The MECC will host the MECC Tech Forum on November 19-20 in Istanbul, Turkey to bring together all of the key stakeholders needed to support an ICT startup ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, venture capital funds, limited partners, incubators, accelerators, angel investors, policy makers, regulators, academia, and legal and accounting firms. On this occasion, the MECC will launch a new venture network which will dramatically build capacity to drive the development of ICT innovation and business in the region. Some 150 collaborators from across the Middle East as well as the international technology community will be invited to participate in this new project. Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Jale Akyel – Middle East, Europe, and Turkey University Relations Leader, IBM
Jale joined IBM Turkey in April 1988 as Systems Engineer. She established the University Relations, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs organizations and has led these groups ever since. Jale has been Manager for Ecosystem Development in Turkey since 2010 and runs three successful SmartCamp Istanbul Startup events in Turkey, in addition to the IBM SmartCamp Regional finals for four continents (Asia, Australia, Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) she ran in October 2013. Jale holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum & Natural Gas Engineering Department from the Middle East Tech University and a Master’s of Science degree in Geothermal Energy.
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal – CEO, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)
Marwan—CEO of Shurooq, CEO of Al Qasba Development Authority and a former Board Member of Sharjah Tourism and Development Authority—is considered one of the key leaders in Sharjah’s growth. In 2003, Marwan began work in office of the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, where he served as a Finance Director of the Festival, after which he began work at the Al Qasba Development Authority in Sharjah. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sciences in Business Administration and a degree in Accounting from Dubai Men’s College.
Said Baransi – CEO, BCI Group
Said is the Chairman of the Board at the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce in addition to serving as CEO of BCI Group. BCI is a leading regional information and communication technology and security solutions provider in the MENA region.
Alaya Bettaieb – Founder, Tunisia Venture Capital Association
Alaya is a Venture Capital professional, with strong track record in High value added SME investment. He is founder and chairman of Tunisian Venture Capital Association, Co-founder and member of the BOD of Euromed Capital Forum. He is also certified Technology Licensing Practitioner and member of the BOD of LES –Arab Countries. He is behind several reforms in the VC & PE sector in Maghreb such as EVCA best practices, Corporate VC, as well as IP & Technology Transfer issues to the VC community. Alaya holds various degrees in Physics, Engineering, Economics and Management from Tunisia, US and Japanese Universities.
Myron Brilliant – Executive Vice President and head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Before leading the Chamber’s global business strategy and representing the Chamber and its members before governments and the international business world, Myron was the Chamber’s vice president for Asia and was president of the U.S.-Korea Business Council. Prior to joining the Chamber, Myron was an attorney with Stewart and Stewart in Washington, D.C. He received his J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law and his B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland.
A. Mete Çakmakcı – Secretary General, Technology Development Foundation of Turkey (TTGV)
Mete has been the Secretary General at TTGV since 2009. TTGV is a not-for-profit public-private entity with a mission to support technology innovation in the Turkish private sector. Prior to joining the firm, he was employed at a defense systems integrator and consultancy outfit as the Business Development Manager. He holds Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees from Syracuse University, New York and is a graduate of Electric and Electronics Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara.
Bülent Çelebi – Co-Founder, Airties
After a 20-year career in Silicon Valley, Bülent founded AirTies in 2004 to provide wireless solutions for the residential and small business market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Prior to founding AirTies, he served as the CEO of VC backed Ubicom, a network processor for WLAN applications. Formerly, he served as Vice President and General Manager for the Analog Devices, Inc. At National Semiconductor, he served as Manager for both the Microcontroller and the Ethernet/LAN business units and Director of Asian marketing in Hong Kong. Bülent attended the University of California majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Khush Choksy – Vice President, Turkey and Middle East Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Khush leads a team of program and policy experts who work closely with Chamber member companies and government leaders to broaden commercial relationships between the United States and the Middle East and Turkey. Prior to joining the Chamber, Khush was a director at Chemonics International; he lived and worked in Jordan for seven years, establishing relations with private and public sector leaders at a critical time in the U.S.-Middle East relationship. He also worked in India where he oversaw pioneering U.S. government and World Bank-funded efforts to help liberalize India’s economy. Khush has an MBA in strategic management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his BA, magna cum laude, from Hamilton College.
Carlos Conde – Head of the MENA Division, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Relations Secretariat
Carlos began his current position in 2007. In this capacity, he has promoted policy dialogue on governance reform between MENA and OECD countries and supported the work of the networks of practitioners of the initiative. Before joining the OECD, he was associate professor of political science and public policy in the University of Granada, Spain. In this position, Mr. Conde led several projects of academic co-operation and research, networking between Arab and European universities. He has held visiting positions in Harvard University and Al Akhawayn University of Morocco, where he lectured between 2001 and 2003. Carlos holds a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration from the Complutense University of Madrid.
Emile Cubeisy – Managing Partner, Silicon Badia
Emile is a Managing Partner of Silicon Badia. Previously Managing Partner of IV Holdings, the early-stage investment arm of Accelerator Technology Holdings, Emile is currently a board advisor of Oasis 500 and is a director of several regional online and digital media companies. He graduated from the University of Southern California and completed the Senior Executive Program at the Harvard Business School.
Amir Dajani – Deputy Managing Director, Rawabi
Amir oversees Rawabi’s day-to-day operations, supervising the technical and operations teams to ensure timely attainment of all critical project milestones. Prior to joining Rawabi, he worked for USAID’s West Bank and Gaza Mission in Tel Aviv in the Private Enterprise Office. In addition, Amir gained extensive experience in private sector sustainable growth and development while working on a European Commission-funded program as the Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SME) Technical Assistance Specialist in Jerusalem.
Dilek Dayinlarli – Founder, Arya Women Investment Platform
In addition to her founding role at Arya Women Investment Platform, Dilek is the Principal at 212ltd, Turkey’s leading and most active Venture Capital. Prior to 212ltd, Dilek worked at Groupon as a Director of Strategy and Analysis and worked as Senior Management Consultant in Accenture’s Communications & High Technology practice. Dilek is a Kauffman Fellow and received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Yildiz Technical University and a Master of Business Administration with honors in Strategy from Johnson & Wales University.
Dimitri Diliani – Investment Manager, Siraj Fund Management Company
Wael Fakharany – Middle East Regional Manager, Google
Wael has over 20 years’ experience managing technology businesses in the Middle East. His occupational duties include aiding in the creation of a suitable Internet ecosystem, as well as collaborating with the biggest organizations and entities in order to further develop the Internet ecosystem in the region. Since his 1989 graduate from Ain Shams University Engineering School, Wael has worked in the technology sector in Egypt and across the Middle East.
Sheldon Fink – CEO, PBI Aqaba Industrial Estate
Ferruh Gurtas – Corporate Affairs Director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Intel Corporation
Ferruh Gurtas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from METU and a Master of Science degree in Communications and Signal Processing from Imperial College, London. Ferruh joined Intel Corporation in 1997 and has taken various roles in different countries in reseller channel, sales and marketing, business development, and operations departments. He has been in his current position for seven years. He represents Intel Corporation at Global Entrepreneurship Program of US State Department and at MENA Entrepreneurship Advisory Group of the World Economic Forum as co-chair. Recently he was involved in creation and launch of youth entrepreneurship program that is being deployed in various countries across META region.
Khaled Ismail – Founder and Chairman, Kiangel
Khaled Ismail is the Founder and Chairman of Kiangel, an angel investment fund focused on investing in early-stage startups in the Middle East. Khaled was the Founder and CEO of SySDSoft, a company focused on the design of wireless communication system modems. In March2011, SySDSoft was acquired by Intel. Khaled became thereafter the Managing Director of Intel Mobile Communications. Khaled was the Chairman of Endeavor Egypt between 2011 and 2014 and was the Senior Advisor of the Egyptian Minister of CIT from 2005-2007, responsible for Technology Development. He is the recipient of the IBM Invention Achievement Award and the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. Khaled received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1989.
Josh Kram – Executive Director, Middle East Commercial Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In addition to directing the MECC, Josh also directs the Chamber’s U.S.-Israel Business Initiative, the premiere organization advancing commercial relations between the United States and Israel Before joining the Chamber in his current role, Kram founded Foxhall Strategies Consulting, LLC, a boutique strategic advisory firm that provides international government affairs, public affairs, regulatory, and strategic advice and support. He also served as deputy political director and Middle East adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and began his career with the America Israel Public Affairs Committee. Kram graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Florida and holds an M.B.A. from Emory University, where he was a Goizueta Leadership Fellow.
Jimmy Levy – Co-Founder and Managing General Partner, Al Bawader
In addition to his roles at Al Bawader, Jimmy is the Founder and Director at Galil Software. He was the Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Data Division at Comverse. He practiced law for more than 10 years, first with Osler, Hoskin. Jimmy managed Arootz and served as its Director and Advisory Board Member of several high tech and clean tech companies. He holds a B.A. degree from McGill University, a Ph.D. in environmental risk from Clark University, a L.L.B. from Osgoode Hall in Toronto, and a M.B.A. degree from the Tel Aviv International School of Management.
Zuhal Mansfield – Chairperson, TMG Mining and Mansfield Mining and Construction Company
Zuhal has been in the mining field for 23 years. She is a member of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and Chairperson of the Turkish-Egyptian Business Council and vice Chairperson of the Turkish African Business Council. She is one of the founders of Kagider Women Entrepreneurs Association. Zuhal was named “most successful business person of the year” for 2000 by the Turkish government.
Gadi Mazor – General Partner and Chief Technology Officer, OurCrowd
Gadi received a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Science in Mathematics and Probability with Distinction through the Addi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Fostering Excellence at the Tel Aviv University. Gadi founded and managed three startup companies in the fields of character and voice recognition and wireless communications, and sat on an advisory board of RIM (BlackBerry). Gadi holds patents on various aspects of wireless communications, and served on the US Senate committee that defined the US public alert system. In the spring of 2013, Gadi was awarded the entrepreneur of the year award from Blackberry.
Numan Numan – Founder and Managing Director, 212ltd.
Numan is the Managing Director at 212ltd. with a solid background in global technology services and international management. Prior to founding 212ltd, he was Vice President at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo and New York for 12 years. Prior to Goldman Sachs, he worked at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. Numan serves on the board of directors and advisory boards of various companies. Numan holds B.Sc. in Computer Sciences from Ege University.
Chemi Peres – Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Pitango Venture Capital
In 1992, he founded the Mofet Israel Technology Fund, an Israeli venture capital fund publicly traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Prior to Mofet, Chemi held managerial positions at Decision Systems Israel (DSI). Chemi served as a pilot in the Israeli Air Force for 10 years. Chemi has served on the boards of several NASDAQ companies, such as AudioCodes, BackWeb, Magic Software Enterprises, Aladdin, VocalTec, Orckit Communications and Koor Industries, among others. Chemi also serves as a board member in several non-for-profit organizations. He is chairman of the Peres Center for Peace. He holds BSc. degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Tel Aviv University.
Melek Pulatkonak – Curator, Turkish Women’s International Network & Emerging Business Team, Microsoft
Melek Pulatkonak works in the Emerging Business Team at Microsoft in Istanbul. Before that she was the President & COO of Hakia, a semantic search technology company. Most recently, she was the Associate Partner of Star Venture Group (SVG), a venture capital firm with investments in the U.S. and Turkey. Prior to her work at SVG, she was the Advisor to the Chairman of the Istanbul Stock Exchange and a Research Associate at the New York Stock Exchange. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.Sc. degree from London School of Economics and Political Science.
Paola Ravacchioli – Investment Officer, European Investment Bank
Paola Ravacchioli is a member of the European Investment Bank’s Equity & Microfinance Division for operations in the MENA and ACP countries. Having spent over 17 years at the European Investment Bank, of which 8 in the European Investment Fund, financing the development of the private sector in the EU and the Mediterranean region, she has gained considerable experience in supporting entrepreneurship, not only through equity investments in companies and in funds, but also in the field of business incubation and tech start-up accelerators. Fluent in more than 11 languages, Paola holds a First-Class Honors Degree in Classical Humanities and a Diploma in European Humanities from the Open University.
Bilal Sabouni – Executive Vice President, American Business Council (ABC) of Dubai & the Northern Emirates
Bilal currently holds several leadership roles at various organizations. In addition to his long term involvement with the ABC, Bilal is also the Vice Chairman of the American Chamber umbrella organization, the Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC). Further, Bilal also manages the region for PEOPLECERT, a leading global certification and government licensure company, as Director for the Middle East, Africa & Asia. Bilal holds an Associate’s degree in Business Management from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, a Bachelor’s degree in IT from the American University in Dubai, and a Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Virginia Executive Education program at the Darden School of Business.
Ussal Sahbaz – Advisor, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV)
A native of Ankara, Ussal graduated from Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and International Development. He holds a BSc from the Middle East Technical University and an MA from Bilkent University, both in economics. He also worked as a consultant to the World Bank in Washington D.C. on investment climate, competition policy and special economic zones areas. He has worked as a competition economist at Turkish Competition Authority since 2005. Ussal has run TEPAV’s projects on entrepreneurship and private equity, in Turkey as well as abroad in South Caucuses, Middle East and South Asia since October 2010.
Guven Sak – Managing Director, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV)
Güven Sak holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Middle East Technical University and M.A. degree from University of East Anglia. He was a founding member of the Monetary Policy Council of the Central Bank of Turkey. His past policy-making experience includes prominent positions in Turkish social security reform projects and a leadership position in Turkish capital market modernization project. Guven is a professor of public economics at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Ankara University. He is the founding member of the board of trustees of the newly established TOBB University of Economics and Technology. He currently is the Vice Rector of the University.
Hany Sonbaty – Co-Founder, Flat6Labs
Hany is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Sawari Ventures. Prior to co-founding Sawari Ventures, he was a Partner at EFG-Hermes Private Equity, heading the TMT and Venture Capital business for 12 years. While at EFG Hermes, Mr. Al Sonbaty managed over $200 million of TMT related investments; he was also instrumental in the creation of IdeaVelopers. Prior to joining the firm, Hany was a Development Engineer at Motorola’s distributor in Egypt. He holds a M.Sc. and B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College, London.
Ozan Sönmez – Head of Accelerator Services, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Ozan started his career in Financial Auditing at Deloitte. He served as the Finance and Reporting manager of one of the largest Private Universities in Turkey until its merger with Laureate Network. After shifting his career from Finance to Business Development, he served as Vice Director and Advisor of Graduate Business School and instructed “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship”. He later worked for Angel Wings Ventures from the Netherlands. For the last 2 years, he has been the Corporate Solutions Coordinator of Ozyegin University Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a jury, mentor, trainer in many international and national entrepreneurship competitions; MIT GIST Global Innovation through Science & Technology and Berkeley’s Global Social Ventures Competition are a few to mention. He was nominated & participated to the US State Department International Visitor Leaders “Social Change Makers” Program in 2013.
Tuba Terekli – Co-Founder and CEO, Qotuf Al Riyadah Development Company
Qotuf focuses on formulating the entrepreneurial ecosystem within Saudi Arabia. In her role as CEO, Tuba has used her global and local networks to help develop entrepreneurship and women empowerment. She was a founding advisor of the Saudi Fast Growth 100 and later the Arabia 500 initiatives that highlighted the most successful, innovative and high-impact businesses throughout the region. Tuba also founded the first female-managed healthcare consultancy in the region and co-founded numerous local and international institutes. She holds a BA in Computer Science from Saudi Arabia, an MBA from the UK and an Advanced Studies degree from the USA.
Cigdem Toraman – Managing Director, Startup Bootcamp Istanbul
Cigdem’s 25-year career includes building the electronic trading system for Borsa Istanbul (BIST) in early 1990s, managing the research and development activities of Karma International in the second half of 1990s, a 10-year period in Dogan Holding, and positions including Group Director responsible for Media Sales, Marketing and Technology in Dogan Gazetecilik and later the General Manager of a private shopping site. She is the founder of Yumurtaliekmek.com and Ark of Crafts.com.
Tally Zingher – Founder, Blue Laurel
Tally is an attorney, technology consultant, and the former co-founding managing director of the MENA Investment Network—a transaction-sourcing network for Middle East investment opportunities. Prior to co-founding the MENA Investment Network, she practiced corporate law in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and on secondment with Istithmar, the sovereign wealth fund of Dubai. She started her career as a technology investment banker for Broadview International (now part of Jefferies LLC). With expertise in Middle East economic development, Zingher is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former fellow at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs.. A Fulbright scholar, she holds an A.B. in economics and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard College, an M.P.A. in development economics from the Harvard Kennedy School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.