On September 10, 2016, TechWadi hosted Startup Pitch Night featuring 28 startups from the MENA region. The startups worked tirelessly to perfect their pitching techniques in preparation for Pitch Night. Over 100 TechWadi community supporters joined for the festivities along with established Silicon Valley magnates and sponsors including Quanergy and Lahlouh.
TechWadi’s panel of esteemed judges included:
- Co-Founder at Blackbox Fadi Bishara
- Co-Founder at Parlio Wael Ghonim
- Co-Founder at Parlio Osman Osman
- Co-Founder of WOMENA Chantalle Dumonceaux
- Founder of Misu Labs Anitha Vadavatha
- Managing director of private equity at Malaz Capital Ghazi Ben Othman
- Former Chairman of TechWadi and Current Chairman of Rising Tide Fund Dr. Ossama Hassanein
Startups from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others participated in an evening that helped them improve public speaking and presentation skills. Mostafa Hashisha said “pitch night helped me a lot with meeting with investors and it eliminated any hesitation or fear inside me!”
Pitch Night was the culmination of TechWadi’s Sprint Acceleration program, which only would have been possible through the collaboration and support of partners MIT Enterprise Forum and INJAZ Egypt. The two-week acceleration program allowed MENA startups to meet with various entrepreneurs from all over the Bay Area and learn tips and tricks for success. One of TechWadi’s founding member’s Ghazi Ben Othman expressed that “the MENA region is capable of producing world class startups with the right type of support and funding and organizations like TechWadi have a significant role to play as a catalyst and connection hub for the tech ecosystem in MENA and Silicon Valley”.
The evening’s winners were selected from our early stage batch of startups as well as the later stage batch of startups. The winner of the early stage batch was Eyad AlShabban with B8tak. The later stage batch winner was Nadine Haram with Proximie. But all of the participating startups were true winners. When asked about the biggest lesson from the Acceleration Program, Rami Nassar from Goodsmart shared “[you] never stop investing in yourself because one day you will put everything you have learned into action. It is all a learning experience and once you realize why you failed the first time, you celebrate your failure and start over!”