|By Akram Dweikat
Despite the instabilities at home, Egyptian startups are gaining global recognition for their innovations lately; it’s not just that Instabug was chosen as a finalist in The Next Web’s Mobile Startup Rally and Integreight won the Audience Choice award in the Arabia Pavilion at TechCrunch Disrupt; startups from the banks of the Nile also won a recent pitching event hosted by TechWadi and PALinnO, a new Palestinian startup support organization, last month.
TechWadi and PALinnO, a new Palestinian startup support organization, teamed up to bring together startups from across the Middle East for MENA Innovation Demo Day. The event took place at Runway, a coworking space in San Francisco and showcased eight companies. Startups from Oasis500 in Jordan, Flat6Labs in Egypt, KAUST Venture Lab in Saudi Arabia, and PALinnO, and across the Middle East connected with potential partners, customers, and investors in Silicon Valley. TechWadi’s previous events have brought startups to Silicon Valley, but this – which also involved US-MAC and PITME Labs as organizers – may be the first to include a comprehensive group of companies from the entire region.
Pitching startups included KarmSolar (Egypt), Instabug (Egypt), Jamalon (Jordan), Eventtus (Egypt):, Braci (Syria), Souktel (Palestine), iDive (Saudi Arabia), and Eshtery (Egypt), all of whom pitched to a panel of judges of Silicon Valley’s Arab diaspora with local advisors, including TechWadi100 member Hany Rashwan, CEO of Ribbon, Fadi Bishara, Founder of BlackBox, Maher Hakim, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Nima Adelkhani, Founder of PITME Labs, Chris Burry, VC at Fenox Ventures and Allan Young, founder of Runway Accelerator.
“Bringing together ambitious startups from Middle East and showcasing them to Silicon Valley investors and mentors goes along with our efforts at PALinnO to empower and bridge entrepreneurs from the Middle East and Palestine in particular,” explained Michal Zalesak, PALinnO’s Executive Director.
“It is always great to give the region’s most exciting entrepreneurs the chance to connect to the community in Silicon Valley. The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East is quickly expanding and the Arab diaspora has a role to play in enabling success stories,” said Mohammad ElBibany, the Program Director at TechWadi.