- Highly driven, passionate individuals who are open to learning and interacting with others
- At least one technical cofounder, and preferably a member with technical experience
- Founders should be open to feedback
- Open to establishing legal presence in Lebanon
- Primarily focused on software, digital media, Web and mobile
- Serves a large global market
- Innovative and strongly differentiated from competitors
- Scalable business model that offers strong growth potential
- Maroun Chammas, Chairman and CEO of Berytech
- Walid Hanna, Managing Partner at MEVP
- Fadi Bizri, Managing Director of Bader
- Abdallah Jabbour, Managing Director of LFE
Central Bank Circular 331 unleashes around $400 million to boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Lebanon's strong entrepreneurial ecosystem provides support (e.g, training, mentorship, networks, investment) for all stages of the startup lifecycle.
Availability of highly educated, multilingual, and highly skilled labor.
Perfectly positioned on the shores of the Mediterranean, Lebanon offers easy access to the European, Arab, and African markets.
Accelerated startups receive a $30,000 cash injection, excluding in-kind services
The acceleration lasts for 3 months, and startups will reside at the cutting-edge Beirut Digital District (BDD)
Speed@BDD will take 10% equity from accelerated startups
Extensive access to top mentors, experts, and industry connections.
Top teams will benefit from follow-on immersion in Silicon Valley
Sami Abou Saab
Sami Abou Saab has more than 12 years of experience in technology, both in startups and big tech firms. Prior to Speed@BDD, he worked at Skype and Microsoft Corporation in the US, covering strategy, marketing, and channel modelling. In Silicon Valley, Sami started his own company (MobiLock, aimed at creating a hardware device and mobile application that allows you to unlock your home with your smartphone) that was voted as the best startup in the Berkeley MBA program entrepreneurship class. At Data Consult, Sami led the Systems Department in Lebanon and the Middle East and grew its business 8-fold over the course of 4 years. Sami holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas and London Business School.
Fares has 11 years of experience in the software and technology space. He worked at CME Offshore and KnowledgeView where his career spanned across most of the core activities of the software development life cycle. At CME, he established and led a team of 20 quality assurance and test automation engineers contracted for Thomson Reuters. At KnowledgeView, he led and managed the mobile development team, and deployed high availability software solutions to the cloud. Fares holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from the American University of Beirut and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Lebanese American University.
Business Support Manager
Kevin spent 10 years in the Boston area where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance at Bentley University and then worked for 3 years in wealth management. Kevin then obtained his MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship and finance from Babson College. Post-MBA, he joined two friends in launching a startup with the goal to increase financial inclusion by providing financial tools and education to the unbanked US population. Kevin returned to Lebanon in 2016 where he became active in the emerging startup ecosystem, working for Middle East Venture Partners, a leading venture capital firm. Now part of the Speed@BDD team, Kevin mentors startups during their acceleration, and assists them in raising investments as they grow.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Gràcia has 8 years of experience in digital communications and events management, as an in-house marketeer at a multinational firm and while working as a freelancer. She worked at Total Liban where she handled events management for key figures in the Oil & Gas sector as well as promotional and marketing campaigns for the company’s points of sales. She also established the company’s digital presence as she managed the social media channels creation, the smartphone application development, and the website revamping. Gràcia holds a Bachelor degree and a Master's in Advertising from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik and a Specialized Master's in Marketing and Communications from the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires and ESCP Europe.
Elsa Abi Raad
Elsa Abi Raad has been with Speed@BDD since day one. Her main responsibilities are communicating, liaising with potential investee startups, and conducting short- and long-term research into markets. Prior to that, Elsa worked for two years as an academic assistant at the Admissions Office and at the Business School in LAU. During her studies, Elsa also joined the Global Classrooms International Model United Nations program in New York where she served for two years as a High School Trainer and Chair, working with hundreds of students, helping them develop their communication skills and teaching them the formal procedures to role-play ambassadors of countries joining the UN. Elsa has a Bachelor of Science in Economics and International Affairs from the Lebanese American University.
Maroun N. Chammas
Director and Deputy General Manager of the Chammas Group of companies, Chairman and CEO of Berytech
Mr. Chammas pursued a Bachelor degree in engineering in 1984 and MBA in 1986 from Boston University. Upon his return to Lebanon, he joined the Chammas Group of Companies, the largest privately owned oil and gas group in the Near East. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Chammas acquired an important stake in 1995 in Data Management which merged with Inconet in 2001 to form IDM, the largest privately owned ISP in Lebanon and the region. Several companies related to the Internet, IT and communication businesses were also created of which Netlink, Middle East On-Line, Navlink, Triband and Netcommerce. Mr. Chammas holds currently the following positions: Director and Deputy GM of the Chammas Group; Deputy GM in ELFMED Aviation; Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Technological Pole Berytech; VP International Catering and Services; Executive director and board member of IDM; Board Member and Director of Tele-Invest Holding (Holding for the IP related businesses); Board Member of Bader – Young Entrepreneurs Program.
Managing Partner, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)
Mr. Hanna has been active in venture capital and in new venture development for the past 16 years. Walid has founded, co-founded, invested in, and led more than 30 investments/companies spanning a range of industries, including technology, consumer finance, and hospitality in Dubai Amman Cairo and Beirut. Prior to founding MEVP, Walid was the CEO of Dubai International Capital’s venture arm, the Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), which managed a regional Seed Capital Fund as well as a Business Angels network. Before ABAN, he was on the investment management team of Abraaj Capital. Walid holds a Bachelor's of Economics from McGill University (Canada), and a Master's in Finance from Hautes Études Commerciales, H.E.C (France).
General Manager, IM Capital
Mr. Rouhana is currently the General Manager of IM Capital, a $15M fund, part of USAID MENA Investment Initiative, providing matching Capital, Equity Guarantee and Technical Assistance to early-stage businesses and investors. Between 2002 & 2015, he was the Executive Director of Berytech, counseling and mentoring Lebanese entrepreneurs in their startup ventures. Since 2008, Nicolas is senior strategy & technical advisor to Berytech Fund, investing in Lebanese technology startups. Nicolas is also Associate Professor at the Saint-Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut where he lectures computer networking and entrepreneurship courses at the Faculty of Engineering (ESIB). Nicolas is Board Member ISOC-Lebanon Chapter, Berytech, and LINC (Lebanon Internet Center). He is a certified Business Incubation Trainer from InfoDev (WorldBank) and an accredited EU-BIC (Business Innovation Center) auditor, and the spokesperson of Beirut Internet Exchange. Nicolas has a Telecommunications Engineering degree from USJ, a PhD in Networking Systems from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, and an EDP graduate from INSEAD, France.
Managing Director, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program
Mr. Bizri is the Managing Director at Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, a leading Lebanese entrepreneurship organization. Bader offers coaching, workshops and access to expert and investment networks. Bader has become a key destination for entrepreneurs looking for strategic advice, business growth, mentors and investors. Fadi is also a managing partner at Division 1, a seed-stage technology venture capital fund. Previously, he was a co-founder at Seeqnce, the first startup accelerator in Lebanon (featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch). Fadi is a mentor and board member at a number of startups and regularly advises entities such as the World Bank, academia and Lebanese government ministries on entrepreneurship policy and initiatives. Fadi holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal and a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the American University of Beirut.
Managing Director, LFE
Abdallah Jabbour is the Managing Director of Lebanon for Entrepreneurs (LFE), a diaspora-backed reform initiative for Lebanon’s technology start-up ecosystem. He is also a cofounder and Board member of Speed@BDD, and a mentor to several startups in the Middle East and the US. Prior to LFE, Abdallah worked at Oracle Corporation and Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley, in roles that spanned software engineering, business development, business incubation, and corporate strategy. At Abraaj Capital in Dubai, Abdallah worked on early-stage investments in the technology sector, and helped launch Abraaj's technology seed fund. Abdallah holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut, a Master of Science from MIT, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He is fluent in Arabic, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
What is the mission of Speed@BDD and its founders?
Speed@BDD is a collaborative effort between prominent regional investors and leading Lebanese entrepreneurship organizations. Their main mission is to boost the Lebanese ecosystem by investing in high potential technology startups at the idea and seed stage.
How long is the acceleration program?
Our acceleration program is for 3 months.
How many and what type of startups do you accept?
We accept 10 startups in each cycle, and we do two cycles a year. Startups are primarily web and mobile apps, including those with hardware components.
How much funding do we receive? Does it include hosting, internet, and other services?
Accepted teams receive cash investment of $30K.
In addition, and besides the extensive rich sessions and market exposure we offer, your team will benefit from additional services such as work space at BDD, internet, marketing packages, gym discounts, sponsored meals and other facilities once you join the program.
How much equity do you take?
We take 10% equity.
Do you offer follow on funding?
The top- two companies in each cycle will get 20,000$ follow-on funding from Speed@BDD for Silicon Valley immersion.
In addition, we open the doors to early stage investors in Lebanon and abroad, as we will be working on introducing your teams.
Do we have to work from your offices during the entire acceleration period?
Yes. Speed@BDD offices are located in Beirut Digital District (BDD), Lebanon.
Can we apply if we are located outside Lebanon?
Definitely! But if accepted into the program, you will have to move to Lebanon.
Should our startup be incorporated before us applying?
No. However, should you be admitted in the program, you commit to incorporate your startup in Lebanon after the acceleration period.
What is your guarantee that my idea won't be stolen?
As many top entrepreneurs would testify, strong execution is the key to success.