Startup Weekend Ras Al Khaimah

    Thursday, October 12 - 14, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Ras Al Khaimah

Thursday, October 12 - 14, 2017

Thursday, October 12 - 14, 2017
Event starts at 5:00 pm

RAK Incubation and Accelerator
Julphar Towers - Offices Tower 29th Floor
Office 2901
Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah

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Build your startup on a weekend. No Talk. All Action.

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 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.The startup weekend Ras Al Khaimah team now bring this event to the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

This 54 hour event of No Talk. All Action will be spread over 3 days.

How does it work? We aim to bring together enthusiasts like you to share ideas, form teams, build products, and, most importantly, launch startups.

Thursday: Attendees pitch their ideas and inspire others to join their teams. Teams are therefore created to work on the best ideas.

Friday and Saturday: This is where you build, build, build. And build some more. During this period teams will also focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup methodologies and building a minimum viable product and meet with industry leaders who will mentor the teams to fine tune their ideas. 

Saturday evening: In the evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.


Thursday October 12th

5:00 pm
Registration and Networking
Arrive at the venue. Get comfortable. Talk to fellow participants and get to know them. They might be working with you the rest of the weekend.

6:05 pm
Keynote Speeches

7:10 pm
Overview of Startup Weekend
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce coaches, and community leaders

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

8:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

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 October 13th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Begin Work and Coach Meetings
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend. Start meeting with the coaches.

1:00 pm

1:45 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!

7:30 pm

8:30 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 October 14th

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Being Work and Coach Meetings

1:00 pm

2:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm
Talks by Industry Leaders

4:40 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm
Judging & Awards

7:00 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Arda Atalay
Regional Manager, Talent Solutions LinkedIn MENA

Arda Atalay joined LinkedIn Middle East in 2015 as head of the MENA Growth region. Based in Dubai, Arda is currently responsible for growing an in-house team and taking LinkedIn’s suite of Talent Solutions to clients across the Middle East & North Africa A professional  with 20+ years of experience, Arda has held senior roles in Consulting  & Sales leadership positions in the 2 major IT multinationals ; Oracle & SAP in Middle East region . Arda began his career in the financial services industry  as an auditor of PWC before moving to the IT world   A citizen of Turkey, Arda  is a qualified Industrial  Engineer, father of 4 children, likes playing guitar and cooking traditional cuisine

Morrad Irsane
CEO Co-Founder of Melltoo

Morrad Irsane is the co-founder and CEO of Melltoo, a peer-to-peer marketplace for secondhand with door to door delivery. Morrad is a lifelong entrepreneur, having founded multiple businesses in the past, including two successful prior exits internationally. As an active participant in the UAE startup ecosystem, Morrad regularly engages with other entrepreneurs to build bridges and strengthen networks. He loves to meet new entrepreneurs so reach out!

Christina Andreassen
Business Development & Events at .WOMENA.

Specialize in developing and managing educational programs/campaigns in the entrepreneurship, investment and social impact space. 
Over the past nine years experience, she organized events to educate investors and entrepreneurs on angel investment and fundraising, community service opportunities for nearly 1,000 volunteers and managed educational programs that have benefited over 3,000 children and youth. 

Yousra Al Hashimi
Founder and CEO - " مركز اقرأ" Iqraa Arabic Language Center

A successful educational leader with a vision on improving educational systems, who makes positive difference and drives innovation in various aspects of education management.

Vineet Budki
Co-Founder Guiddoo World

Vineet is the co-founder of Guiddoo World - A Travel Technology Startup disrupting Tour Guiding and Trip Planning on Mobile and Handsfree Devices. He  conceptualized and implemented the end to end Ecommerce platform for Videocon d2h Online which currently has a turnover of Rs. 150Mn annually. He built a high performing Sales Unit for Paytronic Network leasing to an increment of 20,000 merchants and 20 Distributors across India. He is a mentor in the Arabian Mobile Challenge.

Event Judges

Shahram Hashemi
Group Director of Strategy & Investments | RAK Economic Zone

Mr. Shahram Hashemi serves as the Head of Strategy and Investments at RAK Economic Zone. Mr. Hashemi develops short-term & long-term business strategies for the free zone. He also manages direct investments of RAKEZ and the government of Ras Al Khaimah. Mr. Hashemi served as the Head of Investments at Oman Brunei Investment Company. He has over 14 years of international private equity and investment banking experience from top-tier global institutions. Mr. Hashemi served as Head of Investment Team and Vice President of Private Equity at DIB Capital. Prior to DIB Capital, he served as a Vice President at Ithmar Capital.

Dana Horska
Chief Investment & Innovation Officer | AWOK

Dana Horska currently is the Chief Investment and Innovation Officer at Awok, one of the regions’ leading e-commerce companies. She is responsible for setting up corporate governance and preparing the company for the next expansion phase across the region and internationally. Previously Dana was overseeing strategic investments and partnerships at twofour54, the Abu Dhabi Media Free Zone. She has supported more than 100s of startups in the region and worked closely with over 20 early and growth stage companies. Dana has been working extensively with tech accelerators in the region and was part of the team that built the largest co-working entrepreneurship space DTEC in Dubai Silicon Oasis.Dana holds a master degree in International Business and a Venture Capital Executive Program from Berkeley, California.

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.

Nathan Hunter
Acting Director of Business Development, Ras Al Khaimah Government

Nathan has been in the MENA and GCC regions for more than twenty years. In his current role with the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, he helps plan, direct, manage and oversee the activities and operations of the Economic Development Division of Ras Al Khaimah's Department of Economic Development (DED). This includes program marketing, business retention and investors attraction, international private and governmental FDI and PPP, and successor agency oversight.

Ned Jaroudi
Senior Advisor Innovation - Expo Dubai 2020

Ned is a seasoned executive with startup/turnaround experience in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has held senior roles in tech startups with successful exits (Zawya,US ventures), Fortune 500 multinationals (Intel, CA), family firms, and government (UAE Prime Minister’s Office). He is currently Senior Advisor Innovation with Expo 2020 Dubai, which he joined after launching and leading 1776 Dubai, the first international tech incubator to setup in the Middle East, in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation. He is quite active in mentoring and advising high-impact entrepreneurs, SME's, and community networks such the Stanford UAE Alumni Club, of which he was the founding president, and the Young Arab Leaders organization, of which is a board member.

Yousra Al Hashimi
Founder and CEO - " مركز اقرأ" Iqraa Arabic Language Center

A successful educational leader with a vision on improving educational systems, who makes positive difference and drives innovation in various aspects of education management.

Coaches and Mentors

Erkki Aaltonen
Executive Director at StartAD New York University Abu Dhabi

Erkki Aaltonen has more than 15 years of diversified rich experience in various investment and corporate development roles. He is a seasoned executive in venture financing and acceleration of innovative growth companies globally and has acted as a Board member and advisor for several innovative startups, both as a business angel and co-founder.   Prior to startAD, Erkki has held several key roles at Shenzhen Leaguer VC, KAUST Innovation Fund, VTT Ventures, Nokia and Nokia Ventures.  He has proven experience in finalising complex deals involving new technologies and services, valued at more than 100 million Euros.     Erkki is an innovative out-of-the box thinker who tends to take on tough challenges. He believes in the ability of technological innovation to change the world for the better and loves being a part of that. His mission is to help entrepreneurs create great companies - the kind of enterprises that can transform a whole industry.

Zehra Fattah
Senior Business Development Consultant at RAKEZ

Zehra Fattah-Bani is a Business Development Consultant for the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) and is also a journalist. She has gained valuable experience in senior roles within the private and government sector, giving her a solid foundation to consult a host of international organizations. Up till date she has developed business for a global portfolio of clients from various industry sectors. Entrepreneurship and journalism has always been Zehra’s passion, and her professional vision is to support the United Arab Emirates to achieve its potential as an investment destination of choice for leading international organizations. She publishes articles regularly on travel, lifestyle and business journalist magazines and leading publishing houses in the GCC and Europe.

Blasius D'Souza
Marketing Manager

Blasius has extensive Marketing experience with some of the world’s leading brands including Yahoo!, Infosys, Dubai Holding, Tecom Group, Dubai Internet City and RAKEZ.

He has expertise across platforms covering Brand Management, PR, Digital Marketing, Corporate Communication, Social Media Management and Corporate Events.

Mudar Kadah
Project Manager Innovation

Passionate problem solver, solution hacker and technology advocate. Seeking to drive digital transformation and technology innovation. Qualifications include a dual degree in Information Technology from Staffordshire University UK & APU Malaysia, a specialization in Information Systems Technology, SAP Certified Business Intelligence Consultant, Hasso-PlattnerInstitute – Germany trained Design Thinker. Mudar kick started his career at SAP’s Young Professionals Program, then moved to become a Co-innovation Technology associate for the SAP Training and Development Institute, driving the technology aspect of the co-innovation projects and initiatives. Currently leveraging my technology background, lean software development, cloud deployment and administration experience with a combination of design thinking practices and Innovative SAP solutions to bring brilliant ideas into reality. 

AbdulHalim Jallad
Director of ICONET center at the American University of Ras Al-Khaimah

Abdul-Halim M. Jallad received the PhD degree from the University of Surrey in 2009, and the BEng degree in from the University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom, in 2003 after receiving several academic achievement prizes. At the University of Surrey he was a member of the Surrey Space Centre where he was involved in several research and development projects in collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), a world leader in the development of small satellites.
He then joined Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan in 2009 as an assistant professor. While at Al-Zaytoonah University he founded and directed the Advanced Embedded Systems Research Lab. In 2011 he served as the Chair of the Computer and Communications Engineering (CCE) Department. He was awarded with the Jordan Engineers Association prize for innovative young engineers in 2011.
His research interests include embedded systems, system-on-chip design, distributed embedded computing, spacecraft on-board data handling, middleware design, VLSI design and reconfigurable architectures.

Essi Niittymaki
Director of Sales and Marketing at Ice Land Waterpark

Essi is a high performing, passionate and challenge driven PMP Qualified Project and Marketing Manager. She has delivered a variety of projects including a high profile consultancy programme at UCL in London supporting over 400 SMEs. She has gained a significant record of achievement to date in successful and timely delivery of projects in public and private sector, as well as lecturing at MBA level. She has over a decade of experience in Project Management, Business Support, Events Management, Marketing Communications, Brand Development and working with both public and private sector.

Sahar Idwan
Associate professor American university of ras al khamiah

Sahar is an associate professor at the engineering college in American University of Ras Al Khaimah. Holding a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) In the Field Of Computer Science since 2005 from the Colorado school of Mines. She is an active member of the Women Digital Society focusing on up scaling women computer skills 

Ian Bani
Regional Educational Development - Middle East

Ian is the Regional Business Development at Pearson Middle East since July 2016 in Dubai, He is driven by a strong belief that everyone, should have access to high quality education and training. Education has the power to positively change and improve achievement and performance in the workplace. He knew it had a huge impact on his life, and gave him the confidence to face any challenge. Effective training programs, not only impact on the performance of employees who directly engage them, but also on the performance of all stakeholders that come into contact with them.

Abbad Kharsa
B.S. Economics. EMBA in International Business.

Abbad is a professional management consultant with special expertise in behavioral economics and customer experience enhancement. 14 years of experience in hospitality and business consulting in Syria, KSA, and the UAE. Abbad is the founder and chief strategy officer of Global Benchmarking Hub for Statistical Solutions which provides the services of benchmarking, business intelligence, and revenue management to the retail and hospitality industries.     

Zakaria Al-Qudah
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at American University of Ras Al Khaimah

Zakaria is the Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at American University of Ras Al Khaimah. Before this Zakaria was Professor in Yarmouk University, Jordan. 

Mohamed El-Kelany
Founder, General Manager at MK Artwork

15 years of experience in the Middle East, expertise in marketing, brand building, brand & marketing communication, marketing strategy, sales strategy, PR, media and advertising. Worked for international clients and brands including P&G, Kraft, Four Seasons Hotel, Buddha Bar, Les clefs d'or, Coldwell banker, Schneider, Gulf Cooperation Council for Tourism and Antiquities, Lois, Lindt and celebrities.

Dulce Lada
Marketing Manager

Dulce Rose Lada is the Marketing Manager at Womena, an Angel Investment Network in the Middle East. She oversees digital marketing, entrepreneur sourcing, administration, and  project management. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science in Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, she worked on various roles in the startup ecosystem, from being a startup founder and community builder and now in the investments space.

Nabra Al Busaidi
Executive Director at Young Arab Leaders

Nabra comes with a background in Commercial and Mergers and Acquisition Law. Her professional experience includes working closely with HSBC Bank Oman S.A.O.G Board of Directors and senior management with the core responsibility of applying Corporate Governance Standards. In addition, she proactively provided support to the CEO and management to meet their business objectives and ensured trust is created between the Regulators and the Bank and that the Board of Directors are aware of their corporate legal and regulatory responsibilities through ongoing board induction, training and development. Nabra received her Legal Practice Course and Master’s Degree in Commercial Law from the University of Law, London.

Pedram Assadi
Head of Operations at Uber

Omar Hadidi

Omar is the Senior Entrepreneur Manager at Eureeca, the first global equity crowdfunding platform. Eureeca enables members of its investor network, who range from casual and angel investors to institutional firms, to buy shares in growth-oriented businesses, while providing operational businesses with crucial access to capital.

Imad Oubiri
Business Development Executive at RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Currently serving as Business Development Expert - Investment Promotion Director at the RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Legal Translator at the RAK International Reconciliation and Arbitration Center. During recent years, led major development initiatives with Officials & Governmental bodies, organised and led official and business delegations in country and abroad, and initiated trade and economic missions & investment seminars. Also contributing to Corporate Communication through numerous publications, maintaining close relationships with key economic players, investors and decision makers in the UAE and worldwide.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Ras Al Khaimah team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
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Organizing Team

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

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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. 

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