquisite high performance luxury cars. This is the story of Ralph's W Motors.

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Dr. Louise Lambert

Psychologist, Researcher & Professor

HappinessMatters.org

Episode 33

We talk to Dr. Lambert about positive psychology, happiness and meaning, in life and at the workplace. We wrap up with insights from Dr. Lambert's research (a podcast scoop!) on the impact of school systems on our children's wellbeing.

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Episode 32

We talk to Rashid Al Ghurair about building Cafu, the first on-demand fuel delivery company in the Middle East. We discuss fundraising, growth, sustainability and the future of fuel and mobility.

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Omran Sharaf

Project Director

Emirates Mars Mission

Episode 31

We talk to Omran Sharaf about leading one of the most significant projects the UAE has undertaken, the "Hope Probe". We discuss what it takes to deliver such a project, what we can learn from Mars and the impact of this mission for generations to come.

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Episode 30

We talk to Jonathan Labin about taking a one year sabbatical from a high powered career at Facebook followed by a shift to startups as he joins Unifonic, a Saudi born startup. We discuss scale-ups, culture and 2022's tech trends!

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Episode 29

We talk to Talal Tabbaa about his entrepreneurial journey and his passion for crypto having co-founded Jibrel and CoinMENA. We touch on ICOs, the business of exchanges, the disruption that crypto will create and Bitcoin at $600,000!

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Shant Oknayan

Head of Global Business Solutions Eastern Europe & MEA

ByteDance (TikTok)

Episode 28

We talk to Shant Oknayan about building the regional footprint of one of the fastest growing startups globally. We zoom in on culture and our digital lives. We close with a deeply personal story and we learn about its impact on Shant's leadership style.

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Mohamad Ballout

Co-Founder & CEO

Kitopi

Episode 27

We talk to Mohamad Ballout about his remarkable journey building Kitopi, a UAE cloud kitchen unicorn with a vision to satisfy the world's appetite. We learn about Kitopi's operations, challenges, company culture, fundraising journey, investors and more.

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Episode 26

We talk to Nadine Mezher, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Sarwa about the importance of saving and investing early as well as smartly. We also discuss Nadine's journey as an entrepreneur and her tips on fundraising

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Dr. Saliha Afridi

Clinical Psychologist & Founder

The LightHouse Arabia

Episode 25

We talk to Dr. Afridi about unlocking our potential as individuals and business leaders. She offers great tips on listening to our spirit, taking back our power, unleashing creativity and healing both our body and mind.

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Episode 24

We talk to Emaan Abbass about facing taboos head on and launching Ketish, a luxury feminine and sexual wellness brand under the Huda Beauty umbrella. We cover Emaan's personal health challenges, chasing her dreams and working with the Kattan sisters.

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Episode 23

We talk to Cedric Betis, athlete, entrepreneur and member of the Dubai Future Council on Health & Wellbeing about the need to look after our physical and mental wellness and how we can achieve our wellness goals.

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Noor Sweid

General Partner

Global Ventures

Episode 22

We talk to Noor Sweid about building a top tier Venture Capital firm in the Middle East & North Africa region. We cover startup exits, mega fundraising rounds, fund returns and how we can make entrepreneurship more inclusive.

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Episode 21

We talk to Ramez Shehadi about the role of Facebook in enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in MENA. We then tackle company culture, entrepreneurship, angel investing and why governments should add more focus when funding startups and SMEs.

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Daniel Ahmed

Co-founder & Head of Operations

Fasset

Episode 20

Daniel Ahmed and his partners want to help crypto fans in MENA trade currencies, get informed and educated about the space and gain access to asset backed cryptos tokenized by Fasset.

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Kristel Bechara

Visual Artist

Atelier Kristel

Episode 19

We talk to Kristel Bechara, the award-winning Lebanese artist residing in Dubai about her experience being the first artist from the MENA region to mint and sell NFTs. We also give you an overview of NFTs, their benefits and where they're headed.

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Brahms Chouity

Serial Entrepreneur

DaddyFoody

Episode 18

Brahms Chouity wanted to be successful for as long as he can remember. His raw ambition and drive led him down the entrepreneurial route where he founded several businesses but a major blow to his health forced him to reconsider everything

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Tara Rogers-Ellis

Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Mojo

Episode 17

Tara Rogers-Ellis, a veteran Dubai based communications & PR expert shares valuable advice on how to launch a PR agency, hire great talent, grow and succeed in a crowded space. She also shares tips for CEOs to better leverage their PR teams and partners

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Episode 16

Mishaal Al Gergawi is one of the UAE’s top thinkers and intellectuals, a curiosity machine and a collector of impressions. We learn about his fascinating journey from finance to columnist to entrepreneur building the Facebook of the B2B world

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Ali Matar

Head of EMEA Emerging Markets

LinkedIn

Episode 15

Ali Matar was LinkedIn's first hire for the MENA region tasked to set up and build their business. We hear Ali's views on defining priorities, hiring diverse teams, the impact of COVID on how we work and the importance of upskilling

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Episode 14

Khaled Kteily is building the world's largest fatherhood company. Born out of Harvard Innovation Lab, Legacy wants to change the outdated view that fertility is a women's issue. We hear Khaled's story from management consultant to entrepreneur

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