Ritika Sharma / Emirates Business
A collective figure of US$1 billion in startup investment funds will be present at the STEP conference this year, which will host more than 200 start ups and exhibitors, organisers announced.
STEP, the largest tech and interactive gathering in the Middle East to be held in Dubai next month, plans to host more than 5,000 industry leaders and entrepreneurs from companies like Facebook, Youtube and Google this time — doubling the participation from last year.
Known for bringing latest trends in innovation – across tech, design, gaming and entertainment – to one platform, STEP conference 2016, promises to be more conducive than ever before.
Ray Dargham, co-founder and CEO of STEP Group told Emirates Business, “Step 2016 will attract the largest gathering of MENA venture capital funds and angel investors who invest in startups – all in one room on April 4 and 5 in the commercial capital of UAE. This includes Venture Capital (VC) funds such as Wamda Capital, BECO Capital, MEVP, Leap Ventures and many others. If you add all the funds — you will get more than US$1billion in funds present at the event. Wamda Capital’s current fund size alone is US$70million.”
The conference started as a small gathering of 100 people in 2012, and last year it welcomed more than 2500 attendees and 50 international speakers. STEP 2015 brought in more than 120 startups and exhibitors, where pitch competitions and mentoring sessions with potential investors took place.
Event is projecting to fuse forward-thinking startups and exhibitors with a live business-meet environment, making it the most interactive event of its kind in the Middle East.
One important feature at STEP 2016 will be the participation of Arif Naqvi, the Founder and Group CEO of Abraaj Group along with other industry notables. Joining Ariq Naqvi at STEP 2016 will be major regional investor figures such as Fadi Ghandour of Wamda Capital, Amir Farha of BECO Capital, Hala Fadel of Leap Ventures, Angus Paterson from STC Ventures and Walid Hanna from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP).
“The fact that he (Naqvi) will be present means that everyone in the ecosystem will be at the conference. We are really looking forward to his participation,” said Dargham
Dargham said he believes that the true measure of
success of STEM 2016 event is the value that startups, investors, and everyone in the digital and technology industry get out of the event through investment deals, new things they learn, and new connections they make.