8 Saudi Entrepreneurs Paving the Future

This year’s Arabnet Riyadh falls under the theme of “Rise of the Innovation Kingdom”.

Thousands of digital business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors will gather in Riyadh on Dec 12-13 and will feature two events taking place simultaneously: ArabNet Riyadh for 1,000+ corporate executives and senior government leaders, and the Monsha’at Startup Saudi, powered by ArabNet, for 3,000+ entrepreneurs, youth and students.

This year’s event will gather several high-profile Saudi entrepreneurs that will share their success stories, offer entrepreneurial tips, and reveal industry insights on different forums and/or initiatives.

Below are some of the Saudi entrepreneurs that will be participating in the event:

Abdulaziz Aljouf – Founder and CEO of Paytabs abdulaziz-fahad-al-jouf

Abdulaziz is a Bahrain-based Saudi entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of PayTabs, a payment processing company with a total of $20M in investment. Abdulaziz and Paytabs have received many accolades and awards. He figured on the cover of Arabian Business and was featured in a major interview in June 2018. Paytabs was also awarded the title of ‘Fintech Company of the Middle East’ at the prestigious Arabian Business Achievement Awards.

Abdulla Elyas – Co-Founder and CPO of Careem abdulla-elyas

Abdulla is one of the founders of Careem, a transportation network company worth $1.2B. He has over 10 years of professional experience in managing and consulting of software projects gained at multinational companies such as Mercedes Benz, SAP AG and the World Exhibition Expo 2000. Abdulla initially founded the startup Enwani that was later acquired by Careem and he joined the Careem team as Co-Founder. Forbes Magazine declared Careem to be the biggest car-hailing App and the fastest growing technology company in the Middle East.

Ahmad Alzaini – Co-Founder and CEO of Foodics ahmad-al-zaini

Ahmad is the co-founder and current CEO of Foodics, a POS cloud-based technology, and has founded 2 other startups specializing in information technology. He has been featured on the cover of Forbes Middle East following Foodics’ round of funding of $4M. Ahmad earned his bachelor degree in electrical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Ahmad was selected as a High-impact entrepreneur in the world by Endeavor Global in 2018.

Ahmed AlBader Co-Founder and CEO of Sihatech ahmed-albader-picture

Ahmed is the co-founder and current CEO of Sihatech. He has 19 years of hands-on experience in various fields for he is a former advisor for Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and an advisor for King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) and other private public and private institutions. Ahmed holds a Master’s degree in Major Programme Management from the University of Oxford.

Ammar Waganah – CEO of Dokkan Afkar ammar-warganah

Ammar is the CEO of Dokkan Afkar, an online shopping website with $2M investment raised. He has experience in e-commerce, marketing planning and communications, branding strategy, product development, social media, insight mining, and digital marketing gained while working at Unilever and TBWA Saudi Arabia. He is a graduate of the University of Wales Institute with an MBA in Marketing.

Hatem Kameli  Founder of iCLICK, Resal, and Lucidya hatemkameli

Hatem is a digital marketing expert and tech entrepreneur who founded more than 5 tech startups in the past 12 years including iCLICK, a digital consulting agency; Lucidya, AI-powered social media analytics and intelligence; and Resal, a fast-growing gifting platform in MENA. He previously worked in different markets and industries (airlines, media, banking and startups) as digital business and marketing consultant. He recently received awards from Forbes and CMO Council.

Osama M. AshriFounder of Saudi Entrepreneurial Ecosystem osama-m-ashri

Osama is the founder of the Saudi Entrepreneurial Ecosystem which is a dynamic platform that harnesses the collective efforts of various stakeholders towards fostering entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. Concurrently, Osama is a Board Member at Wadi Makkah with previous experience strategy development and various institutions.

Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq – Founder and CEO of Sarahah zain-alabdin-tawfiq

Zain is the CEO and Founder of Sarahah, a social networking service. He worked at Saudi Aramco as a financial and manpower planning analyst and focused on making Saudi Aramco IPO-ready. Before joining Saudi Aramco, Zain worked as a technical consultant at WIPRO. He holds a BS degree of Computer Science from KFUPM.



Seven-stop tour concludes with the Ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia receiving special ‘il-tricolore’ tyres

Pirelli, one of the symbols of Italian industrial excellence, has completed its special seven-star series of pit-stops at Italian embassies around the world with a visit to the Italian Embassy in Riyadh where H.E. Ambassador Luca Ferrari received the brand’s bespoke ‘il-tricolore’ tyres. His Excellency Mr. Luca Ferrari was gifted a set of four specially customized P Zero Colour Edition tyres, which carry the red, white and green of the Italian flag on the inside of the tyre wall. The special tyres were fitted to the official Embassy car in Riyadh with Ambassador Ferrari becoming the seventh top ranking Italian diplomat to receive the special gift from premium tyre leader Pirelli.

The tricolor tyres were presented during an exclusive event at the Residence of H.E. Luca Ferrari to the presence of more than one hundred guests. Ambassador Ferrari highlighted how more than 30% of the Italian export is made by machinery and automotive goods, which makes Italy Europe’s second largest exporter of machinery and the second largest manufacturer in the EU. The Ambassador also underlined that the best cars in the world run on Pirelli tyres, including Formula 1 cars, and that he is proud to receive the beautiful “tricolore” tyres.

Ambassador Ferrari joins his counterparts in Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, the United States, and UAE in becoming a recipient of the tyres which are a symbol of Pirelli industry design and safety excellence stretching back more than 140 years. ‘Il-tricolore’ tyres are also on display at Italian diplomatic offices in major global cities including Paris, Ankara, Tokyo, Mexico City, Brasilia, Buenos Aires and the “Farnesina” (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarter in Rome).

Carlos Milani, Managing Director Pirelli, Middle East said: “Saudi Arabia is one of the key markets for Pirelli and the gifting of ‘il-tricoloretyres to Italy’s ambassador in the kingdom aligns with our strategy to expand our presence across the Middle East.”

“The lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia earlier this year has created new opportunities for leading players in the automotive industry. As the leader in the premium tyre sector, this development represents an exciting stage in Pirelli’s growth in the region.”

The tyre fitting ceremony in Riyadh was conducted by Pirelli’s mobile service van, a collaboration with United Yousef M. Naghi Co. Ltd., the official partner of Pirelli tyres in Saudi Arabia.

Recently, the United Yousef M. Naghi Co. Ltd. launched the Pirelli retail concept Pirelli Performance Centre in Jeddah, KSA, a first-of-its-kind for the GCC. The center is designed to meet customer demands for integrated tyre maintenance and oil services and offers a female-only lounge in response to the royal decree to allow women in the kingdom to drive.



Arabnet 2018: Rise of the Innovation Kingdom

ArabNet Collaborates with Monsha’at, SAGIA, and Badir to organize the largest startup event in the Kingdom.

With the ambitious Vision 2030 driving Saudi Arabia to a knowledge-based economy, technology innovation and entrepreneurship have emerged as key pillars for the country’s transformation.

Against this backdrop, thousands of digital business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors will gather in Riyadh on Dec 12-13 in for the largest technology gathering to take place in the Kingdom, under the banner of “Rise of the Innovation Kingdom.” The massive gathering will feature two events taking place simultaneously: Monsha’at Startup Saudi, for 3,000+ entrepreneurs, youth and students, organized by ArabNet; and ArabNet Riyadh for 1,000+ corporate executives and senior government leaders, held in strategic partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at).

The two concurrent events will bring together 150+ expert speakers from around the world, with full tracks of programming covering a range of topics. Monsha’at Startup Saudi will feature inspirational stories and keynotes in 3 tracks: Launchpad for startups and investment, MerchantHub for e-commerce and payments, and Mediabuzz for the future of content creation and digital media; meanwhile, ArabNet Riyadh will feature more advanced discussions on digital trends in two tracks: Ad/Edge for advanced discussions in digital media and advertising, Finverse or digital banking and fintech.

Central to this event will be the collaboration between SAGIA and ArabNet to bring – from the region and beyond – 100 startups and 50 VC / tech investors in the largest tech entrepreneurship showcase to take place in the Kingdom, and encourage them to invest and establish operations in KSA.

Over all, the event will feature over 200 startups and 100 investors, with more than $1B in capital available for startups seeking investment, and will be hosted for the 7th time by King Abdulaziz City of Science Technology (KACST) and Badir Program for Technology Incubators.

The event will gather the top corporates from the Kingdom and beyond, many of which are already confirmed as sponsors: NCB Bank is sponsoring the Ideathon, a competition for youth with innovative ideas; Riyad Bank is sponsoring the Startup Battle, a competition for early-stage technology startups with a working product; Elm is sponsoring a series of workshops for entrepreneurs to improve their businesses; Digital Media Services (DMS) and OMD are both sponsoring tracks on the hottest topics in digital media and advertising; in addition to other key clients like Saudi Customs, Meem Bank (by GIB), Dawiyat, Saudi Research and Marketing Group, Careem, Hyperpay, Criteo, and HalalaH.

These sponsors, as well as strategic government partners and startups, will all be showcasing in the TechFair exhibition area alongside the conference activities.

The event will also feature a number of dynamic initiatives to support entrepreneurs including The Academy, workshops on entrepreneurship, marketing and e-commerce; The Clinic, bringing leaders in HR, legal, finance, marketing, and technology to provide startups expert consultations; Sawalif Riyadeyah, gathering successful GCC founders to share their journey and lessons learned
with aspiring entrepreneurs; Instashops, pop-up stores for Instagram e-commerce businesses to showcase their products; The MatchUp, 1-on-1 meetings between top business executives and startups; Women Mentoring Women, bringing regional women leaders to mentor ladies who are just starting out.



Last Tuesday, AMC Cinema hosted the premiere show of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” movie produced by Walt Disney, amid a huge audience of animation movies enthusiasts, media representatives and members of the AMC Special Club reaching more than 500 attendees.

The second part of the Wreck-It Ralph, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is an adventure and fantasy film featuring children and families all together.

AMC Cinema hosting the premiere “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in Saudi Arabia builds on its successful acquisitions in collaboration with Walt Disney and Italia Film. The movie is the third Walt Disney product to be shown for the first time at AMC, after “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and “The Incredibles 2”.

AMC seeks to promote the local cinema culture through its continued delivery of Arabic and international films that meet the aspirations of all ages and community groups since cinemas are one of the most important entertainment elements for families and individuals alike.

Check out the showtimes here



Introducing the 6 Initiatives at Arabnet Riyadh 2018

The 7th edition of Arabnet Riyadh Conference taking place on the 12th and 13th of December is revamped and doubled in size!

The event will feature 2 different experiences for the attendees: Inspire Saudi and Arabnet Riyadh.

In addition to that, we are introducing a line-up of 6 initiatives designed to take you many leaps forward! You will have the chance to grow your business, meet potential clients and investors, get exposed to the latest trends, and pave your way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Have a look at what to expect in each initiative:


The MatchUp is a series of one-on-one meetings between top business executives and fast growing regional and international digital startups. On one hand, industry leaders will be exposed to the latest digital innovations from startups disrupting traditional business models and will engage them as potential service providers or partners.
On the other hand, the MatchUp will be the platform where startups connect with potential clients, strategic partners, as well as investors from across the region.


Sawalif Riyadeyah is gathering top successful entrepreneurs from across the MENA region to speak about their inspirational journeys, give business advice, and share important tips on how to overcome failure.


The Clinic is bringing your business advisor to your doorstep! Young entrepreneurs will have the chance to speak with top industry leaders. Whether you are in search of legal advice, funding tips, HR and marketing guidance, or software training, they will be ready to give tailored advice for your business and helping you take that business to the next level.


Women Mentoring Women is designed to engage female attendees at Arabnet Riyadh with regional women leaders. Through in-depth discussions with the leaders, female participants and entrepreneurs will enrich their knowledge on leadership and management as well as learn how to enhance their career paths.


The Academy is dedicated to entrepreneurs and innovators that are looking to hone their skills and develop their products. A series of hands-on workshops is organized tackling a wide range of skill-sets that fall under Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and E-commerce.


InstaShop brings the virtual shopping experience on Instagram to life. The up and coming entrepreneurs who own a virtual Instagram shop will have concretize their stores by having their own physical space to exhibit their products at the TechFair.

Register and secure your spot so you won’t miss out on this experience!



BEST OF 2018: The IT List

A dose of Destination’s coolest verdicts and predictions to give you the best of style and fashion of 2018.

Best Scent


Tom For Oud Wood For Men and Women – SR1,476 at Sephora

Launched in 2007 for the “prestige” market, this highly acclaimed perfume features oud – one of the most expensive ingredients for perfume – for a smoky scent of woody-spicy.

Must-Have Gadget

Apple Watch Series 4 – Prices start at SR1,699 at Jarir

PC: seniorsguideonline

PC: seniorsguideonline

If you’re looking to upgrade, this version of the Apple Watch is the best one yet, with its aesthetically more polished look and many new features including new digital watch faces.

Best Sneakers

Winner: Balenciaga Triple S White – SR3,750 at ounass.com

best-sneakerOversized trainers with an athleisure edge.

Runner-Up: Adidas Yeezy Wave Runner 700 – SR2,699 at saudi.desertcart.com


Another unique addition to Kanye West’s sneaker line. Get your chunky soles!

Must-Have Accessory

Winner: Off-White Yellow Industrial Belt – SR775 at ounass.com


Stand out from the crowd with this urban street-luxe statement piece.

Runner-Up: Roberi and Fraud sunglasses


This cult eyewear label features English-Saudi model Skye Jones.

It Bag

GG Marmont Matelassé Belt Bag – SR4,600 at Gucci


Sportswear-inspired belt bag crafted from smooth leather.

Le Diva by Delvaux


A luxurious and high-intensity glamour with specially made buckle and golden hinges that emphasize its sophisticated frame.

It Jewelry Collection

Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra – Price available upon request


Get your charm of good fortune from this signature collection.

It Watch

Santos de Cartier Watch – Price available upon request


The classic Santos watch is a pillar of Cartier’s watch collection, brought back to the contemporary scene by stylish talent Jake Gyllenhaal.

OOTD look of 2018


Style 1: The Oversized Obsession
Style 2: The Unconventional Chic


Celebration of the Centenary of the End of World War I

100 years ago, on November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed, ending World War I that lasted four years.

This war was one of the deadliest in modern history because it killed about 18 million people (10 million among the military and 8 million among civilians). 1,400,000 French people died. On the only day of August 22, 1914, 40,000 died, including 27,000 French. The war also left 20 million injured and maimed, destroyed infrastructure, towns and villages, roads, bridges, factories, school, and religious buildings._dbx7911

The last French veteran who participated in the World War I, Lazare Ponticelli, died in 2008. This means that there is no more direct witness of what happened between 1914 and 1918. We are, in fact, the last generation to have heard directly the story of this war by those who made it._dbx7915

We have a historic responsibility that obliges us to bow to the memory of our soldiers who sacrificed themselves making us free today.
To commemorate the Centenary, the Consulate General of France in Jeddah has focused on two themes:_dbx7923

1- Remembering not to forget. On the morning of 11 November, the Consuls General of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy bowed to the graves of the French soldier, Jean-Baptiste Lapadu-Hargues, and British one buried in the non-Muslims cemetery in Jeddah.

A Franco-American photo exhibition on the First World War is organized at the Residence de France. It helps to remember the loss of life and destruction, illustrates life during the war, but it also reminds us that peace is fragile and we must learn the lessons of wars to consolidate peace._dbx7926

2- Youth to live together. The French, German, British, Italian, Senegalese and Guinean schools worked together on World War I, recalling the need to remember that peace is the most precious good. The students sang together the Ode to Joy, today the anthem of the European Union and symbol of the desire of more than 500 million Europeans to want to live together in peace and security.

The ceremony held at the Residence of the Consul General of France, Mr. Mostafa Mihraje, brought together many guests, consuls general, officials and members of the French community and French speakers.the-announcing-of-the-armistice-on-november-11-1918-was-the-occasion-for-a-monster-celebration-in-philadelphia-pennsylvania


Seeking Connection Through Art

Nobu is a Japanese-born artist living in London; where he has attended the vocational school of arts for 4 years and he learned mainly about drawing and oil painting.

His inspiration, combined with his own personal feelings and experiences, fuels his creative process. Faisal Khalaf introduced us to Nobu when he recently visited Riyadh to attend the Misk Art 2018 and spoke to us about his inspiration and experience.

Are there stories behind your pieces? What is your inspiration?

My work combines the themes coming from personal experiences and feelings or the hidden world that I don’t know about. I then convert these inspirations into reflections on the canvas. The hues and shapes are important tools by which I transform my paintings into the mirror of my unconscious.

Most of my paintings are related to “connections”. The objects range from physical and spiritual things, culture, animals, and nature, but the relationships are familiar to me and indispensable in life.

I consider presenting new values by rethinking them through my filter.

Which of your pieces is your favorite? Why?

This is the live painting I did in Japan, with the theme of Kabuki; a Japanese traditional culture. The blue line drawn on the face means a villain. On the other hand, the red lines represent justice. What I wanted to show through this is a gentle emotion along with evil.


What projects have you been up to recently?

Currently, I’m studying at the University of the Arts London and have taken sculpture art as a major. I plan to make a new piece that’s different from my paintings. What I want to express now is the connection between human being and nature.

I’d like to expand the methods of expression not only through paintings but also sculpture.

One of the reasons for this idea is that the ruins of the camel and the ancient artifacts which I saw when I visited the outskirts of Riyadh didn’t leave my mind, therefore I thought about making a land art from this experience.

How was your experience at Misk Art 2018?

Since this was my first time to experience the art scene in the Middle Eastern region, every work had a unique effect. I was fascinated by the beautiful Arabic calligraphy and the live art performance of artists.36655695_236556520289752_3953528880710549504_n-copy

What advice would you give to a young emerging artist?

I’m still a young artist myself but I would like to say that it’s important to experience various things to express ourselves. It’s an essential means to for art creation. For example, reading books, traveling, participating in events, and of course also visiting museums and galleries. I want young artists including myself to visit various places by all means and to experience what is there and find inspiration.

Web: cha888chan.wixsite.com/nobu


Dur Hospitality Launches Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel

Dur Hospitality celebrated the re-launch of the newly renovated Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel in collaboration with Marriott International and Riyadh Airports Company.

The re-launch celebration was held in the presence of the Board Members of Dur Hospitality, Dr. Badr Al-Badr, CEO of Dur and Mr. Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott’s President and Managing Director of the Middle East and Africa.

The agreement between Dur Hospitality and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) was extended for 20 years starting from 2016, to develop the hotel and its business identity, while operating the hotel through an international brand. The cost of developing the current hotel is expected to reach approximately SAR 120 million, where the capacity will be increased from 247 to 347 rooms, in addition to the development of supporting facilities.

On this occasion, Dr. Badr Al-Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality, said, “The opening of Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel is an important step in line with the company’s expansion strategy in the Kingdom’s hospitality industry. It could enhance our partnership with international brands such as Marriott International, which began 40 years ago with Riyadh Marriott Hotel. Through this partnership, we introduced the concept of five-star hotels to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and developed a number of projects, including Diplomat Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Marriott Hotel and Executive Apartments in Diplomatic Quarter Riyadh”.

Mr. Al-Daoud pointed out that the expansion and development of Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel meet the increasing number of passengers traveling through King Khalid International Airport, which estimated at about 7% per annum. By the end of 2017, the number of passengers traveling through the capital airport reached over 25 million, which is the highest number in the history of the airport. This year is expected to see an increase in passenger numbers compared to last year.

The Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel is strategically located close to the main markets in Riyadh. It features 2 dining halls, a ballroom with an area of about 1500 square meters, accommodating 750 guests, and 4 meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Marriot Riyadh Airport Hotel is one of the most prominent hotels that meet the needs of businessmen coming to the Kingdom, whether to participate in conferences and forums or to hold meetings and conventions.

About Dur Hospitality:

Established in 1976, Dur Hospitality is one of the most prestigious Saudi companies specialized in hospitality. It owns, develops and manages a wide range of properties, hotels and residential units throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a publicly listed company. Its diversified portfolio encompasses more than 20 properties, in addition to 21 new hospitality and residential projects under development across the Kingdom with a total value of SAR 2.37bn.

In 1983, Dur launched its innovative Saudi brand in Makkah and Madinah, Makarem, a world-class hotel chain specialized in providing hospitality services in accordance with the highest international standards with a Saudi spirit. Dur manages its hotels throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through franchise agreements with Marriott International and the IHG Group.

In the real estate sector, Dur designs, develops and manages residential units and employs its hospitality expertise to provide integrated services under its own brand (Dur).


Nikon unveils its first-ever full-frame mirrorless cameras Z7 and Z6

A modern camera, new features, big sensor, a new mount – time to unleash the full creative freedom with Nikon Z series.

Innovators in camera equipment, Nikon unveiled its most-awaited full-frame mirrorless Z series. Perfected for capturing state-of-art images, Nikon Z7 and Z6 with its completely silent operation is sure to be a muse for every photographer.

Launched with the media team, press, bloggers and social media influencers, Nikon Z series saw a grand gathering celebrating the finest engineering in the photography landscape as well as a unique state of the art features in videography.

Mr. Narendra Menon, the managing director of Nikon Middle-East, commented “The Z series is a product of great research and thought. We wanted to create a product that would become an ally and work as diligently as our photographers do. Z series has been designed to give photographers an ease in operation with the finest that Nikon has to offer in camera technology.”

The buyers of Z series will have an advantage with Nikon Premier Member program (NPM), getting a chance to explore the excellent optical output facilitated by the entire Z series.

The Z7 series is compact, lightweight, portable, fast and the image quality rivals to none – and more: the new S-lenses offer an amazing edge to edge sharpness. The mirrorless cameras are inherently more convenient owing to their size and weight. Nikon gets the formula for convenience and quality with these additions.z-family-1

Overview of Z series:

Nikon Z7

The first ever FX-format mirrorless camera with high-megapixel of 45.7 is a state-of-art technology. It has a focus point of 493 that covers 90 percent of the image you see. A new EXPEED 6 image processing engine to get more clear pictures. Continuous shooting up to 9 frames per second (fps) in burst mode. Complete silent operation

For full specs of Z7 – mirrorless-cameras/z-7-tech_specs

Nikon Z6

A modern compact body, providing superior high-sensitivity performance and impeccable video features of full frame video recording. The Z6 features 24.5 mega-pixels – ready to excel broad range of shooting scenarios even in low-light. It is a quick capture camera with a 12 framer per second (fps) in continuous running mode. It has a 273 focus point covering 90 percent of the image area.

For full specs of Z6 – mirrorless-cameras/z-6-tech_specs


For more information on the new Z 7 and Z 6, and other Nikon products, please visit abdulwahed.com