I had the good fortune the other day of attending New York University – Abu Dhabi’s IdeaLab  Startup Series Fall 2015. This is a six part series on various topics relevant to the Middle Eastern entrepreneurs.

The first session titled “Startup War Stories” consisted of two sets of panel discussions –

  • Startups just beginning their journey
  • Startups who are little farther down journey

The first set consisted of some truly impressive people just starting their journey and are tremendously excited about what the future holds for them. The panel consisted of the founders of –

  • Rafael Scharan – Co-founder of the Blacksmith Coffee Company
  • Mohamed Amine Belarbi – Co-founder of VUL9 Security Solutions
  • Neesha Law – Co-founder of Goodybox
  • Ibrahim Manna – Co-founder of Ship & Connect
  • Carl Hewlett – Co-founder of Clockoff.com

This set of entrepreneurs shared how they began, their motivations, support systems and current challenges they face. The beauty of this panel was they all come from different walks of life and areas of starting up are quite different. From Neesha who is trying to change the snack food industry with an emphasis of organic sourcing and online subscription model to Rafael Scharan who wants to start a post-Starbucks wave of gourmet coffee consumption. Mohamed who is working on creating one of the first security focused technology companies to Carl who wants to create a place for people looking to unwind.

The second panel consisted of people who were a couple of years into their startup journey. The interesting aspect about this group was how they emphasized on keeping the fire going and having the spirit of innovation going even when things are not going well.

  • Nicole Rogers – Co-founder of Agriprocity
  • Mohammed Alkaff – Co-founder of Netaq
  • Aschkan Abdul Malek – Co-founder of AlemHealth

I hope to meet these amazing people soon and get you more of their stories. Keep watching this space for more. And don’t forget to show your love and spread the word…



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