SWAmman - Fifth Edition

    Thursday, November 13 - 15, 2014

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team

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SWAmman - Fifth Edition

Thursday, November 13 - 15, 2014

Thursday, November 13 - 15, 2014
Event starts at 5:30 pm

ZINC (Zain Innovation Center)

Amman, Jordan

Startup Weekend Amman V {Fifth Edition}

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Thursday November 13th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Event Kick-Off
The Event Starts

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:10 pm
Speaker Slot: Rami Al-Karmi
Rami will take you in a journey intro the entrepreneurship realm

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

10:00 pm
Wrap-up and Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Friday November 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

11:30 am
Lunch and Prayers Break

1:30 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

4:00 pm
Speaker Slot : Abo Al-Ghoor

6:00 pm
Speaker Slot

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 15th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:30 pm
Speaker: Iman Mutlaq

4:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Rami Al-Karmi
Entrepreneurship & Investment Advisor at Zain

Rami Al-Karmi is a proud geek, investor, and widely recognized adviser on strategy, business model innovation, and building lean startup ecosystems.  an LP & Mentor at 500 Startups in San Francisco. 
He founded his 1st startup at the age of 19. Till date, his footprint includes more than 100 companies in MENA and Silicon Valley that he either invested in, mentored, served on their boards of directors, or advisory boards.
Rami holds an Electrical Engineering degree from University of Jordan, he completed the Venture Capital Executive Program at HAAS UC Berkeley, and “The Leading for the future”, and “The Leading, Organizing for Action” Executive Programs at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Senior Executive Education Program at UC San Diego. He currently serves on the board of trustees at Elia Nuqul Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arcoten Holdings, and Octonious. Rami is a passionate advocate of the Lean Startup and customer development methodology and is a regular judge, mentor & keynote speaker at the region's important entrepreneurship & technology events. 

Ahmad Ghanem
CEO & Co founder @ Baaboonej company

Studied Computer information systems, graduated in 2008 then working as a team leader for quality assurance department on aspire services company. Then am working as a creative director /actor /writer. Start working in this field with fooqalsada company as a co-founder and I made more than 90 videos. Then am open my own company for online entertainment / production and creative advertising under the name BaaBoonej on 1-March-2013

Event Judges

Omar Tahboub
VP of Product @ Bayt

Omar has architected and led the development of Oracle's next generation payment processing solution -- Oracle Payments. He is specialized in architecting business applications, product management, product strategy, ERP systems, Oracle Applications, Oracle technologies, localization and globalization, partners ecosystems, management of direct, matrix, and cross-functional teams. Currently Omar heads product management and software development at Bayt.

Deema Bibi
CEO @ Injaz

Deema Bibi is the CEO of INJAZ, a non-profit organization established in Jordan in 2001 specialized in inspiring and preparing youth to become productive members of society. Bibi has over twenty years of diverse experience and is recognized both locally and internationally as a leader and social entrepreneur, with strategic insight that has helped build bridges between NGOs and the private and public sectors through partnerships that contribute to sustainable development. She is a founding member of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF), a member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), the Technical Committee of the Economic Empowerment Program, the Eisenhower Fellowship, the ASPEN Institute Fellowship, and the Synergos Senior Fellowship.

Rasha Bakarat
HR Admin and Al Shabab Director at Zain

Rasha Barakat is known for: Human Resources experience in a high tech fast paced industry Extensive background in HR generalist affairs recruitment and selection training and development employee engagement employee relations, conflict resolution organization development compensation and benefits performance management and change management Develop and implement organization development programs and interventions Manage Zain Jordan Youth arm with their different activities that range from CSR to sales and marketing. Part of Zain Jordan’s Corporate Entrepreneurship Responsibility Division that is focused on supporting youth with great ideas and enhancing the current position of startups through different support mechanisms. Play a key role in driving organizational change in alignment with business strategy.

Ghadier Bana
CEO – Co founder at Wikikiwis

"An artist, animator calligrapher and writer. BA in German Language and English literature, University of Jordan. Endeavor to spread social and global consciousness!."   She is currently the CEO & Co founder of wikikiwis for new media and animation services, and the Production manager for live shooting and post production / Script QA at Rubicon Holding Group.    Ghadier has a vast skill set with great expertise in art, animation, and design, and mostly in her English Calligraphy skills. She started her journey 15 years ago and filled various titles in different companies as a CEO, COO, production manager, art director, QA, team leader, designer, animator & illustrator, such as Wikikiwis, Rubicon, Abu Mahjoob, Kharabeesh and Albawaba.     

Jawdat Shammas
SEO Manager @ Souq

Jawdat Shammas is a web and mobile professional since 1996, he is currently the SEO Manager of Souq.com (The largest Ecommerce website in the middle east) Before Souq.com Jawdat worked as online marketing manager for OpenSooq.com (the largest Arabic classifieds website).Jawdat started working in the Digital Marketing field since 2007 where he managed hundreds of digital marketing campaigns for tens of companies and startups in the MENA region and managed millions of dollars of ad spend, he also worked on marketing tens of mobile apps driving millions of organic and paid app downloads.Jawdat is a Certified SEO professional, Certified Internet Webmaster, Certified in Google Analytics for Ecommerce, Certified Zend Engineer and a Certified Instructor, he started providing professional training since 2000, Jawdat is a public speaker and mentor for few startups in Jordan.

Coaches and Mentors

Yahya Titi
Senior Android Developer @ Kalboard 360

I started several startups in different fields, but most of my startups are in ICT , the most notable  are Amman cinemas that I started back in 2010, I ended up shutting it down in 2012, Then I started Dealtic, the digital offers magazine in Amman, it is still growing and in its early phases, I also have a current startup in trading business, this also is in its early phases, on my career side , I work as a Senior Android Developer in Kalboard 360 the innovative company that is moving the school education in Amman and the world from paper to Tablets.

Ata Alqadi
Game Producer @ Palringo

Graduated from PSUT as a computer engineer, Ata decided to pursue the entrepreneurial life after graduation, and he co-founded Benu Technologies in 2008 to provide development services to clients all over the globe. In late 2012 the company shifted focus into social games and mobile gaming, and was renamed to Madvillage Entertainment, but in late 2013 and during the collapse of the gaming industry in Jordan, he decided to join the popular group messenger company of Palringo in its attempts to develop the social gaming world as an External Development Manager, and 6 months later, he followed his passion as a Game Producer, working on a couple of the most interesting titles produced by Palringo.

Ashraf Samhouri
Web Business Advisor @ Ayhayla

I’ve been born with coding spoon in mouth, I’ve never known why I was learning this geeky stuff, the web technologies. However, I do admit I was lucky to go this way. No, I don’t call myself a web developer – I’ve established a number of startups that don’t even need an internet connection, including an innovation-oriented NGO. I don’t believe in titles, call me ASH.

Farah Isam
Online Marketing Project Manager @ IstiZada Online Digital Marketing and SEO Company

Farah is an online project Manager at IstiZada, a digital marketing agency in Amman, Jordan. She is experienced in various forms of online marketing such as social media, SEO, Affiliate marketing, and pay per click advertising. She was featured as a TEDx speaker and at the Mawaheb Talent event. She is the creator and host of the popular LOL بتحصل مع الكل   show on YouTube and the author of a best-selling book in 2013بين الفرح و الحب كلمة   and the novel قدر أحمر الخطى that will be published soon in 2014. She is also a scenarist and writer of "Noor," a movie that will be shot in 2015. Farah is also a blogger since 2009 on her own blog : Farah’s Blog 

Ahmad Takatkah
Senior Manager @ Arzan VC

Ahmad is a VCpreneur from Arabia focusing on investing in Internet and Mobile ventures. Ahmad used to be a venture partner at Leap Ventures and an advisor to MIT Arab Angel Network. Prior to joining leap ventures, Ahmad was the Head of Investments at N2V, managing the holding’s Investments in local early stage web companies in the Middle East region. Ahmad is a Kauffman Fellow, and went to Harvard executive training for Venture Capital and Private Equity. He is Board member and advisor in several web and mobile web startups in the Middle East, a former member of the VC Task Force at the MENA Private Equity Association. He is also a Judge and Mentor at MIT Arab Startup competition, ArabNet Startup Demo, Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition (QRNEC), Startup Weekend (Amman, Cairo, Riyadh), Oasis500 Accelerator, Zajil Award for Arab Web Startups, Creative Business Cup (CBC), Seed Startup Accelerator, iPark Incubator in Jordan, and several Startup Weekend Bootcamps. Ahmad is also known as an active VC Blogger on his blog http://VCpreneur.com. He holds an MBA from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), a B.Sc. degree in electronics engineering from Princess Sumaya University of Technology (PUST).

Mohannad Arbaji
Founder & CEO @ Chalk Talk Solutions

Mohannad Arbaji attended the Jubilee School in Jordan on full scholarship before getting another full $50,000 scholarship to attend the IB high school, the United World College of the American West (UWC- USA). At UWC-USA, Mohanad was a student leader for numerous activities and was a New Mexico Statewide Math Competition finalist. Mohannad later attended Brown University on a full $300,000 scholarship, where graduated in honors in 2012 with B.Sc. Electrical Engineering - Computer Engineering & B.A. Economics. Back at Brown, Mohannad was the president of the Arab Club, the Community Chair of Buxton International House, and a player on the Brown varsity rugby team among other activities. At Brown Mohannad co-authored the world’s first certification system for oil and gas exploration which is currently being implemented across numerous oil fields in Latin America. Mohannad also authored the world's first SAT prep book tailored for the specific cultural and linguistic needs of international students. He then started the test prep company, Chalk Talk International, in Jordan while still in his sophomore year in college with only $200 in startup capital. Today Chalk Talk International has operations spanning 4 countries, and boasts test prep score improvements 2-3x higher than those of leading competitors.   One year after graduating from college, Mohannad raised $600,000 for his new Education Technology startup, Chalk Talk Solutions, from institutional Jordanian investors. Chalk Talk Solutions is creating an immensely-powerful personalized learning platform that helps humans learn anything they want by creating custom-tailored courses for each user's individual brain. Chalk Talk creates complex visual representations of the learning diagrams in the student's brains at a given point in time, records the student's learning objective (e.g. getting a high score on the GRE), and generates a clear path for that student to achieve that goal. Chalk Talk Solutions just released the first version of its product last week and has already gotten several users signed up for its site from countries like Jordan, India, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Our web application currently focuses on helping students achieve higher grades on English-based standardized exams, starting with the SAT, but we aim to expand our content offerings significantly in 2015.

Mohammad Shaddad
Founder/CEO @ TechCardo

Coming from a background in leading the design and development of enterprise solutions for financial services for 8 years, Mohammad started his first startup, 3al.tv in 2013 and ended up shutting down 3al.tv operations early 2014. In July 2014, Mohammad moved to start his second startup, TechCardo (http://techcardo.com); an online education platform serving the Arab Technology Community: Professionals, Students and anyone interested in technology.

Eyad Shtiwe
Founder & Cartoonist @ MeShows Animation Studio

* Born in 1985 
* Bachelor of Graphic Design & Animation - University of Philadelphia, 2007. 
* Cartoonist at the site of the World Cartoon Movment in the Netherlands. 
* Founder of the first newspaper for young people in the universities in Jordan - Quiz youth 
* Founder  Meshows Animation Studio ( www.meshows.com )
* Won the award for Best Comics in 2013 in Amsterdam, on the site  (www.cartoonmovement .com ) , the subject of children's rights in the world. 
* Participant in many art galleries and social activities and civil society organizations.

Maher Jilani
Cofounder and user experience director @ Plexable

I am a cofounder and user experience director of Plexable. I have studied business management in University of North Alabama, Petra and a holder for a lot of certifications from other prestigious institutes in different topics (Entrepreneurship, User experience, and leadership). I am also a certified international professional trainer. I have around 7 years in user experience and multimedia production. I have worked as a lead UX designer for a lot of Web applications, social networks and mobile applications on international and national levels. My personal passion is growing businesses and building products the best way possible. Growing and managing creative, spreading knowledge, training and learning more. 

Saeed Omar
CEO @ Arab Startup Consultants

I am an entrepreneur with a conscious towards community and society. I have Founded SitatByoot.net to help women in the Arab world sell their handmade products. Also founded ArabStartupConsultants.com as a consultancy firm to consult entrepreneurs and organizations that help entrepreneurs. I have helped establish 3 Startup Accelerators in the Middle East one of them is http://QBIC.qa. I have also authored the entrepreneurship curriculum 'Company Startup Program' currently being taught at 15+ universities in Jordan. 

Nour Khrais
Founder and CEO @ Maysalward

Founder and CEO of Maysalward and Chairman of Jordan Gaming Task Force with over than 14 years of international experience in the Online and Mobile Value Added Services. Prior to forming Maysalward, he worked in a multicultural environment between VAS companies in Jordan,Dubai,Egypt,Qatar and France. Nov 2003 under a Glocalized vision KHRAIS Launched the first Mobile Game Development operation in the Middle East Region offering unique games targeting the Middle East, Europe and Latin American Markets     KHRAIS holds a Master in International Business, Global Marketing and Internationalization, Diploma in Mobile Telecommunication and Bsc of Agriculture Engineering. His passion for Games and mobile entertainment enforced with strong a business vision and management in mobile value added services guarantee the success and uniqueness of product and services production.   Khrais is a Certified Scrum Master in video gaming.

Dana Masoud
Talent Development Consultant

Dana Masoud is a Business Development, Management, Talent Acquisition & Development professional, and Motivational Coach with proven record in growing Sales, and Building Teams in multiple industries. She has a success record in opening new markets, developing loyal customers, and creating referral relationships. She’s adept at understanding and mapping customer needs to company products and services. She’s equally effective and happy in Business Development, Entrepreneurial (Start-Ups) and Talent Development roles.

Ghadier Bana
CEO – Co founder at Wikikiwis

"An artist, animator calligrapher and writer. BA in German Language and English literature, University of Jordan. Endeavor to spread social and global consciousness!."   She is currently the CEO & Co founder of wikikiwis for new media and animation services, and the Production manager for live shooting and post production / Script QA at Rubicon Holding Group.    Ghadier has a vast skill set with great expertise in art, animation, and design, and mostly in her English Calligraphy skills. She started her journey 15 years ago and filled various titles in different companies as a CEO, COO, production manager, art director, QA, team leader, designer, animator & illustrator, such as Wikikiwis, Rubicon, Abu Mahjoob, Kharabeesh and Albawaba.     

Randa Al-Baker
Business Development Engineer @ ETA-max Energy & Environmental Solutions

Randa AlBaker is an energetic, ambitious, and hard-working industrial engineer; she is passionate about Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Renewable Energy and Green living. As an entrepreneur, she developed a Business plan for "EcoSociety" Project which was among finalist teams at Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition- QRNEC in 2013. Also, for two years she was a member of an innovative, multi awards-winning Start-up named Taqetna specialized in renewable energy design and training; where she co-founded and supported the establishment of high quality training services. Currently she works as Business Development Engineer at ETA-max for energy and environmental solutions; a company specialized is the design, development and installation of solar energy systems and solutions. She holds a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from the Hashemite University of Jordan.   She believes that a Better World is Greener World :)

Chris Jackson

I came to the Middle East in January, 2012 hoping to further my understanding of a region I have been enamored with for the previous 15 years of my life. I never thought that journey would bring me to where I am today. What started as an academic adventure in the language of Arabic has lead me to a startup media company, NA3M (نعم), influencing and inspiring positive change in the region.
Being the third person at a startup has afforded me the incredible opportunity to witness the ups and downs of starting a company. It has given me the opportunity to build and manage an amazing team, direct marketing campaigns, make adjustments to our games and marketing initiatives based on data analysis, research an ever evolving industry; and develop and lead projects with other companies and organizations.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The SWAmman - Fifth Edition team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.



Media And Other Contributors

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Amman is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Ali
  • Ghassan
  • Mujtaba
  • Mohammed
  • Reem
  • Aseel
  • Yasmin
  • Halah
  • Hana
  • Isra'
  • Batoul
  • Masoud
    Al Helou


Ghassan Halawa
Founder / CEO of Parachute16

Ghassan Halawa is a serial entrepreneur and is active in the Jordanian start-up ecosystem. Holds a bachelor degree in MIS and a MBA from BAU in Jordan, with 8 years of experience
in business management,four of them in entrepreneurial ventures, A believer in
entrepreneurship and innovation and theirs impact on the community,also how we can make a difference together by sharing our experience. Ghassan also founder of Innovation Dialogues - Jordan & Startup tribe - Jordan as well as
other different startups in many sector; media,food ,education and consultation, And a facilitator of many global entrepreneurial events in Jordan and the region, also he is fellow of Enpact - Germany & Badir Jordan.

About his startup is called Parachute16, It is a consultation and edutainment company. it helps companies build an entrepreneurship & innovation culture within a firm, assist its business development, and builds business incubators for big companies in MENA region, Parachute16 also finds new and innovative ways to interactive education, also helps startups to build their business development strategies and expand their operation.

Ali Hilli
Lead Organizer @ SWAmman

Is the a serial entrepreneur, from a member in TAG EPDForum, to founding Hilark for Tech Solutions, , to leading the german government vocational/business development project in Jordan, to becoming the entrepreneurship consultant for Zain Iraq. his wide range of expertise expands from the IT realm to the Business Realm. In addition to that he’s leading the StartupWeekend Chapter in Amman - Jordan. He holds university degrees in both Software Engineering and Business Administration as well as being a certified designer from Adobe.

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