Previous Post
The Region's First EdTech VC Just Opened Up in Egypt
Next Post
Egyptian Delivery Startup VOO Closes Investment Deal With Alex Angels

30 Words of Wisdom Ahead of the RiseUp Summit

Just 30 days before the Middle East's most vibrating entreprenerial summit kicks off, we've gathered 30 pieces of advice and visionary thoughts from the speakers that filled RiseUp 16 with inspiration.

Kicking off on December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at Cairo's The Greek Campus, the event is poised to become once again centre stage for innovation, networking and artistic alchemy, as some of the world's most impact-driven minds are descending upon the Greek Campus to trigger discussion and 

Focused on HX - or how innovation can improve the human experience, the summit will feature sizzling talks, fireside chats and workshops, spotlighting regional trailblazers through the "MENA Hipo Programme," and visionary speakers hailing from nearly every tech hotpot around the world, from's founder Michael Megalli, to Great Big Story's VP of content Courtney Coupe, and Dana Horska, the powerwoman overseeing investments at twofour54, the Abu Dhabi Media Free Zone.

The summit will also bring mindblowing entrepreneurs like Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, a rewards network and application with $31 million in investments, Stripe Atlas' Sarah Heck, who serves as an advisor on international entrepreneurship and youth programs to the Obama Foundation, and Daniel Pinchbeck, whose think-tank Center for Planetary Culture, produced the Regenerative Society Wiki - a Wikipedia-like platform for technologists, visionaries and researches to crowdsource solutions for the planetary crisis. But as we get closer to the event that every year turns Egypt into a melting pot where creative talent meets geeky creators and tech moguls, here's 30 words of wisdom to revisit from last year's summit.  

1. "First and foremost, we expect founders to have grit. We have found that grit is the number one quality in determining the success of a CEO or business owner. They must hit the ground running and pull themselves up by their bootstraps each and every day." -Sharif Bawadi, 500 Startups

2. "Every time your organisation tells you you're crazy and asking for the impossible, you're doing the right thing." – Ayman Ismail, Director at AUC Venture Lab

3. "Stop complaining about investors and make yourself an investable company." - Konrad Waliszewski, travel blogger, investor, and founder of GoKorad

4. "Entrepreneurship is more like gaming than you might think. Entrepreneurs are the small minority who want to become unicorns - and just like true gamers, they play to win, not to waste time." - Khaled Ismail, KIAngel.

5. "Every time you fail, tell as many people as possible; this is what'll drive feedback." - Tarek Ghobar, 1776 Dubai Startup Manager

6. "My biggest mistake was going into business with someone I had an emotional connection to." - Alex Ropes, UK's Basement Approved Community Manager

7. "When you find your passion, be prepared to lose everything and everyone." - Dan Taylor, Photographer

8. "Find something that is a point of pain for people and try to fix it." - Tino Waked, General Manager at Uber Egypt 

9. "One thing we need to leave behind is dreamy quotes. Let's be realistic. It's hard, but doable." - Omar Gabr, CEO at Instabug

10. "In the bottom-up approach, everyone is and can be part of the solution." - Ahmed Galal, Nawaya Egypt

Last year, international startup wizards like Matt Hackett – whose startup Beme was recently acquired by CNN, took on the stage to spark discussions.

11. "Do not get emotionally attached to your ideas; they're not static." - Sherif El-Helw Arqaam Capital

12. "The journey is so much more than the outcome. The journey is much more rewarding. When you sleep soundly at night, it's because of everyone you've impacted along the way - that's what entrepreneurship is all about." - Will Huston, Team LMTD

13. "My biggest mistake would have been not sufficiently planning for things. That will always result in a big mess at the end." - Dina El Mofty, Founder of Injaz Egypt

14. "The first thing I need to tell you is there's something that will always be out of your control. And that is time. Time with the market, not necessarily time with you. Which is why you must scan your market and decide if it is the right time or not. You must ask yourself: Is the market ready for you? Is it your time to succeed?" – Ayman Ismail, DMG and Endeavor Scales

15. "The human element is very important. When selecting investors, look beyond the money and consider the terms and the people. You have to really like the investor and they have to like you. You must have a team that really believes in what you do, otherwise you're wasting your time." - Ameer Sherif, Wuzzuf

16. "I don't like being introduced as the owner of the company. I didn't do anything to earn that. But when I say I'm the Managing Director of La Poire, that is a title I earned; one I worked for day and night for the past 15 years. It means something." - Shahira Diab, Managing Director of La Poire

17. "Investors spend as much time trying to understand each other as they do trying to understand entrepreneurs." - Alvaro Abella, BECO Capital

18. "Each brand should be portrayed as a person to come through to the user."–  Amira Azzouz, Founder of Fustany

19. "Support collaborative behaviour, don't support selfishness. In the long run, it is destroying your company." – Claudia Gross, Organisational Transformation Catalyst

20. “It's beyond selling your product. It's what's behind it. Apple doesn't sell computers; it sells thinking differently.” – Ayman Ismail, Director of AUC V-Labs

 Last year, the summit gathered over 4,700 people and 200 international speakers in the heart of Cairo.

21. "Blockchains increase security by encrypting digital currency in a way that banks can't." - Ashraf Abdelwahab, CTO of Microsoft Egypt

22. "We have to reconcile that great ideas cost a lot of money." – Sian Prime, Creative Economy expert at Goldsmiths, University of London

23. "People think the bigger you get, the easier it gets, and that's the exact opposite of the truth." – Amina Ghali, Designer at Azza Fahmy

24. "It's very important in terms of company culture that, as a leader, you lead by example. Don't think you're above a certain job. When we were starting out and had issues with deliveries, I'd go and deliver the stuff in my own car. And since then, every Elf steps up to any task." – Abeer El Sisi, Founder of Elves

25. "The more you build on top of a mistake, the more difficult it is to fix it." - Khaled Ismail, KIAngel

26. "Many entrepreneurs don't have an understanding of finance and that's a big issue." - Mohamed Azab, Seha Capital

27. "In 10 years, 40% of future 500 companies will no longer exist because they're not adapting." -Amir Souhrabi, SAP

28. "I think if you can navigate the Middle East, then you can navigate the world." - Sian Prime

29. "There's almost too much opportunity, there's too many marks, there's too many things that people are going after, which is incredible!" - Matt Hackett

30. “We [older generation] have been told that we should be content with the minimum. After two revolutions, Egyptian youth have more ambition and are looking for a brighter future so they won’t accept the minimum.” - Ali Faramawy

Photos by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.

Sign up for the daily Startup Digest.

Todays Events
BLOCKCHAIN: Its Uses and Implications
Date: 9/26/2020
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Venue: Online