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Startup Confessionals

Hakawati | حكواتي

26 episodes

Feb 28, 2022

Powering Gaza with solar-panels with Majd Mashharawi 

Today’s episode is with Majd Mashharawi, a resident of war-torn Gaza, who observed the acute need for access to construction material in order to rebuild damaged buildings and infrastructure. She strove to meet this need by founding GreenCake in 2015, a company that creates environmentally friendly bricks from ash and rubble. GreenCake was a runner-up in the annual MIT Pan Arab competition. In the summer of 2017 she developed SunBox, an affordable solar system that produces energy to alleviate the effects of the energy crisis in Gaza, where access to electricity has been severely restricted, sometimes to less than three hours a day. With SunBox, she has been able to provide electricity to hundreds of people. In 2018 she was selected as one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company and SunBox won the MIT Pan Arab competition, competing against 6000 entries. Her TED Talk, How I’m making bricks out of ashes and rubble in Gaza, has received nearly 1.3 Million views so far. Last September Ms. Mashharawi and Sunbox company was awarded the Muhammed Ali Humanitarian Award in Louisville Kentucky by the Muhammad Ali Center. You can find her on FB, Instagram, Linkedin. We talk about the following and so much more: ✅ Why she decided to focus on electricity in Gaza as an industry ✅ Why and how she created Sunbox ✅ Some of the challenges she faced in building the product and the company ✅ How being a new mom has transformed the way she sees the world Stay tuned for upcoming episodes with startup founders in the Middle East and North Africa! Please tag us and tell us what you learned. We’d greatly appreciate a review if you are enjoying these conversations.

Feb 21, 2022

Empowering global small business with crypto-powered payments 

Today’s episode is with Amr Shady, who has two decades’ experience in building and scaling startups globally. He co-founded Tribal, a Silicon Valley-based crypto-powered payments and financing platform that helps emerging-market SMBs grow and compete in a global economy. The company started as a spin-off from his NYU research on using AI to predict startup success. Tribal raised $163 million in total funding from SoftBank Latin America Fund, QED Investors, BECO Capital, Stellar Development Foundation, Digital Currency Group, and Coinbase Ventures. Amr started his first company at 22, bootstrapping it to a multimillion dollar business. TA Telecom is a payments company that processes 15 billion transactions yearly. Named “local hero” by the Financial Times, the company also ranked on Deloitte’s fastest growing tech companies in EMEA. Amr’s mentors and especially his mom, were an instrumental force in allowing him to stay the course on the road towards building Tribal. We talk about the following and so much more: ✅ Why Amr started Tribal Credit and why it’s so important to small businesses ✅ How his product changed from version 1 to the latest version ✅ Which people and mentors in his life helped him develop his company ✅ Some of the books that he recommends for anyone starting a business Stay tuned for upcoming episodes with startup founders in the Middle East and North Africa! Please tag us and tell us what you learned. We’d greatly appreciate a review if you are enjoying these conversations.

Jan 31, 2022

Personal finance investing in the Middle East with Sarwa founder Nadine Mezher  

Today’s episode on Startup Confessionals is with Nadine Mezher, the founder of Sarwa. Sarwa is the first and fastest-growing digital investment platform and personal finance app for young professionals in the Middle East, with more than 50,000 registered users. The company helps its clients build their wealth by leveraging data-driven strategy and technology to bring down costs. Since launching in February 2018, Sarwa has revolutionized how young professionals grow their wealth by bringing smart, simple, affordable digital investing to the region. Through its mobile app, Sarwa aims to deliver more innovative personal finance products, such as Sarwa Invest, Sarwa Crypto and Sarwa Trade. The firm was founded in 2017 by a team of financial, technology, and management experts, and is backed by top regional and international stakeholders. Sarwa received a total of $25 Million in funding to date. We talk about the following and so much more: ✅ Why she decided to build Sarwa, and what the alternative investing options are ✅ Sarwa Invest, Sarwa Crypto and Sarwa Trade, and how many users have more than one product ✅ How she’s handled adversity and how her relationships really helped her through her journey ✅ Her 25 million funding round, and how her priority to Sarwas mission has not changed Stay tuned for upcoming episodes with startup founders in the Middle East and North Africa! Please tag us and tell us what you learned. We’d greatly appreciate a review if you are enjoying these conversations.

Dec 20, 2021

An accelerator for female led startups leading the world of sustainability and impact 

Today’s episode is with Katie Wachsberger, a co-founder of DANA, an Abu Dhabi based accelerator and funding platform for women-led startups in desert tech, including the sectors of agritech, foodtech, water solutions, renewable energy, circular economy, and waste management. DANA offers startups a tailor made program, including hands-on mentorship, business model construction, proof of concept and feasibility testing at DANA beta sites, corporate design partnerships, AI implementation with Microsoft, go-to-market in MENA and India, and seed funding. She is passionate about the incredible technology already embedded in the way our natural environment functions, and believes in the endless capabilities of female founders. We spoke about the following and so much more: ✅ How she and her co-founders started DANA, and why the accelerator is named DANA ✅ Some of the companies in DANA’s portfolio which include industries like desert tech, agritech, foodtech, water solutions, renewable energy, circular economy, and waste management. ✅ Why she and her co-founders believed in offering funding as well as mentorship and skills ✅ How she deals with adversity and keeps moving forward ✅ How the pandemic shaped their business Stay tuned for upcoming episodes with startup founders in the Middle East and North Africa! Please tag us and tell us what you learned. We’d greatly appreciate a review if you are enjoying these conversations.

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