If you come across an article that is worth posting, please email the link to

  • 26 Feb 2016 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    GES ( Global Entrepreneurial Summit ) is a Barak Obama initiative that started in 2010 in Egypt and has been hosted in different country each year. This year it will take place in Silicon Valley! 

    Selected applicants will be invited by the State Department and hosted in San Francisco amongst some of the best 800 global entrepreneurs. You should encourage "the most promising competitive entrepreneurs with developed business plans and strategies to apply.”  

    We now welcome your application to participate in the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which will take place June 23-24, 2016 at Stanford University.  

    Register here:

    There will also be programming on June 22nd for a select group of entrepreneurs, the GES + / Emerging Entrepreneurs: Global Women and Youth Leaders, and we encourage investors to participate on the 22nd as well.  This application opens February 22nd 12:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and closes on March 18th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

    Additionally, if any of you like to be on The GES Expert Council (selection panel of judges to screen and select the entrepreneurs to be invited) please reply directly to Fadi Bishara, with a link to your profile (your organization homepage or LinkedIn) and a pone number and Fadi will forward to the head of the selection committee. 

  • 22 Feb 2016 6:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2015 WRAP-UP ISSUE



    As we were wrapping up 2015, we reflected on achievements, challenges faced, and contributions to the enhancement of our economy amidst regional and local turmoil. Looking back, Lebanon has faced a lot of challenges last year, but despite all, this ever-resilient country, was able to prosper on a lot of fronts and against all odds. From our end, IDAL was able to process 10 investment projects and potentially create 725 direct jobs. Our website and social media platforms has seen the highest traffic to date and we have participated in over 30 conferences and forums to promote Lebanon's investment potential.On the export support front, we have launched a new program that will help exporters surpass the land barriers by supporting them through maritime transportation.


    We are always on the lookout for what is the best for our country and try our best to achieve them. 

    We hope that this new year will hold even better prospects for Lebanon with the promise of our unwavering support to our investors, the economy, and the Lebanese.



    Best regards,



    Nabil Itani

    Chairman-General Manager

    2015 AT A GLANCE











    IDAL grants a set of incentives for investments in key sectors, as stipulated in Investment Law No. 360, including: Industry, Agriculture, Agro-Industry, Tourism, Information Technology, Technology, Telecommunication, and Media.




    Investment Project  by Zone (IPZ) scheme:

    It is a scheme based on the project's geographical location, investment size and sector type. It provides investors with fiscal related incentives and work permits. This scheme divides Lebanon into three geographical zones (Zone A, Zone B, Zone C).

    Maximum benefits include; 

    Work permits for all categories , full exemption from income tax and taxes on project dividends for a ten-year period, and full exemption from income tax for two additional years provided that at least 40% of the company's shares are listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange.


    Package Deal Contract (PDC) scheme: It is a scheme based on the project's investment size, number of jobs created, and sector type. It provides investors with fiscal and labor related incentives as well as set-up fees reductions.  Under this scheme, the investor is bound by a contract with the Lebanese government represented by IDAL.  

    Maximum benefits include; 

    Full exemption from income tax for up to 10 years, full exemption from taxes on project dividends for up to 10 years, up to 50% reduction on Work and Residence Permit Fees, up to 50% reduction on Construction Permit Fees, obtaining Work Permits of all categories provided that at least two Lebanese nationals are employed against one foreigner, exemption from the obligation of including Lebanese natural and legal persons in their Boards of Directors, and full exemption from Land Registration Fees at the Real Estate Register and from fees needed  for annexation, sub-division, mortgage and registration of rental contracts at the Real Estate Register.


    • Providing economic, commercial, legal, industrial and other information relevant for investment decisions.
    • Identifying and promoting investment opportunities in various growth promising sectors.
    • Mediating contacts between investors and entrepreneurs to identify potential joint-venture opportunities.
    • Providing information on economic sectors with investment potential.
    • Participating in the capital of joint-stock companies in specific fields.
    • Facilitating the issuance of permits and licenses required for starting and operating a business throughcoordinating with corresponding public institutions.
    • Providing advice on issues affecting the investment climate in Lebanon.
    • Arranging for business meetings with officials from both private and public sectors.
    • Providing after-care service for investment projects.
    If you have an investment project and would like to explore further how we can be of support to you, please email us at




    IDAL has four export support programs that you can benefit from so that you can access new and traditional markets:




    As part of its mandate to promote the Agrofood sector, IDAL signed in 2004 a protocol agreement with the Syndicate of Lebanese Food industrialists (SLFI) the "Agro Map" program.


    Main Components

    • Provide Agrofood exporters with the opportunity to market their products in international fairs.
    • Introduce Lebanese products and market to foreign investors and buyers.
    • Introduce local producers to latest technology.

     Main Beneficiaries

    • Exporters of Agrofood products registered at Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industrialists. Producers who are not members of the SLFI cannot benefit from IDAL's support.  
    • Today there is more than agro food producers registered at the Syndicate.




    In 2012, the "Agri Plus" program was put in place to support exporters in the marketing of their agricultural products in regional and international markets. The program was able to increase exports of agriculture goods by 10% between 2012 and 2014.


    Modus Operandi

    • Provide financial and technical support to exporters
    • It has an annual estimated budget of 32 Million USD

    Main Beneficiaries

    Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Olive Oil Exporters, Honey Exporters, Eggs Exporters, Flowers and Plants Exporters, all cooperatives.

    Main Components

    • Production Streamlining: Provide exporters with the adequate training to improve quality of production and foster the growth of new products that meet regional and international demand.
    • Packaging Improvement: Support exporters in improving packaging and cooling centers to meet international norms of quality.
    Marketing & Promotion: Promote the sector regionally and internationally in addition to providing the needed technical and financial support for exporters to participate in food fairs.

    To obtain more information on the Agricultural Fairs we support please access this page.



    The "Maritime Lebanese Exports Bridge" (M.LEB) program  was launched by IDAL in 2015 following a Council of Ministers decision (Resolution No.1, dated 02.07.2015) aimed at giving IDAL a treasury credit of 21 Billion LBP to cover a part of the cost of Lebanese products exported to Arab countries by sea. This program, which spans over seven months, consists of subsidizing the difference between land-route transport cost and maritime transport cost before the closure of borders, for both agricultural and industrial exports to the Arab countries. 


    Main Beneficiaries

    All natural and legal Lebanese people who are involved in the export of Lebanese agricultural, industrial and agro-food products shall benefit from the subventions provided by the program. The beneficiaries are split into six categories:

    ·         Agricultural exporters enrolled in the "AgriPlus" Program

    ·         Agricultural exporters not enrolled in the "AgriPlus" Program

    ·         Industrial Exporters

    ·     Agro-food Exporters

    ·         Shipping and land transport companies

    ·         Marine transportation companies



    The "Chinese Loan Repayment" program provides Lebanese producers of olive oil, dried fruits, canned food, jams, wine, and nuts to export their goods to China.

    Lebanese manufacturers of the mentioned products, wishing to export to China through this program, are requested to contact us for affiliation requirements and fill the relevant application form before February 20, 2016.

    To benefit from any of the programs, please email us at





    We have made at your disposal this year a wide variety of publications that can help you with your exports and businesses. Below is a general overview in cases you missed them in previous issues.



    INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY              TECHNOLOGY                          TELECOMMUNICATION    


    FILM INDUSTRY                                     MEDIA





    2014 ANNUAL REPORT       UPDATED DIRECTORIES                        




    The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) is the national investment promotion agency of Lebanon. Established in 1994, IDAL aims to promote Lebanon as key investment destination and attracting, facilitating and retaining investments in Lebanon. IDAL reports to the President of the Council of Ministers which exercises a tutorial authority over it.

  • 19 Feb 2016 4:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Lebanese Architect is Designing an Entire Village in Tanzania

    Lebanese architect Charles Debbas uses high tech in his designs from homes, to pens to a village in Tanzania.

    By Hannah Albarazi on February 18, 2016

    Dalian Pre-School in China designed by Debbas Architecture

    Dalian Pre-School in China designed by Debbas Architecture

    Growing up in an intentional community in Lebanon, California-based architect and product designer Charles Debbas learned that design could inspire how people live. Now, as he embarks on designing an entire village for orphans in Tanzania, that ethos is at the forefront of his work.

    Debbas grew up in Mechref, Lebanon, a community located just south of Beirut, developed by his father and designed by foreign architects for the country’s expatriate community. As a young boy in Mechref, Debbas lived among a cluster of modern homes that shared recreational facilities, and where families raised their children together. There, he discovered that “you can use architecture to encourage behavior.”

    But in the mid 1970s, his father, whom Debbas describes as a pacifist who tried to stop the civil war that would soon plague Lebanon throughout the 1980s, was assassinated. His mother had also died, and in 1978, at 17 years old, Debbas headed to the United States. He describes himself as an “early victim” of Lebanon’s civil war.

    Debbas joined his brother in Fresno, California, and soon enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to follow his passion for architecture. Meanwhile back home in Lebanon, “the war was raging” and all the while he was “hoping to go back.” Despite the bombings, Debbas moved back to Beirut from 1982 to 1983 to practice architecture under Jacques Liger-Belair, a well-known Belgian-born architect. He then returned to Berkeley, where he received his master’s degree in architecture.

    From homes to pens

    His big break was in 1989, when he designed a well-received flower shop: Erfani’s in Berkeley. From there, he established a small architecture firm and his career blossomed. After working on various home renovations in Northern California throughout the 1990s, Debbas became interested in product design and has been designing pens for Bic and more recently with Ferrari, where he helps design ergonomic writing implements.

    When Debbas first began using 3D printing technology in 1994, while prototyping one of his ergonomic pens, it was very rudimentary and was mostly used by yacht and airline designers. Ten prototypes of his pen cost him $30,000 and took nine months. Today, prototypes can be done in minutes and for very little money.

    Debbas and his team also have independent product design endeavors on their drawing board, including a carbon-frame bicycle with electric-assisted hubs and a speedboat that runs off both electricity and fuel. His small team of architects works on projects around the world. Currently, the firm is working on a home in Dubai and a housing development in Lebanon. On top of these projects, Debbas also spends a portion of the year teaching a new generation of architects as a lecturer at Stanford University.

    A village for orphans

    However, his main passion today is designing an entire village from scratch in northern Tanzania, following an ethos perhaps inspired by the community in Lebanon developed by his father.

    The project, done pro-bono, is a social community focused on housing and caring for orphaned children that incorporates durable, high-tech materials, solar panels, gray water recycling, compostable toilets, and sustainable materials. The modular format of the village allows for fabrication in the Republic of the Congo before shipment to Tanzania and can be adapted and reproduced around the world. Comprised of hut-like structures, the village is designed not only to last, but also have a minimal environmental footprint.

    Slated to begin construction in mid-2016, the village, nestled beneath Mount Meru, will provide housing and meals for vulnerable children by 2018. “It’s a lifetime commitment,” Debbas says of the private donor-funded project, dubbed The Happy Childhood Village. Youth from pre-kindergarten through high school will have access to a school, hospital, gym, museum, recreational fields, social center, and for kids with disabilities, a rehabilitation center. The adolescent and adult community members will be able to make use of a trade school and an outdoor cathedral.

    This project, and all of Debbas’ work, aims to optimize the sensory experience. Debbas worries that as architects create more computer-designed structures, they tend to move away from the sensory experience. By example he tries to show new generations of architects that it’s important to take advantage of new technology, from design to construction “but not if it means sacrificing the entire sensory experience.”

  • 16 Feb 2016 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    B.A.S will empower Transmed Group with C2Box


    Dubai - B.A.S the leading TMS provider continues to lead and expand in the MENA region by partnering with Transmed Group who selected C2Box to equip their Treasury Department.

    Transmed Group (www.transmed.comwho was established  in 1946, focused on the distribution of a very extensive range of Household and Personal Care Products from Procter & Gamble and Clorox, and in parallel developed the distribution of Food products starting with Mars confectionery range, and expanded it throughout the years to include McCain, Danone baby food, United Biscuits, Kellogg’s, Mondelez, Bahlsen, Perfetti, Siblou, Junior croissants, Castania kernels, Walkers biscuits as well as many other brands. 

    Present in 22 countries, Transmed continued expanding its portfolio and managed to penetrate other markets in the regions of the Middle East, Near East, West and East Africa, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and others. 

    Philippe Jamhouri, B.A.S - Head of Business Development in the MENA says “C2Boxwill enable Transmed Group to enhance their cash management and to fully automate their payment processes which will result in time spent on manual processes ”.

    About B.A.S

    B.A.S is a leading FinTech company providing platforms for treasury, cash information and electronic payments factory's . With offices in New York, Paris and Dubai, we provide global solutions enabling full control and visibility over cash positions and managing domestic or cross border payment processes. All B.A.S projects are managed by team’s expert in the fields of treasury, cash management, financial control and audit.




    Contact MENA

    B.A.S ME
    Levels 41 & 42, Emirates Towers
    Zayed Road - Dubai
    United Arab Emirates



    Contact Europe

    21, Boulevard Haussmann
    75009 Paris 




    Contact USA

    25 Broadway - 9th Floor
    New York City - NY 10004
    United States of America

  • 15 Feb 2016 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator) scores $4 mln in Series A funding

    February 10, 2016
    By Stephanie Rogan
    • raised $4 million in Series A funding from Middle East Venture Partners, Berytech Fund and Insure & Match Capital. The New York-based startup offers a platform for developers of internet of things technologies.


    NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —, the cloud platform for IoT solutions, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Berytech Fund, and Insure & Match Capital (IM). Headquartered in New York City, will use the funding to expand business operations in the U.S. which includes opening a new office in San Francisco. The company currently has development teams in Beirut, Lebanon and Hyderabad, India. The Series A round will also drive continued research and development. is a powerful, cloud-based platform that dramatically reduces the time and resources required to develop, deploy and support IoT solutions. has built the first-of-its-kind cloud platform driven by a browser-based integrated development environment that enables developers to rapidly create and run custom web services. It removes the burden of hosting infrastructure, database & application servers, libraries that integrate with third party APIs and other infrastructure deployment and management operations. allows for easy migration from prototyping to production at scale without having to re-design or re-write the solution.

    The platform allows users to access:

    • More than 60 APIs and connectors that dramatically simplify developing an application and reduces the time to market of an application
    • Software Development Kits (SDKs) that support the majority of industry IoT platforms
    • Connectors to a plethora of leading IoT vertical solutions in integration, health, automotive, and big-data. Current connectors include: CarVoyant, fitbit, little Bits, and several others.

    “IoT is expected to add $1.7 trillion to the global economy by 2020.1 We are fueling this growth by reducing barriers to entry for companies across all industries, allowing IoT innovation to evolve and to demonstrate real business impact. With, developers can build their own cloud APIs in minutes, and products can reach the market much faster without large up-front investment and high maintenance costs. This is critical in today’s rapidly-changing IoT environment,” said Rabih Nassar CEO and Founder of  “This funding will allow us to continue developing our technology and provide our customers with robust, state-of-the-art cloud development and run-time capabilities.” has already partnered with companies such as, the data service exchange for connected devices; Marvell Kinoma, the JavaScript-powered IoT construction kit; Parrot, which creates, develops, and markets advanced consumer technology products; and Withings, which invents smart products and apps to fit into any lifestyle.

    “ is ripe to become one of the leading cloud and fog computing software platforms in the IoT ecosystem, providing powerful micro-service capabilities, APIs and tools to build great IoT applications, compress the time to market and reduce the total cost to build and operate solutions,” said Walid Mansour, Managing Partner at MEVP.  “We feel strongly about the prospects of this company and the solid team behind it.  We are bullish about the prospect of the IoT transformation that will shape up our economies.”

    About is a powerful cloud-based platform that easily connects devices to the cloud. helps users build elegant applications that benefit from cloud scalability and JavaScript simplicity. offers an easy way for developers to connect devices to the cloud with no DevOps, hosting, server management, or deployments. was established in 2015

    For more information, please visit’s website, where you can test drive the product and create your own workspace. Catch up with via their blog,Facebook, and Twitter.

  • 14 Feb 2016 5:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Empowering Born Global Startups with Silicon Valley Resources.


    Blackbox Connect Startup Showcase & Dinner Party - February 19th

    Event Agenda

    6:00-6:30pm - Registration 
    6:30-6:45pm - Welcome by Blackbox 
    6:45-8:15pm - Startup pitches
    8:15-9:00pm - Dinner, Drinks & Networking

     Promocode: BabyUnicorns

    We are proud to welcome 21 world class founders for the 14th edition of Blackbox Connect. Our two-week program will be celebrated on Friday, February 19th at Rackspace, in San Francisco, where the founders will pitch and showcase their products, followed by a dinner party.

    Join us and meet the founders of 12 promising startups coming from Canada, Finland, India, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Switzerland, and Turkey
    , as they present their impressive companies and global growth plans.

    Spaces are limited so make sure to buy your ticket today!

    Participating Companies in Blackbox Connect #14:





  • 12 Feb 2016 9:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    78 Teams qualify to next round of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition; an event supported by Community Jameel and Zain

    78 Teams qualify to next round of the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition; an event supported by Community Jameel and Zain
    A record 5,967 teams comprising over 16,500 entrepreneurs from 21 Arab countries enter competition
    Winners ceremony to be held in Jeddah on 14 April, 2016

    Kuwait, Jeddah, Beirut - 11 February, 2016

    The MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) of the Pan Arab region, in partnership with Community Jameel, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Abdul Latif Jameel and Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator across the Middle East and Africa, announced that a total of 78 teams from 15 countries have qualified for the next round of the prestigious MITEF Arab Startup Competition, with the final winners' ceremony now confirmed to be held at King Abdallah Economic City, in Saudi Arabia on April 14, 2016.

    The ninth edition of the MITEF Arab Startup competition received a record 5,967 individual and team applications (comprising over 16,500 entrepreneurs) from 21 countries across the Arab world. The three tracks that entrants applied for are: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship with total prize money on offer in excess of US$150,000. Each of the three tracks will award the first three ranked winners with cash prizes in addition to many other benefits including: top tier training, mentorship, coaching, media exposure, and great networking opportunities.

    The selected 78 teams will start receiving entrepreneurship-focused training during pre-boot camps scheduled to be conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE later this month and in early March, and will start working to achieve specific deliverables in their specific tracks. The national origins of the groups and the corresponding number of semi-finalists who made it to the second round include: Egypt (19), Jordan (10), Lebanon (7), Tunisia (7), Saudi Arabia (6), United Arab Emirates (6), Palestine (6), Morocco (4), Kuwait (3), Bahrain (2), Qatar (2), Sudan (2), Syria (2), Algeria (1), Yemen (1).

    Hala Fadel, Chair of the Board of MITEF Pan Arab commented, "The record number of applications submitted from across the Arab region this year clearly indicates a steady increase in the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship of the region's youth. Particularly noteworthy is the significant increase in applications received from Saudi Arabia, from five percent last year to nearly twenty percent this year, which promises a great event at King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia this April. We look forward to meeting and supporting some of the Middle East's most promising youth as they start and continue their entrepreneurial journeys."

    Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International commented, "The launch of the MITEF Saudi Chapter last year provided an extra opportunity for the Saudi-based entrepreneurs to apply for the competition. The applications submitted for the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition demonstrated great promise, showcasing quality entrepreneurial ideas and startups. Therefore, it was difficult to choose from such a wealth of talent the six winners who will go on to be part of the MITEF Pan Arab Competition. With such impressive talent coming forward in the competitions, it is with great pleasure that Community Jameel pledges its continuous support to the entrepreneurs of the MENA region."

    Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, "We at Zain are proud to foster the growth of this competition as we recognize that much of the region's future development will be driven by young people in technology, whose ideas and the ability to turn them into something constructive and sustainable have been and will continue to be the success story of modern society. Congratulations to the 78 semi-finalists and we are looking forward to interacting with this year's aspiring entrepreneurs and shall take the opportunity to capitalize on the most promising innovative ideas in the regional digital space supporting our evolution to becoming a digital lifestyle provider."

    On 13 April, during a four-day final event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 10 finalists will be announced from each track. These short-listed teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of investors and successful entrepreneurs on 14 April, and the final three ranked winners of the Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship tracks will be announced and awarded cash prizes during a gala dinner that same evening. Also during the day, a MIT Technology Review Pan Arab conference will be held.


    About MITEF Pan Arab
    Founded in 2005, the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region ( is one of the 28 worldwide chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum Global, an avid promoter of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. The MIT Enterprise Forum- Pan Arab has a proven record in promoting MIT-style entrepreneurship by organizing each year the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition (, targeting 21 countries of the Arab region and attracting over 12,000 entrepreneurs a year.

    About Community Jameel: 
    In 2003, Community Jameel was formally established as the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Abdul Latif Jameel, one of the world's leading independent Toyota distributors. Today Community Jameel operates a considerable set of initiatives. From individual, community and Arab life as a whole in Saudi Arabia and beyond, Community Jameel has the welfare of its people at heart. By promoting Arab arts and culture in the Middle East and around the world, working against the unemployment, enabling research for poverty alleviation, and providing education and training opportunities, Community Jameel has successfully promoted positive social and economic sustainability. Community Jameel supports and partners with global institutions, which employ hundreds of people, all aiming to provide people with op­portunities and training in the following areas: Job Creation - Bab Rizq Jameel; Global Poverty Alleviation; Arts and Culture - Art Jameel; Education and Training - Education Jameel; Health and Social - Social Jameel; and Food and Water Security - Environment Jameel. For more info, please visit:

    About Zain Group: 
    Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to over 45.6 million active customers as of 31 December, 2015. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in: Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the Group manages 'touch' on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in 'INWI', through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN).For more, please email or;

    © Press Release 2016

    © Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.

  • 09 Feb 2016 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Speed@BDD Graduates 6 Startups - Next Stop: Silicon Valley

    Alexis Baghdadi, Jan 14 2016


    Congratulations to the first 6 Lebanese startups that graduated from Speed@BDD’s first 3-month acceleration cycle.

    The startups were showcased at the accelerator’s Demo Day held at the American University of Beirut, and had the chance to pitch their ideas in front of potential investors.

    The lineup was sincerely impressive and the startups stood out because of their original ideas. “We had the privilege of working with some of the best entrepreneurs and we are thrilled to experience Lebanon’s transformation into a regional hub for global innovation,” said Sami Abou Saab, CEO of Speed@BDD.

    Meet the Graduates

    • Blitz

    This mobile-based social platform is a community for gamers, offering them the possibility of building and posting gaming challenges they can compete in. Blitz includes an option for users to build cashpot prizes through crowdfunding to reward the winners. The developers are also planning to build a web platform for PC users.

    • Carpolo

    Carpolo was originally named Tulos, and was designed as a carpooling app for university students. The idea won the Samir and Claude Abillama Eco-Entrepreneurship Award in 2015 and received a $20,000 prize towards its development.

    Renamed Carpolo, the concept evolved into a carpooling app for wider communities seeking reliable and inexpensive commuting solutions (with the added bonus of producing fewer emissions). It provides real-time, location-based ride matching services with a rewards system whereby users can accumulate points and exchange them for gifts or vouchers.

    • Modeo

    The Modeo app is an A-Z do-it-yourself concept that enables users to design their own furniture (from tables to chairs, shelves, and storage compartments) based on 3 standard modular parts only - almost like Lego building blocks - and see their designs in augmented reality. The app then calculates the number and price of the necessary parts for each designed item, and Modeo ships the parts to customers who can easily assemble them.

    Emile Arayes and Aline Gemayel founded Modeo with the idea of making customizable furniture practical, easily accessible, and affordable. The parts are available in different colors and sizes, and can be reassembled to create new design and items. The co-founders are currently fine-tuning the concept and experimenting with different materials to manufacture the parts.

    • Next Automated Robots (NAR)

    On the long-term, Charlie Khoury and Nicolas Zaatar want NAR to spearhead the integration of cost-effective and highly performing drones in various industries for different applications.

    The mission of their first drone is to detect wildfires and alert civil defense and firefighting teams. Their prototype won the National Microsoft Imagine Cup award (World Citizenship category) and the Global Social Venture Competition. The quasi-final version of their drone combines the aerodynamic advantages of planes with the mobility of drones, giving it a greater range and autonomy (thanks to reduced power consumption). NAR’s first markets for this drone will be Lebanon and California, where wildfires constitute a serious threat.

    • Rafiqi

    The Rafiqi app (available on Google Play) is a social platform where users can suggest events and activities they are interested in, or look for other users’ activities and join in. 
    This event-matching feature is available to some degree on other platforms like Facebook, but has relatively limited options and visibility. For this reason, the developers decided to focus on it exclusively and create a free and friendly platform to make it easier for users to find people with similar interests. The app’s content is user-generated and available to users within a same geographic range.

    • RationalPixels

    RationalPixels is a patent-pending software technology that allows the automatic placement of products in existing video content. The developers aim to streamline and facilitate the process of embedding unblockable and unskippable targeted advertising on video publishers’ websites, thus guaranteeing that advertised products reach more viewers.

    This solution is accessible to a wide range of advertisers, and does not require them to have experience in digital advertising technology. According to the developers, only one similar solution exists globally, but the process is six times faster at RationalPixels.

    Silicon Valley, Here Come the Lebanese Startups

    NAR and RationalPixels came out as the top 2 teams in this first batch, and were selected for the LebNet Ignite acceleration and mentorship program in Silicon Valley.

    This 2-week program is powered by the Blackbox Connect accelerator. It is designed to help Lebanese startups scale globally through trainings and mentorship sessions with venture capitalists, successful founders, and experts in team composition, product launches, and business and growth strategies.

    Behind the Scenes of Lebanon’s First Acceleration Program

    Another standout factor at the Demo Day was the surprising business maturity of the startups. “Surprising” because Speed@BDD is Beirut’s first fully-dedicated accelerator and investment fund after a long wait.

    The accelerator’s effectives include veteran investors, entrepreneurs, and mentors produced by Lebanon’s nascent startup ecosystem, as well as international experts.

    “We had high-caliber startups for this first cycle, and so we had to provide them with equally high-caliber sessions,” said Abou Saab. The huge success of the accelerator’s first cycle has set the bar high for the next round, but Abou Saab said they are to the challenge. “Lebanon needs more accelerators to cater to the world-class startups that it is producing,” he added.

    According to him, the startups themselves can bring huge added value to the program, enabling the sharing and exchange of ideas. For example, the developers of RationalPixels all hold PhD’s in various fields of computer sciences, and were an invaluable “partner” for many of the other startups present there.

    “Speed@BDD was an ecosystem within the ecosystem,” said Ahmad Wehbe of Rafiqi, who values the 3-month acceleration program very highly.

    Apply Now for the Second Round of Acceleration

    Speed@BDD is aiming to run 2 investment cycles per year. The accelerator has already started accepting applications on a rolling basis for its second batch, scheduled to start in April 2016.

    The program is open to startups at the idea or minimum viable product (MVP) stage, and has a total duration of 3 months. Each selected startup could receive up to $30,000, and will also benefit from free working space, product development and business development workshops, accounting services, legal services, and mentorship in exchange for a 10% equity stake.

    The application deadline is February 22, 2016. Full details can be found on Speed@BDD’s

  • 09 Feb 2016 8:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Speed@BDD sends two startups off to Silicon Valley

    by Lucy Knight, January 14, 2016

    The demo day startups of Speed
    Speed's first batch of startups. (Image via Speed)

    Two of Speed@BDD’s first six startups are off to Silicon Valley.

    The accelerator’s CEO Sami Abou Saab said Rational Pixels and Next Automated Robots (NAR) would be off to the Golden State in February, during the first demo day on Wednesday.

    The startups will be taking part in the LebNet Ignite, organized by Blackbox Connect, who work to connect startups from around the world with US investors.

    Rational Pixels, which is currently seeking a $1.8 million Series A investment, has created software that allows for the automatic placement of products into already-shot videos (typically movies). They said they were entering an online advertising market worth $170 billion.

    “We’re excited to be gaining exposure and making an impact,” cofounder Rida Sadek told Wamda. Moving from his base in Barcelona to join Speed, he said the program surpassed his expectations.

    “They [Speed] really take the time to listen to you and guide you. We come from a technical background, and we needed to add a business development aspect to our [idea] and they were great,” Sadek said.

    For Charlie Khoury, cofounder of NAR, the sentiment was the same. “The US is our target market, so this brings us one step closer.” Their drone-based solution for detecting wildfires is their first project. “Before joining Speed we were pitching our ideas like they were school projects,” laughed Khoury, “now we know better.”

    The other startups who made it through the first three-month acceleration program with Speed were gaming challenge crowdfunding platform Blitz, carpooling app Carpolo, modular DIY furniture solution Modeo, and social activities app Rafiqi.

     First announced in July 2015 and running for three months from September to December, Speed’s acceleration program is another example of Lebanon’s efforts to become a hub for tech startups in the region.

    Speed CEO Saab felt that things went great, especially for their first run.

    “We really made a lot of improvements, and we learned a lot,” he told Wamda. “The startups were very engaged and learned a lot from one another, and this made a big difference.”

    Any learning curves? “After starting the program we found we were still finalizing some of the logistics, but it was our first time,” said Saab. “You have to finalize anything that has anything to do with the startups logistics-wise so as to not lose any time during the three month program.”

    Blitz told Wamda that being part of the program actually caused them to pivot from the original idea.

    “We were into challenges like the ice bucket challenge,” said cofounder and CTO Mazen Al-Wafai. “But then we were encouraged, as we’re all gamers, to focus on game-specific challenges.”

    For their platform, which offers gamers the ability to crowdfund challenges, they are initially seeking $150,000 to be spent over the course of six  to 12 months.


    Lucy KnightLucy Knight is Wamda's English Editor. Connect with her on Twitter @LucytheKnight or email at lucy [at] wamda [dot] com.

  • 31 Jan 2016 6:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Message to members of the APS Forum on International Physics Approved by Noemi Mirkin, FIP Secretary/Treasurer


    APS has been working to develop stronger linkages with physicists in the Middle East and is pleased to announce the U.S.-Lebanon Professorship/Lectureship Program, a new partnership between APS and theAcadémie des Sciences du Liban (ASL).

    ASL and APS are currently accepting applications from Ph.D. physicists to deliver a short course or lecture series at a university in the United States or Lebanon. Applicants must be affiliated with a Lebanese or American institution at the time of application.

    More information on the program and application requirements are available on the APS website.

    Learn More

    The deadline to apply is March 30. Please share this opportunity with your physics colleagues.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Best Regards,

    Amy K. Flatten
    Director of International Affairs
    American Physical Society



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