LebNet is committed to enabling tech entrepreneurs of Lebanese descent succeed on a global stage. With 7 successful editions, LebNet’s flagship program Ignite has been leaving its footprints on the path of successful Lebanese founders since 2015.
Ignite is a Silicon Valley Residence program for Startups designed to immerse Lebanese startup founders in the Silicon Valley culture. Every year, several prominent startups are identified and invited to Silicon Valley to attend a tailored acceleration program to help them gain the needed expertise to expand their vision and scale their companies globally.
The program’s comprehensive agenda tackles a range of topics covering the basics of venture capital, raising money in Silicon Valley, legal and financial issues of born-global startups, Silicon Valley’s code and culture, pitching to investors, receiving legal and financial advice, business and strategy mentoring, and PR assistance.
In addition, LebNet connects the participants with global industry experts, mentors, advisors, LebNet Board members, and thought leaders to get customized analysis and advice regarding how to build and grow their business on a global scale.
The most recent edition in 2019 was held in partnership with the Lebanon-based accelerator Speed and the program was powered by Draper University. It was spread over 5 weeks with a demo day and an optional extended stay of 4 to 5 more weeks to allow founders to finalize any pending business transactions.
Success stories from our LebNet entrepreneurs:
“LebNet Ignite has been instrumental in helping our startups see the bigger picture and think globally. The program fast-tracked the entrepreneurs to their next major milestone, whether it was a pivot, a fundraising event, or even a complete shutdown. We have seen in many cases the relationships that were built during the immersion program evolve and keep going over the years, accompanying the startups on their journey,” said Sami Abou Saab, CEO of Speed.
After graduating from the program, LebNet kept close relations with the Ignite alumni startups to monitor their progress and support when needed. Arthur Bizdikian, co-founder and CEO at online marketplace Lemonade Fashion and one of the Ignite graduates, decided to spend a few extra weeks after the program ended to set up meetings with potential investors. In 2021, his startup received financing of $300,000 from a syndication of seven LebNet members, with plans to raise additional funds from VCs in the US and GCC to expand in Dubai and San Francisco.
“This trip saved us, I do not know what would have happened to us if we did not have the help of LebNet and Draper. We’re excited about 2021,” said Bizdikian. “This is a very important year for us and we are glad that we have the right people to back us up [...] The quality of the people in the program was amazing. You are only surrounded by positive, innovative people who are trying to make a change.”
Another success story is Ostaz, previously known as Synkers. This private tutoring matching platform was acquired in May 2021 by Inspired Education Group in order to scale in the GCC, Egypt, Europe, the UK, Spain, and Italy.
“LebNet Ignite was the best experience ever. We had access to people we could never have access to in Lebanon. The Lebanese market is in need of more role models and success stories they can look up to and seek advice from,” said Audrey Nakad, one of the three co-founders.
“I found it amazing how many members are willing and want to help, and they have been super accessible. We have tackled some big questions like warehousing, supply chain, shipping, quality and manufacturing with their assistance. It was very helpful, and I know I have a board of advisers to report to with my progress and reach out whenever I need anything” said Hind Hobeika, CEO Instabeat.
As we look forward to more Ignite editions, LebNet is counting on its members' financial support to be able to continue focusing on such programs and dedicating resources to make Lebanese founders successful. Find out how you can support by visiting this link.