2015 was an inspirational year for TechWadi. Internally, we expanded our team, recruited some of the strongest advocates of technology in MENA to join our expanding board, and grew our army of support and knowledge with the addition of a Board of Advisors. Externally, we officially launched our Sprint Acceleration program and mentored five companies in Silicon Valley, lead a four-city roadshow in partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs that brought us across accelerators in the Middle East, and hosted the most successful Annual Forum in TechWadi’s history, drawing in participants from all over the globe.
But taking a step back, our impact can only truly be measured by the looking at the success of the MENA startup ecosystem. As TechWadi continues to support the region’s leading entrepreneurs, we’re pleased to see the parallel of growth in MENA’s tech market.
The tech ecosystem development in MENA has been astoundingly positive, and we look forward to continue helping foster that success. Here’s to scaling above and beyond in 2016!
Co Chair and Head Mentor, TechWadi
Partner, VCs & Startups, Google
With all the momentum generated by TechWadi in 2015, we’re excited to embark on a new year, with intentions to continue strengthen our programs, grow our network, and scale our impact to new heights of measurable success.
To do so, we’ve launched 2016 with a new look, brand, and feel – colorful, energizing, and engaging - representative of the TechWadi entrepreneurs, investors, technology professionals, and community members that we serve.
We’ve also expanded our offerings: new membership tiers for MENA accelerators, global corporations, and social impact organizations mean that our community is growing in size, reach, and talent.
Finally, we’ve brought on Rama Chakaki, former TechWadi Board Member and Founder of BarakaBits to step in and take the lead as TechWadi’s Interim Executive Director.
Kicking off with a great start, we continue to expand on an upward trajectory and look forward to engaging with you in 2016.
Rana El Kaliouby
Co-Founder and CSO, Affectiva
TechWadi is the leading non-profit organization building bridges between Silicon Valley and the Arab world by facilitating access to mentorship, capital, and acceleration for high-impact entrepreneurs. From its beginnings in 2006 as the community of top Arab American technology professionals in Silicon Valley, TechWadi has evolved into a powerful platform for collaboration – with members and events spanning across the world.
In Silicon Valley, TechWadi brings together technology movers and shakers through conferences, networking events, workshops, and mentorship programs. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, TechWadi works with leading regional accelerators and international organizations to empower high impact entrepreneurs and help build a sustainable infrastructure to help entrepreneurship thrive and succeed.
TechWadi is embarking on this ambitious road with the help and backing of many friends: a strong Board of Directors and staff, a dedicated team of volunteers, a powerful network of community members, and key partners that share our bold vision. Leveraging our deep roots in Silicon Valley, the world’s entrepreneurship capital, we are con dent we can contribute to the Arab world’s ecosystem in an exceptional way.
As the MENA ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, so do the needs of the region’s most promising entrepreneurs. Key regional players are stepping up to help address these needs, however the local knowledge and connections are limiting for any start-ups seeking growth and expansion. With our large diaspora network of established technology professionals in Silicon Valley, the TechWadi community has demonstrated its success in helping mentor, finance, and support the objectives of MENA startups. Our community based approach to mentorship and acceleration gives entrepreneurs access to an ecosystem of resources, custom tailored directly to maximize impact.
Launched in 2015, The Sprint Acceleration Program is a one-month acceleration program, sponsored by TechWadi, designed to assist the most promising Middle Eastern technology startups make the most of Silicon Valley resources. In 2015, TechWadi provided four participating companies tailored-made programs to help them navigate the Silicon Valley waters and accelerate their growth with the help of our mentors and community.
During July 2015 in partnership with Microsoft, TechWadi hosted a team of three Palestinian students and their faculty advisor from Bizreit University–winners of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Pan Arab Semi Finals – for a weeklong immersion and training program in Silicon Valley.
On January 14, TechWadi hosted ten start-ups from the MENA region in an open entrepreneurial marketplace and networking reception, promoting engagement with 10 visiting MENA start-ups via The Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs. The event took place at leading Silicon Valley accelerator, GSV Labs.
On April 29, TechWadi convened at the heart of innovation, Google, for an exclusive members-only evening of networking with some of the brightest stars from the Arab community. Celebrating the success of entrepreneurship in the MENA region, top community members, entrepreneurs, and mentors discussed growing regional technology and development.
The 3rd TechWadi Annual Forum was held in collaboration with The MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab will be held on September 26, 2015 at Cowell Theater (Fort Mason) in San Francisco, with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. Over 350+ community members convened for what was an action-packed day of keynote speakers, panels, and fireside chats focused on the growth of MENA’s tech ecosystem, and how the diaspora can best support its entrepreneurs.
In addition to the line-up of keynotes and panels at the 2015 Annual Forum, nine finalists from MIT Enterprise Forum - Pan Arab’s competition had the opportunity to pitch in front of the TechWadi community. The following day, TechWadi in partnership with LebNet hosted an intensive day of mentor meetings and informational sessions targeted directly at this cohort of entrepreneurs.
From October 18-28, TechWadi embarked on a 10 day traveling roadshow bringing leading Silicon Valley technology experts, mentors, and entrepreneurs to meet with budding startups across the Middle East. The Roadshow featured two day-long educational workshops led by TechWadi and powered by Google for Entrepreneurs featuring experienced entrepreneurs and technology professionals from companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, as well as founders of various Silicon Valley startups to mentor local startups in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, and Dubai.