2017 US-MENA Tech Summit

Date April 25, 2017, 8:00 am

Location White & Case LLP

1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NYSee Map

The summit is hosted by ABANA and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of New York (HBSAANY, the largest angel investor group on the East Coast), along with the Harvard Arab Alumni Association and HOF Capital.

This is the first in an annual series of Tech Summits focused on sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors, family offices, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs interested in technology-driven entrepreneurship and with ties to the Middle East and North Africa region.   

Highlights of the summit include:

A panel of leading venture capitalists
A panel of institutional investors and family offices investing both in venture capital funds and directly into technology companies
A panel of investors and senior leaders who will discuss how fintech is disrupting the large financial services players
A showcase of early-stage tech companies, presented by Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of New York

The Tech Summit immediately follows the 4th annual ABANA Summit @ Bloomberg on April 24.  

Cost: $300.  Complimentary for institutional investors, qualified founders and members of ABANA and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of New York. Contact Gabrielle Elhilow [email protected] with your professional biography to request a complimentary pass.

Thank you to our sponsors

  Thank you to our host


The Summit will include a Startup Showcase with some of the highest-potential early-stage companies in the MENA-US community.  Our Selection Committee consists of HBS Alumni Angels of NY representatives and our organizational committee. We will choose the Showcase Companies  based on only one criterion: on a risk-adjusted basis, which applying company has the highest probability of producing maximum returns for its next round of investors?  

Criteria for entry: 

– CEO (and optionally other management) can present at the Summit April 25 in NYC
– Company has demoable product, is already incorporated in the US, and at least 2 team members are already working full-time on the company.
– Have raised no more than $4m and are planning to raise capital in the next round at a pre-money valuation of no more than $10m
– At least one member of senior management has significant ties to the MENA region, AND/OR the MENA region is a significant and short-term target market.  We are particularly focused on founders who speak Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and/or Turkish, and are seeking to partner with organizations from those affinity groups.  

There is no requirement at all that anyone on the team have any connections to Harvard or any of our other affiliated university organizations.  



– April 17 5pm: Hard Deadline to apply
– April 16: Notification of Semifinalists
– April 16-20: Practice pitches
– April 21: Notification of Finalists
– April 25: live presentation at Summit

Before applying, we suggest reading Please Don’t Pitch A Venture Capitalist Without This Checklist and How To Present So People will Hear


A limited number of press passes are available. To request a press pass, please contact Zainab Al Dabbagh, [email protected]. The event is on the record.  

About Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of New York

HBSAANY is the largest angel group on the East Coast by membership, with 300 angel investors and growing. HBSAANY’s members are part of a global HBS Alumni Angels network with chapters on 4 continents.  The companies in which HBSAANY invest are NOT required to have any ties to Harvard University, and cover multiple industries and geographies, although many are in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Eastern Pennsylvania.  Members are Harvard Business School and other Harvard University alumni who invest in early-stage private companies on an individual basis.  Many are active mentors to their portfolio companies. HBSAANY’s members have experience across a wide range of industries and functional areas, and most have multiple investments in early stage companies.

About Harvard Arab Alumni Association

The Harvard Arab Alumni Association (“HAAA”) was founded in 2001 with two primary objectives. First, HAAA seeks to promote and strengthen the “Arab voice” at Harvard, an objective that was developed in response to the historical under-representation of the Arab world at Harvard University – be it within the student body, the curriculum, the faculty or the research priorities. The second objective of HAAA is to build a strong network among Harvard alumni with an interest in the Arab world, recognizing that the Harvard Arab alumni community could achieve a profound impact in the Arab world when joining forces across diverse geographies as well as educational and professional backgrounds.

Today, the Harvard Arab Alumni Association reaches over 4,000 alumni and friends and supports a number of charities, scholarship funds and initiatives throughout the Arab world, including Project Harvard Admissions to promote the admission of more Arab students at Harvard, and the HAAA Scholarship Fund, the first and only alumni-led scholarship fund at Harvard. In 2010, on account of our efforts, the Harvard President recognized us as the best Harvard alumni association.

About HOF Capital

HOF Capital is a technology venture capital firm. We look at over 2,000 companies annually to identify approximately 10 companies with the highest possible potential.  For a firm that typically invests at the Seed and Series A rounds, we have an exceptionally rich portfolio acceleration platform comprising 7 full-time staff; offices in NY (headquarters), London, and Cairo; as well as Venture Partners in San Francisco, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, and Taipei. Our team has close investing and strategic  relationships with 270+ enterprise leaders — government executives, limited partners and business development alliances.


Contact Zainab Al Dabbagh, [email protected] to discuss becoming a partner organization, speaking opportunities, and/or sponsorship opportunities.

8:00 AM Registration & Breakfast

8:45 AM Welcome
Fady Yacoub, Partner, HOF Capital
Ray Azzar, Partner, White & Case

9:00 AM U.S. Venture Capital & Ties to the MENA Region
Ahmed El Alfi, Founder & Chairman, Sawari Ventures
Omar Darwazah, General Partner, Arab Angel Fund
Sharif Elbadawi, Partner 500 Startups
Hilary Gosher, Managing Director, Insight Venture Partners
Onsi Sawiris, Managing Partner, HOF Capital

9:45 AM Institutional LP Discussion: A Growing Appetite for VC in MENA
Abbas F. (“Eddy”) Zuaiter, Managing Member, Zuaiter Capital Holdings
Zineb Guessous, Managing Partner, Almena Partners
Mohammad Al Duaij, CEO, Alea Global Group

10:30 AM  Break

10:45 AM Showcase Pitches and Discussion

12:10 PM Cross-Border FinTech Panel
Marc Atiyeh, Chief Strategy Officer, Clarity Money
Hany Rashwan, Founder, Payout
Hicham Oudghiri, Co-Founder & CEO, Enigma
Mohamed Tantawy, Founder, Agolo
Kevin Petrasic, Partner, White & Case

12:40 PM Lunch and Open Discussion


David Teten

David Teten is a Managing Partner at HOF Capital. He was previously a Partner for 6 years with ff Venture Capital, one of the best performing seed- and early-stage venture capital firms in the U.S.

Dr. Raymond Azar

Ray Azar is a partner in White & Case's Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance Group. Ray’s practice focuses on international corporate and commercial transactions, including asset-basedMore...

Hany Rashwan

Hany Rashwan was the founder/CEO of Payout.com, an API for loan disbursements, repayments and compliance for online lenders. Previously he founded Ribbon, which built the first 'buy buttons' onMore...

Hilary Gosher

Hilary Gosher is an expert in growing and scaling global technology and software companies, and an active participant in the New York city start-up community.More...

Kevin Petrasic

Kevin Petrasic is a banking partner in the Washington, DC office of White & Case LLP, and head of the Firm's Global Financial Institutions Advisory practice. He has extensive experience with bankMore...

Marc Atiyeh

Marc leads Strategy at Clarity Money where he focuses on growth efforts from User Acquisition, Operations, Partnerships, and Marketing. Prior to joining Clarity Money, he was the Head of Growth atMore...

Mohamed AlTantawi

Mohamed AlTantawy is the CTO & Co-founder of Agolo, a software company that uses artificial intelligence to create summaries from your information in real-time.

Mohammad Alduaij

Mohammad Al-Duaij, CEO, Alea Global Group, a multi award winning conglomerate single family business. Al Duaij family, carries a legacy that holds great significance in Kuwait in particular, and theMore...

Onsi Sawiris

Onsi is a Co-founder and Managing Partner at HOF Capital. He sits on the boards of ItaliaOnline (BIT:IOL), Voltaire Capital, Digital World Capital, Mach Music and World Capital Services. Previously,More...

Sharif El-Badawi

Sharif El-Badawi currently serves as Partner at 500 Startups, the most active venture capital firm in the world. In his role, he manages 500 Startups' MENA fund, focusing on seed stage investments inMore...