• Briar Prestidge is the CEO and founder of Briar Prestidge International, a high-profile marketing, branding and reputation building agency operating in Dubai, London and New York. Working with world leaders, top CEOs, government, entertainers and strategists, they boost client’s prestige and elevate them to become impactful international business influencers.

    A qualified digital marketer with an international career spanning across Dubai, New York, London and Australia, Briar specialises in building engaging and ‘human’ content strategises in what she refers to as ‘new-age PR.’ In 2018, Briar and her team launched a leading regional podcasting series with experts and were part of a global Amazon Prime TV series, overseeing teams of well-known entrepreneurs in the Middle East and APAC regions. Speaking on international stages, Briar delivers engaging keynotes on personal branding, “no-fluff” Instagram and LinkedIn strategies, new-age PR and digital media, and building an online-offline reputation.

    Briar practices what she preaches and has built an engaged business community in Dubai of over 35,000 people - online and offline - who attend her monthly Deals in High Heels talk shows to discuss personal and professional development. She had over 2000 business women attend her talk show events in one short year.

    As a young entrepreneur originally from a small farm in New Zealand, Briar is driven to inspire people to be brave, strategic and work hard to follow your dreams. Her first book, ‘Building A Reputation for Business Success’ is being launched this year, along with her new fashion fitness and sunglasses label.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:

    7:30 - Starting her side hustle8:45 - On being fired from her last job and the lack of passion for that.10:45 - Her MO for moving to cities she had never visited before.13:15 - Starting her “Deal in High Heels” talk show14:30 - Her strategy for Hashtags to grow her following16:45 - Filming of an Amazon Prime series18:45 - Looking to Oprah Winfrey & Ellen DeGeneres as role models for the talk show19:45 - The power of repeat network events and building trust with others20:30 - One of various series they produce21:30 - Starting a sunglass and fashion label23:30 - Writing a book, “Building a reputation for business success”25:15 - The importance of controlling your online presence26:15 - Identifying what kind of brand you want to build with your vision28:15 - Documenting your life vs. ‘creating it’32:15 - Challenging the status quo34:45 - Her hobbies and routines35:45 - Briar’s view on the great initiatives coming out of Dubai to be a leader in sustainability and technology innovation
  • Karl W. Feilder is a serial entrepreneur, Founder and Chairman of The Neutral Group and CEO of Neutral Fuels. “I’m not an environmentalist, I’m just trying to save the planet,” Karl says, and his direct actions to mitigate climate change have already resulted in over 10.5 million tonnes of CO2e savings from global corporations, such as DHL, Del Monte, Anglo American, and McDonald’s. 

    In the last decade, Karl has built up The Neutral Group from a two-person start-up to an international business, and is now preparing its Neutral Fuels LLC subsidiary, a company that produces biofuel from used cooking oil, for an IPO on the London AIM stock market in 2023. Simultaneously, Karl is building another subsidiary Neutral Assets LLC into an “Internet of Things” asset management company. 

    Since starting his first company in 1990, and selling it to Microsoft, Karl has built and sold five companies, and led two companies to their Initial Public Offering. He has conducted business in 46 countries and has created a world first this year – a highly innovative strategy to turn human faeces into reusable energy. 

    Karl mentors start-ups across industry, and was the first Adjunct Lecturer at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. He has worked as a Catalyst at Hult International Business School in both Dubai and San Francisco. Karl holds an B.Eng. (Hons.) in Industrial Engineering, an executive MBA, and is writing his thesis on “Psychological profiling of start-up teams.” 

    As the regional expert on biofuels and their adoption in the Middle East, Karl and his company have won regional and international awards and Karl delivers keynotes on entrepreneurship, business and sustainability, all over the world. 

    Enjoy the discussion.

    Show Notes:

    01:30 - On being an entrepreneur for all his life, he was just born to be an entrepreneur04:45 - First startup in the UK and selling to Microsoft05:45 - How Microsoft courted them to sell07:15 - Joining a biker gang post exit11:00 - His multiple ventures and IPOs following the biker gang years14:15 - The founding of the Neutral Group15:15 - What is the Neutral Group?23:30 - Getting a fuel production license in the UAE25:45 - Opening more facilities in other countries in the region27:15 - The different types of fuels they produce at Neutral Fuels30:30 - The challenge of building a great diverse team32:45 - “Never meet your heroes”35:00 - On being a lead singer of a rockband38:45 - How Dubai is perfectly suited for an entrepreneur like Karl41:00 - How redtape is seen as an opportunity in Dubai42:30 - On the merits of making time everyday to think45:15 - The benefits of discovering what makes you happy55:15 - His ‘non-words of wisdom’ wisdom to share
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  • In this episode, we sat down with Dr. Corrie Block, CEO of Paragon Consulting, where he shared some great stories about his experiences in Estonia & Yemen prior to making Dubai his home.

    Dr Corrie Block is a leading business strategist and CEO of Paragon Consulting, Professor of Strategic Management at Monarch Business School, and certified NLP Executive Coach, with over 20 years’ experience working on more than 100 companies.

    Dr Corrie has provided strategic consulting for the Council of Europe and World Bank, tech start-ups, multinationals and governments, across more than 30 continents. He’s founded 5 successful businesses in Europe and MENA and received awards for his product innovations.

    As both an academic and practitioner, he completed all of his post-grad studies (including master’s in business administration & Global Leadership, a Doctorate in Business Administration and a PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies), all while working full time. He has been published in Gulf Business, Forbes, CEO Magazine, Entrepreneur, Business Islamica, Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies and Routledge Academic Books.

    As an international speaker, Dr Corrie is often asked to speak on stages around the world. He delivers workshops and deep insights on employee engagement, meaningful management, A.I, culture, tech, innovation and the organization of the future. Dr Corrie believes that “business is personal” and runs a leading, regional podcast featuring panels of experts.

    As a strategic consultant to multinationals, governments and startups alike, he shared his insights into many thought provoking concepts such as the ‘work life blend’ and how business is personal.

    Show Notes:

    * 1:30 - From Canada to Estonia

    * 2:45 - 2 Masters and 2 Doctorates

    * 3:00 - Arab Islamic Studies & moving to Yemen

    * 6:30 - War seems like a good reason to leave a country

    * 10:00 - Explaining “line of fire” to a 7 year old

    * 12:00 - Coming to Dubai as the war in Yemen intensified

    * 15:00 - The chemical formula for happiness

    * 17:30 - “People want to be the best they can be”

    * 18:45 - Business is personal

    * 21:15 - Engagements with the Al Masood Family

    * 26:00 - The Chicki Chunk story

    * 28:15 - Emirates Macaroni Factory

    * 31:45 - Resentment for the other half of a father’s life

    * 35:45 - Work life blend

    * 39:45 - His daily routines and the discipline to write 2 books concurrently

    * 41:00 - Who Dr. Corrie looks to for inspiration or as role models

    * 42:30 - His top 3 books to recommend to people

    * 45:30 - His addiction to Spartan Races

    * 52:15 - Dr. Corrie’s outlook on the potential of Dubai as a R&D hub for future health technologies

    * 55:30 - “Do something meaningful or find meaning in something you are doing”

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Toghrul Samadov, CEO of Buglance.

    Buglance is a crowd testing company that connects software testers with software development companies all over the world. We test mobile apps, games and websites for bugs, security and UX/UI issues.

    Toghrul is a serial entrepreneur and growth hacker. All his businesses combine 3 ingredients: Technology, Art and Science. He has been building teams, developing products such as e-commerce websites, entertainment and productivity apps and mobile games for the past 14 years. 

    Please enjoy this discussion from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Patrick Rogers, CEO of Clara. 

    Clara is a SaaS platform that digitises and automates startup legal expertise. Clara empowers founders to efficiently set up and manage their legal structure to ensure their startup's venture-readiness while providing unmatched portfolio management and market intelligence to investors.

    Patrick has been a previous guest on Streams of Progress, as a partner at the law firm, Support Legal. The founding team of Support Legal are the same founders behind Clara Technologies, joined alongside their CTO, Arthur Guest.

    Arthur is an MIT-trained systems architect with a speciality in complex decision modelling. While at MIT, he helped conceive and design the 20-year program human spaceflight strategy known as Flexible Path for the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee in 2009. 

    Arthur was also co-founder and CTO of a San Francisco-based e-commerce company, BeautyArmy, that provided personalized beauty sample subscriptions to its over 300,000 members.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Lance Lin, CEO of LuggAgent.

    LuggAgent is a Global Concierge that offers the luxury of Time and Freedom. It started with the goal of eliminating the burden of luggage hassles. 

    Lance is an Economics major with a deep interest in numbers and analytics. He dabbled in the insurance industry leading a team of 20 before founding LuggAgent where he excelled at networking across multiple regions and building meaningful relationships and opportunities.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Yousef Wadi, CEO of Nestrom. 

    Yousef is a Computer Engineer with a significant track record in building online products and technologies to empower businesses. His experience encompasses global organizations (Microsoft and Yahoo!) and startups, mainly focused on building scalable products, niche technologies and setting up winning teams that deliver high-end results. 

    He began building his expertise with online products as a contractor for Microsoft, selling online rich media products to global players such as Yahoo through his first venture. Yousef was approached by Yahoo to join as Senior Product Manager, where he spearheaded the MENA focused video-on-demand system, geo-location and geo-service products. Later joining 7awi as Product Executive, part of the founding team and key contributor to moving the offline AWI properties to online properties through managing the planning, technology, marketing, and implementation of the successful transition gaining 1 million unique users in the first 3 months.

    After venturing through a successful project in 7awi, he joined as Co-founder to ArabiaWeather establishing a full-fledged B2C Product line ranging from online to mobile platforms. ArabiaWeather has then managed to achieve its first million unique users from the GCC region 3 months after the launch of the new product portfolio. Yousef built a team that created, delivered and operated the B2C products achieving 3 million unique users before moving on to his next challenge. Post to B2C he moved on to leading the core weather technology and development team as a Chief Weather Technologist focused on delivering an accurate, scalable and advanced weather core system to empower ArabiaWeather and other clients through building a professional team of system engineers, developers and data scientists. 

    Currently Yousef is invested in multiple startups and has a new startup, Nestrom, for which he is currently the CEO.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Kareem Kaddoura, Regional Manager for Ottogee.

    Ottogee provides IoT wearables for Industrial applications in Construction, Oil & Gas, Security and Manufacturing. Ottogee advanced data analytics enable workers and stakeholders to have real-time insights that optimize Safety and Productivity and reduce Cost to unprecedented levels.

    Kareem previously worked at Lunch:On another upcoming startup in the UAE ecosystem. At Ottogee, Kareem works closely with Omar Ghazzaoui, co-founder and CEO, who is an industry expert in construction and Oil & Gas project management and a thought leader on digitizing labor intensive industries. Omar, originally from Lebanon, started his career with the Consolidated Contractors Company CCC building the iconic Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai back in 2005. From there on, he embarked on an international experience with the Boston Consulting Group as a trusted advisor to major construction and oil & gas companies before he joined Caterpillar, the world's largest heavy equipment manufacturer as a corporate strategy leader in their famous headquarters in Chicago. 

    Please enjoy this discussion from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Cedrick Tandong, CEO of Three Wheels United.  

    Before starting Three Wheels United, Cedrick worked with a French company which transformed ideas from university research labs into successful businesses or patents. Cedrick also founded a previous company in Cameroon in the e-commerce space. He exited but the company is still active and profitable. Born and raised in Sub-Saharan Africa, he is particularly interested in ideas that will improve livelihoods for people trapped in informal economies. That’s why after his graduate studies in systems and information management from a French business school, he moved to India. 

    Cedrick is TWU’s mastermind when it comes to operationalize the impossible as he loves organizing, coordinating and executing under unpredictable circumstances. He also holds a second graduate degree in business management and has lived and worked in 4 countries in 3 continents. 

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with the startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Parker Wells, CEO of Element 16. 

    Element 16 improves energy efficiency at industrial processing facilities with heat storage technology; they cut fossil fuels in the largest emitting industries by capturing waste heat and storing energy for on demand use. Parker founded Element 16 during his graduate research at UCLA in Mechanical Engineering. 

    He previously co-founded and led Overhead.fm as CEO from 2012-2015. He also holds an Sc.B from Brown University in Mechanical Engineering. 

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest for this episode is Sebastian Vaduva, CEO of Veeplay. He was never keen on running the hamster wheel. A software engineer by degree and a hustler by design Sebastian started his first technology company at the age of 18. 

    Since then he has been building and selling software products to Fortune 500 companies across Europe and the United States. Sebastian’s latest venture, Veeplay, aims to help the broadcasting industry embrace the business models of the future by helping them deliver and monetize video content for over 100M users monthly.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest of this episode is Miray Tayfun, CEO of Vivoo. She is a serial entrepreneur, who co-founded successful companies in the IOT industry for consumer electronics. 

    Her background is in bioengineering, mobile apps, IOT, and strategy. She also completed the Stanford University's Go To Market strategy course that was lectured by Apple's first marketing manager. 

    Her passion for a good life was the seed for Vivoo. She wants to proceed on their journey by helping people make better decisions on their wellbeing journey.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • This week on Streams of Progress, we met up with startups taking part in this year's Techstars Dubai program.

    These mini episodes offer insights into what the startups are working on and the founders behind the startups. The guest of this episode is Faisal Al Hammadi, the CEO of YACOB, a nutrition recommendation engine for organizations that enables its users to select F&B products that suits their health profile.

    Faisal is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Slices, a company that he co-founded that offers catering services to education institutes in 50 locations.

    In his previous role, Al Hammadi was a Member of the Board of Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre as well as Vice President at Mubadala Healthcare. He has also served as a member of a number of Abu Dhabi Government initiatives and committees including the Executive Committee for the Abu Dhabi Economic Plan at the Department of Economic Development, and the Health Education Committee at Health Authority Abu Dhabi.

    Al Hammadi holds a Master in Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School, USA, and a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the American University Dubai, UAE.

    Please enjoy this discussion with one of our Guests from the Techstars Dubai program and be sure to check out more episodes from the 2019 Techstars Dubai Program.

  • Tarek Kabrit is the CEO and co-founder of Seez, an intuitive car selling, buying and lending app in Dubai and Kuwait, which has been cited by leading publications as a ‘tech game-changer.’

    By using artificial intelligence to gather and cleanse the jungle of car data online, Seez reduces the process of finding a car from 17 hours to 6 seconds. Tarek and his team also invented the world’s first A.I. car negotiation chat bot called Cesar, who finds you the best deals, estimates the fair value of the car, and even negotiates the price on your behalf.

    As a testament to Seez’ success, they celebrated 250k downloads. They are also number 3 on Apple Store with over 3,000 ratings and number 5 on the Android Store.

    With over 17 years of regional and international experience in strategy consulting, investment banking, private equity and VC, with industry leaders such as Deutsche Bank, Abraaj Group, Mubadala, Wamda, and Booz & Co, Tarek understands both sides of the start-up journey.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:01:30 - Tarek’s background in Private Equity & Venture Capital in the region prior to becoming an entrepreneur3:45 - From Pre-Med to Economics4:30 - Consulting to Banking5:45 - The reason he became an entrepreneur after being a VC8:15 - Dealership partnership for leasing plans9:00 - How Cesar works?10:45 - Why Tarek chose to pursue this startup?13:30 - How Seez started as a side hustle14:45 - Reaching out to his nephew to be his co-founder15:30 - Sourcing the AI/ML tech talent from Denmark for Seez16:45 - Coders, penthouse and cardboard boxes17:15 - Bootstrapping note: Tinder for second-hand office equipment18:15 - The uncle / nephew co-founder dynamics at play19:00 - Regional expansion20:00 - One of the key criteria when deciding a country to expand into20:15 - The challenges Seez faced when expanding into Saudi Arabia23:15 - Difficulties Tarek overcame when learning to manage a technology team24:45 - Transitioning from VC to a founder role and the learnings25:45 - The ability to step back and look at the bigger picture of your startup26:15 - Seez’s funding journey and the pivots26:45 - Scrapping all they had and starting fresh28:00 - Knowing how to pitch VCs from his past experience as a VC30:00 - Looking to Steve Jobs’s drive, Airbnb’s attention to design detail and Netflix’s culture for inspiration32:45 - Tarek’s closeness with all his employees33:30 - The importance of Dreaming Big35:00 - Love for movies at the cinema36:30 - Tarek’s dream of a humanity scale dream initiative36:15 - “Start a startup in your 20’s”, his advice to his 20 year old self
  • We had a chance to sit with Michael De Angelo from Holacracy One.

    Michael is an experienced business leader with C-level executive experience in different industries including healthcare, entertainment, technology, and natural resources. Starting as a Computer Scientist for the US Department of the Interior he moved on to lead technology teams at the Walt Disney company and eventually become the Deputy CIO for the State of Washington where he led the first large scale implementation of Holacracy in Government in the world. He also partnered with Harvard Business School researchers and others to lead the first controlled experiment of Holacracy.

    Now at HolacracyOne, he is helping businesses around the world think through the executive challenges of driving this level of change in their organizations. When he’s not helping organizations with self-management concepts he’s working with self-organizing honeybees as an avid beekeeper. 

    We explored what Holacracy is, how it is being implemented in the private and public sector across the globe and we explored how organizations here, in the UAE, that are using it to transform their organizations.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:02:30 - Michael’s background03:30 - Introduction to complex technologies at Disney and it’s internet divisions in the early years04:45 - Working in small teams at Disney11:45 - On hierarchal systems14:30 - His introduction to Holacracy16:00 - Competing for talent in an already crowded tech space21:15 - Googling “What is Holacracy?” and a 2 minute video animation23:30 - What is Holacracy?25:00 - The Morning Star example27:00 - What does Holacracy One do?33:30 - Companies and industries that practice Holacracy35:15 - Self management hitting a tipping point around the time Zappos came out about it37:00 - Dubai Knowledge a practitioner of Holacracy as a government agency44:30 - What does Michael’s typical work day look like?48:30 - The ‘no title’ business card53:30 - ‘Follow my energy’ work scheduling & prioritization54:00 - The right to ask anyone else when55:30 - His ‘non-habit’ routine that he’s adapting to58:30 - From fictional and non-fictional role models63:00 - His morbidly motivational message on a billboard66:15 - His concerns about the time-travel paradox and giving advice to his 20 year old self68:00 - Michael’s personal purpose in life68:30 - Nurturing insatiable curiosity69:45 - “Don’t lose your momentum as you age, ramp it up as you have more experience and wisdom to solve more complex problems when you are older”
  • We had a chance to sit with Ludmila Yamalova, Founder & Managing Partner of LYLaw, HPL Yamalova & Plewka DMCC.

    Ludmila is the founder and Managing Partner of the Firm, actively managing and practicing since 2009. She is a U.S. qualified attorney, licensed by the State Bar of California. Ludmila has fifteen years of legal experience, six of which was in the Silicon Valley, plus three years of business experience in the same area.

    Prior to moving to Dubai and setting up her practice, Ludmila was Associate General Counsel of a NASDAQ listed company in Silicon Valley, California – Finisar Corporation, a fiber optics company, managing high profile patent litigation and global corporate matters.

    Before Finisar, Ludmila practiced with DLA Piper in the San Franisco Bay area, specializing in intellectual property litigation and bankruptcy.

    Ludmila also interned at Howrey Simon & White and Legal Strategies Group, both in the San Francisco Bay area.

    Ludmila grew up in the former Soviet Union and moved to the United States in the early 90s. Ludmila’s native languages are Russian and Ukrainian. She is also fluent in English and conversational in French.

    Most recently, Ludmila is the host of the MENA region’s first legal podcast, Lawgical with LYLAW. On the podcast, Ludmila provides insight, commentary, and updates covering a wide variety of legal topics relating to the U.A.E. and the MENA region.

    During this episode, she shared her insights into the evolving legal system of the UAE and regulations are adapting to an ever-changing global market.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:1:30 - Ludmila’s background from the Soviet Union to the United States2:30 - Practicing litigation during the Dot Com bust at DLA Piper4:15 - Being Associate General Counsel at Finisar, a Nasdaq listed7:45 - Starting to help people with legal advice in Dubai and eventually setup a law firm9:30 - On remote working culture11:00 - Copyright and IP licensing agreement and royalties (Porsche example)16:45 - LYLaw evolution of area of practice24:15 - The Lawgical Podcast by LYLaw29:00 - Legal Questions: The differences between Mainland (Department of Economic Development) and Free Zone licenses in the UAE33:30 - Business activities requiring a business entity / license36:45 - Selling digital software online within the UAE from abroad38:30 - Blurring the legal lines when local contractors are involved39:45 - The UAE’s commitment to AI and new regulations & laws around it42:45 - The Dubai Now app : one app for all government services46:30 - The UAE residence visa and the new longer term visas that are coming49:15 - Outsourcing their development and copywriting their software51:45 - Ludmila’s mentors and role models54:30 - The importance of building a strong team to support you56:30 - Days being dictated by young children58:00 - Traveling with kids; from danger zones to kid friendly locales60:30 - “Being in the thick of history in the making”63:30 - Being cautious about hearing overnight success stories and expecting the same
  • We had a chance to sit with Issa Aghabi, VC Investment officer for IFC, heading the MENAP region. 

    He shared his insights into the Venture Capital space of the region as well as how he got started in this space over a decade ago.

    Enjoy the show!

    Posted on February 27, 2019

    Show Notes:01:15 - Issa’s backstory01:45 - From Jordan to Canada back to the Middle East2:45 - From dinner party to Venture Capital4:30 - Understanding how do they create startups when entrepreneurs themselves didn’t know what startups were5:00 - The catalyst for the growth of VC in the region5:45 - Looking up what Venture Capital means6:00 - The first investment portfolio Issa was involved with7:15 - TwoFour54 reaching out to Issa to grow their investment arm8:30 - What is media?9:00 - His short term consulting role at Yahoo! and developing their M&A strategy for the region10:15 - The Rocket Internet of the Middle East13:00 - Issa’s return to TwoFour5413:30 - Launching one of the first accelerators in the UAE14:00 - N2V’s model and entrepreneurs14:30 - His ad-hoc role of head of sourcing for a portfolio company15:00 - The Middle East’s own diversity of cultures and15:30 - Not knowing what IFC was16:00 - IFC - the private sector investment arm of the World Bank17:45 - Indirect founder funding through funds18:45 - Direct funding at later growth stages (Series B onwards)19:45 - Investment question to ask, “are we going to make money?”20:30 - The importance of additionally - what are they bringing to the table with their investment22:00 - Venture capital by its nature being impactful23:45 - The role of Public Private Partnerships26:30 - Case by case initiatives per country29:00 - Co-investing with funds in the ecosystem29:45 - How do you invest in funds?30:15 - Investing in people and what funds30:45 - A look at BECO and co-investing in one of their startups, Vezeeta31:30 - The evolving atmosphere of the investment ecosystem35:15 - Issa’s admiration towards hard working and successful individuals who contribute back to the ecosystem36:15 - His two work schedules (local and global)37:15 - Taking pride in Inbox Zero40:00 - Appreciation for various media from tv, podcasts and articles as well as the beach40:30 - One of the great things about Dubai is the ability to travel anywhere with a direct flight41:30 - On reading Startup Nation and the lessons learned43:00 - The importance of giving back while taking care of yourself44:15 - Putting entrepreneurship and venture related all in one place45:30 - On trusting your gut and working on self development
  • Mohammed Bin Kuwair is the Senior Manager for Energy Projects at Bee’ah. He has a reputation for ground-breaking work in the process and operation of the energy industry.

    He is responsible for leading Project Management processes from their inception to completion, evaluating technical and commercial proposals while providing recommendations for the same.

    As a Senior Manager, he works in collaboration with all of Bee’ah’s operations, supporting Integrated Waste Management, process improvement, and cost reduction initiatives to drive rapid results delivering the highest levels of performance, while following and supporting the organizations’ quality management system. Formerly, he served at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation as a Project Management Specialist.

    While working at their Project Management Office, he supervised all strategic projects, identified program risks, managed internal and the external stakeholders and controlled the corporate project management methodology framework. Mohammed held several instrumental roles in Strategy and Business Development and has managed businesses, programs and projects consisting of cross-functional teams focused on sustainable business models and cultural transformation towards entrepreneurship and innovation.

    Mohammed is currently pursuing his Master of Business Administration from Strathclyde University, Glasgow (Scotland). He is a graduate of the Abdulaziz Bin Humaid Leadership Program and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the American University of Sharjah.

    He shared insights into Bee’ah’s various sustainability initiatives and how Bee’ah’s vision propels the UAE and the region to a sustainable future. 

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:3:30 – The waste to energy6:00 – The beginning of Bee’ah10:45 – The various divisions in Bee’ah12:45 – a holistic overview of Ion, sustainable transport and Careem Electric13:30 – From Washmen to Nespresso, empowering recycling in other startups14:45 – How the partnerships come about15:30 – Bee’ah’s guiding purpose16:00 – Bee’ah’s environmental consultancy to support other corporate’s sustainability efforts17:15 – Range of environmental consultancy services17:45 – Waste to Energy project21:15 – Educating the community and consumer mindset22:15 – Reversed vending machine to incentivize the community to recycle23:45 – Global gate fee practices25:45 – Looking to Sheikh Zayed and the collaborative spirit of the Emirates27:30 – Personal routine of walking30:00 – on the curiosity of people when they see traffic accidents on the road30:15 – People need to be mindful about others and Dubai as an example of a true multinational globalized city.32:15 – Opportunity in sustainability startups
  • Nada Taryam joined Bee’ah as Director of Civil and Architectural Projects in 2013. The responsibilities of this position require planning, execution and closing of large-scale environmental projects with the company’s biggest clients. Nada is accountable for creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements and managing the constraints of the project management and ultimately accomplishing the stated project objectives to the highest quality.

    Nada utilises her leadership capabilities to liaise with clients of Bee’ah, in order to determine and implement the exact needs of the project, drawing on her knowledge of the company and the experience she has accomplishing detailed and specific environmental targets. Leading some of the biggest projects at Bee’ah, Nada has consistently used her expertise to meet targets and satisfy the needs of the clients, acting as a driving force for transforming Sharjah into the environmental capital of the Middle East.

    Prior to joining Bee’ah, Nada Taryam gained extensive experience both through her employment history and through a variety of internships and study visits.

    Nada graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, United Kingdom, in 2012, with a Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism, and from the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in 2008, with a Bachelor of Architecture (with a Minor in Urban Design).

    Nada sat down with us to discuss the upcoming Bee’ah HQ and the sustainability minded approach taken into consideration from concept to construction.

    Enjoy the show!

    Show Notes:01:15 – Studying Architecture in the UAE and London02:00 – Her research-based studies around materials, innovation and technology in architecture02:45 – The school of thought of around material research and inheriting from nature for architectural design03:45 – Architecture & Other Things architectural practice04:30 – Bee’ah’s HQ concept and meaning06:15 – Locally sourced materials for the HQ07:00 – Having a portion of the Bee’ah HQ open for the public to visit, from research lab to an auditorium08:00 – Working with Zaha Hadid Architects10:00 – Aiming to achieve LEED Platinum certification for the Bee’ah HQ11:30 – Bee’ah’s waste management, recycling facilities and upcoming Solar PV project12:45 – Looking to Zaha Hadid as a role model15:00 – The environment as inspiration16:45 – Coffee as the only daily standard ritual17:15 – Recommending biographies to friends18:45 – The importance of letting people know about the Bee’ah HQ19:45 – Inspiration from Singapore’s landscape; building around the environment21:00 – Thoughts on commercially driven projects22:15 – Demand more from your built environments
  • A seasoned entrepreneur and business leader, Muhammad Chbib has been integral in the inception, strategic development and operation of several organizations in Europe and the MENA region since the late 1990s.

    After graduating in 1998 Muhammad started up his first Internet startup in Munich/Germany. From 2004 to early 2011, Muhammad led McKinsey & Company’s client service teams, where he served various Fortune 500 companies in the online, financial and telecommunications sectors, both in the Middle East and Europe.

    In 2011, Muhammad moved to Dubai to take the entrepreneurial plunge with Sukar.com, an online fashion platform, which was acquired by MENA’s biggest online marketplace Souq.com in 2012.

    From April 2015 until August 2018, Muhammad led the Online Unit of Saudi travel giant Al Tayyar Group, developing the company’s technology arm in the online travel space. This business unit generated close to USD 1 billion total sales within three years only, catapulting its two online travel agency brands, tajawal and Almosafer, to become regional leaders.

    After exiting Al Tayyar’s Online Unit Muhammad is working on launching a platform targeting Muslim Consumers worldwide, to offer an exciting user experience in booking Hajj & Umrah travels.

    Fluent in Arabic, German, English and French, Muhammad is German of Syrian descent. His upbringing and professional experience in multinational organizations has seen him successfully develop brands to large cross-nation audiences.

    On this episode, he shares his entrepreneurial journey with us and shares his insights into difficulties he faced along the way.

    Enjoy the show!

    Recording Note: Since the original recording Manal.com has pivoted to offer bespoke travel opportunities targeting Muslim travelers globally.

    Show Notes:01:30 – On being born and raised in Germany02:30 – Accepting his first job offer straight after University03:00 – Joining his true job after university 8 weeks later…04:00 – His first startup – an exploration into the copycat startup model of Rocket Internet05:00 – Attending an industry conference as a speaker with just 2 slides prepared06:00 – On defining success for his first startup and the journey07:45 – His souvenir from his first startup (which he maintains to this day)09:00 – How his consulting for startups and corporates lead him to Dubai in 200310:30 – The six years with McKinsey11:15 – His takeaways from working at McKinsey12:45 – How health issues lead him back to the startup life14:30 – On maintaining relationships when talents join and exit15:45 – LinkedIn’s role in matchmaking the investor to the entrepreneur16:30 – His time at Sukar.com18:30 – Exiting to Souq.com then launching Desado19:30 – The difficulty of marketing local designer brand vs. well-known brands in the region and the pivot21:30 – Difficulty finding investors in the region at the time23:00 – Having foreign investors leading the investment round25:15 – Difficulties faced when originally setting up a startup legal structure at that time28:30 – The corporate-backed venture approach to startups at Tajawal33:30 – Bringing his tech co-founder with him for the next startup35:00 – The startup experience and environment even with corporate backing37:15 – AlMosafer, Tajawal and the strategic business unit40:00 – On funding factors and access to funding43:30 – Muhammad outlines his next upcoming venture45:30 – “When you have four children, there is no switching off”48:00 – Power naps and brain waves48:30 – On role models and setting entrepreneurial examples51:30 – The importance of routines with children and coffee53:45 – His daily work routines55:15 – The only book he’s ever gifted56:00 – Being self-reflective56:30 – Understanding we have limited time57:00 – Arabs are not victims and it’s important not to think in those terms57:30 – Importance of teaching children to code