Startup Weekend Dubai

    Thursday, January 25 - 27, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Dubai

Thursday, January 25 - 27, 2018

Thursday, January 25 - 27, 2018
Event starts at 6:15 pm

Dubai Future Accelerator
Emirates Towers
Dubai , United Arab Emirates

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Calling entrepreneurs, hackers, dreamers, change makers and catalysts: change the world in 54 hours!

Techstars Startup Weekend Dubai - Smart Cities Presented by INFINITI.

TECHSTARS STARTUP WEEKEND x INFINITI SMART CITIES would like to explore new smart cities business models, Blockchain, IoT, AI and many more!

Meet like-minded entrepreneurs. Be inspired. And START SOMETHING!
Together with INFINITI, we are committed to empower entrepreneurs to pitch their best idea, build a dream team and create the next startup unicorn! The hardest part of starting up is starting out; Startup Weekend targets exactly this by immersing participants in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen. Our goal is to encourage and inspire more leaders in startup teams and to connect more entrepreneurs to the vast number of resources and mentors available in our startup community.   Have the urge to create? Think you have the best idea for the next best thing? Then, listen up. 

Techstars Startup Weekend Dubai is bringing you our Smart Cities edition this January 25 - 27, presented by INFINITI. 
 I have questions, who should I ask? Almost every question is answered here: 
Otherwise, simply email us at with anything!
Learn more about the agenda, mentors, and organizers --> here!  About INFINITI:

INFINITI Motor Company Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with representations in 50 markets around the world. The INFINITI brand was launched in 1989. Its range of premium automobiles is currently built in manufacturing facilities in Japan, the United States, United Kingdom and China.  INFINITI plans to also expand manufacturing into Mexico by 2017.
 INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing.INFINITI is in the middle of a major product offensive. The brand has been widely acclaimed for its daring design and innovative driver-assistance technologies.

From the 2016 season, INFINITI is a technical partner of the Renault Sport Formula One team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance.
 More information about INFINITI and its industry leading technologies can be found at You can also follow INFINITI on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube. INFINITI LAB aims to empower ambitious startups to reach their full potential. The LAB finds driven disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs, and supports them as they turn ideas into action. Discover the Programs offered by INFINITI LAB and bring your ideas to life! 

What is Startup Weekend? Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations.  

Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs.

The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.  Whether you are looking for feedback on an idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

Whether you come to start a company, 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

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Thursday January 25th

6:15 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:55 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Speaker Session

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

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Eat food, get to know fellow participants and discuss teams

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

10:00 pm
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 January 26th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

1:00 pm

1:10 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!

7:00 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 January 27th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Coaches Check-In
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:30 pm

2:30 pm
Final Mentor Sessions

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

6:30 pm

7:00 pm
Final Presentations

9:15 pm
Judging & Awards

9:30 pm

9:35 pm
Startup Weekend 2018 Smart Cities End!

Event Judges

Gary Sheynkman
Corporate Lead for Techstars Dubai Accelerator in Partnership with GINCO at Techstars

 living in Dubai working across the early stage venture and public sectors. I'm currently running The Fly Labs, an advisory and investment firm based in Dubai working with government entities on early stage technology ecosystem development.

Most recently I co-founded Ampathy, an impact technology company in NY and have been helping Dubai Holding spin up corporate venturing initiatives. Prior to that, I worked with Abu Dhabi Media to create a new digital product subsidiary,, where I led product management, organizational structuring, vendor management, and new platform integrations in my advisory capacity to the CEO.

Previously I was the Video Technology Product Lead at VICE Media and Director of Ad-Ventures for Carrot Creative. I am currently living in Dubai (New York, Prague, Dubai, and Chicago before) and until April 2012 was serving as Director of Corporate Development for Piksel, splitting my time between an office desk, a tray table, and most geeky trade show floors.

Ross Maclean
Chief Digital & Innovation Officer

Ross is the Chief Digital & Innovation Officer for EY in MENA. As a Partner in EY’s Advisory business, he also leads the Digital and Innovation agenda for EY across 73 countries in Africa, India and the Middle East. Ross is leading the build out of EY-Seren across the region, which is EY's design business. He also leads the set up of EYx, EY's innovation team which is designed to work with clients to address the age of disruption, as well as finding new ways for EY to work.

Ross previously led the incubation and build out of the largest dedicated Customer Advisory practice in MENA. Ross is passionate about helping our clients to build valuable, trusted relationships with their customers and focuses on designing and implementing great end to end experiences, across all physical and digital channels.

Rekha Setpal
Head of Programs and Partnerships | In5

Rekha Setpal is Head of Community Services, Dubai Internet City, a member of TECOM Group. She is responsible for enhancing Startups and ICT industry ecosystem that nurtures entrepreneurship through thought-leadership/industry partnerships. 

Rekha has been a part of the management team of in5 Innovation Centre ( that supports ICT and digital media startup ecosystem in Dubai that drives entrepreneurs from the early stage right up to the commercial launch of the product or service. In5 supports startups with 5-key benefits Setup, Mentorship, Coaching/Training, Networking and Access to Funding.

Rekha brings with her rich macro-management skills and a systemic perspective on effective project development and the incubation of new business ideas. Through her long association with DIC, she has successfully created an enabling business environment.

Craig D'Silva
Head of Corporate Communications & PR I-MEA at Infiniti Middle East

Craig D’Silva is a seasoned Communications professional with over 12 years of experience delivering result oriented communications programs (B2B & B2C) in the wider Middle East region. Currently he is employed with Infiniti as the Head of Corporate Communications & PR spanning the GCC and Levant.
As the IMEA lead, his scope of work is to drive Infiniti brand advocacy from a corporate positioning and consumer outreach perspective. This includes the formulation of the regional communication strategy as well as consultation on the EMEA strategy with a clear focus on budgetary alignment in addition to an 'always ready' crisis communications strategy.
Prior to Infiniti, he has had a wealth of agency experience in senior leadership covering the Retail, Hospitality & Real Estate sectors that includes; BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, JW Marriot International, Ritz Carlton, Meydan Sobha, Fitness First Middle East, Ferrari Middle East & Africa, Dubai Properties Group & Jumeirah Restaurants, WEFS, ZFEP, GCF, and UNCTAD.
D’Silva holds a B.A. First Class Honours in Business & Marketing from the Middlesex University, London, UK.

Coaches and Mentors

Guillermo Ginesta

Guillermo has  over 10 years’ experience in Innovation and Digital Transformation. He’s worked with a number of startups as an advisor/consultant and with large corporations and multinationals pushing innovation and driving digital strategies. He currently runs the INFINITI LAB Accelerator program globally. Past experience includes INFINITI Motors, Oregon Scientific, Speedo, Lacoste, Ted Baker, Cosme De Net, as well as sitting on the Board of Directors for the Chilean Chamber of Commerce and being on the Advisory Board of a number of not-for-profit organisations, like AARAMBH India. He has worked with over 50+ startups and is an active Angel Investor. Guillermo has a BSc in Management (hons) and a Masters’ degree, MSc Marketing & Strategy, all from the University of Warwick. When not found working with startups and founders, he can be seen hiking around Hong Kong with his crazy dog.

Hisham Safadi
Founder and CEO at UDENZ

Dr. Hisham is an entrepreneur, qualified dentist, knowledgeable lecturer and motivational coach. He is an experienced medical facility manager and an accomplished health care insurance and investment professional with 9+ years of diversified in 
- Identification and negotiation of business opportunities to achieve organizational objectives.
-Providing healthcare advisory and managerial experience within the healthcare sector, providing strategy for the medical oversight for creating new departments and marketing services on national and international scale.
- setting the strategic direction and priorities within the context of the healthcare investment projects and new business start-up in this sector.
-Teaching and leading people to enhance patient experience and improving leadership style through education, coaching and training.

Mashal Waqar
CTO & Co-founder | The Tempest

Mashal Waqar is the co-founder and CTO of The Tempest, the fastest growing online media company for diverse women in the world. She is a fierce advocate of accessibility, diversity, and inclusion, and has been awarded the "Young Leader of the Year" at the 19th WIL Economic Forum and the the 2017 President’s Cup for her work. She previously worked on Deaf accessibility initiatives at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Dubai campus, and is currently leading the accessibility pivot at The Tempest. The Tempest has been awarded by Forbes for media this year, and is quickly growing to become a household name, by building a loyal audience with over 3 million monthly readers. Waqar strongly believes in empowering women and bringing their voices to the forefront; her prior work experience comes from transitioning in roles in cyber security, digital marketing, and tech while working for various startups. Waqar graduated from RIT with a degree in Computing Security and minors in International Business & NSSA. 

Karsten Jankowski
Deputy General Manager of Marketing at INFINITI Middle East

Karsten joined INFINITI Middle East beginning of 2016  as Deputy General Manager in charge with media strategy for the entire Middle East and Levant region and marketing digitalization.  He joined INFINITI coming from Volkswagen being the Global Head of Biddable Media and in a previous function Marketing Director of Volkswagen Middle East.

Petar Stojanov
Co-founder at Ebtikar

Dr. Petar has navigated multiple careers across three continents, from academic research scientist and lecturer in Australia, to corporate technical consultant in Germany, before settling in the UAE as a management consultant and entrepreneur.

In 2016, Petar founded Ebtikaar, a boutique innovation advisory. In less than a year, Ebtikaar has executed a portfolio of successful projects across the UAE, including the region’s first academically supported entrepreneurship accelerator mentorship program, as well as building entrepreneurship and innovation competencies in the Dubai Government under the highly acclaimed EXPO and Dubai 10X initiatives, as well as developing innovation competencies with the UAE Ministry of Education. Nominated for the 2017 Arabian Business Mentor of the Year award, Petar is a contributing writer for Entrepreneur ME, Arabian Business and Inc. Arabia and regularly speaks on his favoured topic; the
Science of Disruptive Innovation.

Jennifer Warren
AtlasX Ventures, Founder and Managing Partner

With nearly 20 years of experience in investment banking and management consulting, Jennifer provides advisory and investment services to SMEs, start-ups, family offices and global corporates. Jennifer is Founder and Managing Partner of AtlasX Ventures, which sources direct investment and business expansion opportunities for clients and provides advisory services to drive high-growth financial performance and step-change business strategies. Previously, Jennifer worked in New York City, London and UAE for global organisations, including First Gulf Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Capital, Lehman Brothers, KPMG and Arthur Andersen. Jennifer is a member of WAIN (Women’s Angel Investor Network) and actively involved in advising start-ups and SMEs in the GCC.  

Sana Rahim
Strategic Marketing and Brand Development Consultant

Sana Rahim previous worked in Apple with an extensive experience of more than 9 years in sales, marketing and event management within UAE. With a background in International Business & Marketing Communications, and a passion for consumer psychology as well as brand experience, I have worked on a diverse range of projects that caters to Electronics, Retail, Healthcare, Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Non-profit organisations and now Media and Entrepreneurship sectors.Currently I am practicing as a Strategic Marketing and Brand Development Consultant, which involves designing blue prints under this category at a strategic level for renowned organisations like Al Tayer Group, Landmark Group as well as SMEs.I am also a practicing researcher having successfully shared my research in UK and UAE. Furthermore, I am also an acting mentor for startups and budding entrepreneurs in this region across various panels (Abu Dhabi Global Market, Google for Entrepreneurs, Middlesex University)

Laura Toma
CEO & Founder | Grey Matter

Laura Toma has over 9 years of experience as education and communication consultant in several countries across two continents. She has facilitated educational experiences through mentoring, training and complex learning programs for the full spectrum of organization, from NGOs to government entities, from startups to SMEs, from schools to universities.

Ramzy Ismail
Program Director at Techstars Dubai

Ramzy Ismail is the Program Director at Techstars Dubai Manager. Prior to relocating to the UAE, Ramzy worked as project manager at Flat6Lab, worked with EnterBridge Mobility, a SaaS product company based out of the U.S. as the Director of Business Development. Concurrently, Ramzy served as the Co-founder and CEO of, a mobile and web-based unique venues marketplace that was accelerated through Lighthouse Lab RVA (GAN accelerator) in 2013. Before becoming a founder Ramzy was an Associate in Genworth Financial’s Leadership Development Program where he rotated through M&A and expense analytics roles. His experience also includes corporate strategy and product development internships with VeriSign, Capital One, and the CFO of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He graduated from VCU in 2012 with dual degrees Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Tiberiu Iacomi
Chief Probability Officer - The Improbable Agency

An expert in Business Communication, Tiberiu Iacomi is titled as the "Chess Player in the world of communications and business strategy.Bringing in great global experience having worked in 4 countries is fields of Data Analytics, EdTech and Entrepreneurship. 

Tiberiu in 2015 founded his company The Improbable Agency, a communication and business strategy agency for challenger and disruptive brands. The agency been working with more than 30 companies from 3 continents and 6 different industries - ranging from e-commerce to IT and up to digital media and edtech. IKEA, Dubai World Trade Center, Sheraa are amongst the many disruptive brands the agency has been working with.

Along with that Tiberiu's diverse portfolio includes being a mentor at 1776, Host at the AfterHour show, Contributing writer at Inc. Arabia and much more. 

Vijay Tirathrai
Managing Director - Techstars Dubai

Vijay is a serial entrepreneur, mentor and a seasoned C-level executive. He has over 30 years of international experience in start-ups, business development and transformation roles covering several industries; namely retail, manufacturing and associations management. Respected by his peers and colleagues for its visionary drive, business strategy acumen and his inspiring leadership-style. He has operated and conducted business in over 25 countries and enjoys an expansive global network of peers. 

As the former CEO and Chairman of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, he now seeks to nurture and invest in start-ups and early stage companies to grow through mentor-ship, access to global networks and venture capital.

Irina Heaver
Senior Business Lawyer | Partner - Ficht & Co

Irina is Partner and Head of Commercial & Technology at Fichte & Co. With over 14 years of experience, she specializes in the broad spectrum of commercial and corporate work including M&A, disposals, corporate restructurings and governance issues, regulatory framework, funding matters, as well as complex joint ventures and strategic alliances. 

Irina regularly represents emerging technology business such as IT infrastructure and Cloud services, software and tech development companies, cryptocurrency enterprises, e-commerce and online marketplaces; as well as heavy industrial players, such as engineering, chemicals, industrial manufacturing, energy, oil&gas and defence companies. 
Irina is an Australian qualified lawyer and holds Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degrees from Monash University. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Dubai 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.

Signature Sponsors

Venue Partner

Community Partner

Contributing Sponsor

Organizing Team

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

  • Dulce
  • Misbah
  • Tarun
  • Mohamed Nawaz
  • Ahmad Sufian
  • Sudeep
  • Christina


Sudeep Dsouza
Operations Manager, Inforica FZE

Sudeep is a startup enthusiast and has experience in setting up and operating software development and services companies. He has done many startup weekends in India and the Middle East over the last 10 years. 

Event Staff

Samayak Malhotra
Student at BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus


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