ArabNet Beirut 2013: Entrepreneur Competitions

I received the following email from ArabNet that I’d love to share with you guys. I hope it’s not to much late, but as they say “better late than never”. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs that wants to raise money for their startup. I actually might apply to the competition. Below is the announcement:


“The staple ArabNet Startup Demo and Ideathon competitions are receiving applications again! 

Top entrepreneurs received coverage from regional and global media including the Wall Street Journal [2], AllthingsDTechCrunch and many more. ArabNet Beirut 2013 is all also on the top 30 “Recommended” digital events in EMEA by Techcrunch

Do you have a great web or mobile idea that you would like to launch? The Ideathon is a series of back-to-back 2-minute pitches from entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that have strong business potential. Apply here:

Do you have a growing digital startup that you would like to expand? The Startup Demo is a back-to-back 5-minute pitches that offers entrepreneurs with an internet product or service the opportunity to demonstrate its strong market potential and effective business model. Apply here:

70% Startup Demo competitors from 2012 are angel or venture backed!! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet the highlights of digital veterans, business professionals, investors, incubators and media at ArabNet Beirut

Deadline to Apple: February 26! [2 days left]



I also asked Racha from ArabNet the following questions and she did a great job answering them:

1- What it takes to apply? What should I submit and how long it takes to complete the process?

Application should take about 30 minutes, the link to apply is in the announcement.  Your application will be checked and you will receive an email of approval as soon as it is reviewed.

2- Who is attending? 

Arabnet’s attendees are a vast range of entrepreneurs, investors, angels, incubators, and digital professionals, as well as lots of regional and international media.

3- Are you going to cover any of our costs (Travel, accommodation..etc)?

Unfortunately, we are too small to do this, but i promise it’s worth the investment.

4- Is there any prizes for the winners? 

The exposure and buzz is the biggest prize really, but there are possibilities of a scholarship to Blackbox Connect in SF, and some direct investments but these things are not announced because they are based on the investors evaluation of the startups.



The Dream Team

If you asked any experienced investor that invests in early-stage startups this question “Do you invest on ideas or on teams?”, 90% of them will answer that they invest on the team. That’s because they understand that a successful startup is 5% about the idea and 95% about execution.

Now that we all agreed on that, let’s talk about what makes a great founders team. First of all, let’s talk a bit about the importance of having a founders team in a startup. Having a founders team is not similar to having employees that work in the startup for the money, a founders team is a bunch of people or friends that all share the same vision. A founders team usually consists of 2-4 people with different backgrounds (business, programming or design..etc). Below are some of the benefits of having a team instead of being a solo founder:

  1. Making better decisions: You’ll need someone to brainstorm and bounce ideas with. This usually result in making better decisions.
  2. Hard workers with low cost: In a startup you’ll need people that works 12hrs-14hrs everyday!! You can’t find someone that works that much without paying him/her a huge amount of money. However, your founding team are there for the long-run, they own equity in the company and they believe that one day it will worth millions of dollars.
  3. You are not a superman: You can’t be great in everything (business side, programming, design….etc). You need a co-founder to complete the DNA of your startup.
  4. Supporting each other: A startup is like a roller coaster journey. During this journey you’ll go through a lot of ups and downs, it will be great to have a co-founder that gives you a push when you are down, and someone that you can relay on when you are not around.

OK, so we agree that most of the time having a team is better than going as a solo founder. But, what makes a great team. A dream team will consist the following:

1- A Domain Expert

2- A Rockstar Programmer

3- A Superstar Designer

Startups are created to solve problems. So the domain expert is the guy who faced the problem and knows exactly how it should be solved. Let’s take an example, Jordan works in Walmart and he works in the inventory department for more than 10yrs. Jordan realized that he can help Walmart save 20% of their inventory costs if they used his new idea that doesn’t involve any human interaction!! He went to his manager and told him the idea. The manager kicked him out of the office and told him “I never want to hear this bull sh** again from you, do you understand!?“.

So Jordan went back home and called Magic (his great programmer friend) and Bird (his awesome designer friend) and told them that he will quit his job and create this crazy idea that he called, and asked them if they are welling to join. They both agreed to join the startup and after 5 years they sold the company to WallMart for US$250M.

Dream Team

Dream Team

Max Marmer the founder of Startup Genome (AKA wrote a great blog post about what it takes these days to create a Billion dollar startup. He argued that having only Tech guys and designers in a team will most likely result in “another mobile local social photo sharing app!!“. I agree with his view and I believe that most of the problem/solution assessments should come from these domain experts (unless the idea itself is about a new technology) and the programmers and designers should be part of the team to translate this vision into reality.

Big part of StartupQ8 is to help entrepreneurs and visionaries in meeting programmers and designers to build the next big thing. So if you are a Domain Expert and you think you have a great idea, then come join us on one of our events, form your team and start building the next billion dollar company!!

First Startup Weekend Kuwait (Wamda Post)

Day 2

“Finally, Startup Weekend has made it to Kuwait’s small but growing entrepreneurship scene. Startup Weekend Kuwait kicked off a couple of weeks ago, organized by a dynamic young team of entrepreneurs, who managed…..Continue reading in Wamda



ZUR_3953 Pitching#1

StartupQ8 Event is Tomorrow, Please Register

We just want to remind you that the event is tomorrow Monday the 18th of Feb., and if you didn’t register yet then you should do it now. To register click here

StartupQ8 Event Invitation


Location on google maps: Global Investment House, 4th floor (click to view)

4th StartupQ8 Event Summary and Lots of Photos

Below is the event summary of our previous event, many learnings from our Tech GURU Burhan and our friends in (Don’t forget to register to our next event here)

StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (2)

“At the 4th StartupQ8 gathering a couple of weeks ago, entrepreneurs gathered in Kuwait City to discuss the secrets of building a tech startup and learn from the success of Kuwaiti gaming startup

In the first talk, Burhan Khalid, the Development Manager at Ahli United Bank presented the secrets that every IT founder must know.

One major trend that Khalid pointed out was the fact that……Continue reading

StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (13) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (11) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (9) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (5) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (6) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (3) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (4) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (10) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (12) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (8) StartupQ8 4th Event - January 2013 (1)

Startup DNA by Yevgeniy Brikman

I just read this awesome slides, and I think everyone should do as well. It’s a 100 slides, but a less than 5 min read. Enjoy!

StartupQ8 Event the 5th

Alright everyone, sorry for making you waiting that long, we finally decided on the next startupQ8 event. Below is the event schedule:

Date: Monday the 18th of February

Time: 7:00PM – 9:00PM

Venue: Global Investment House  (4th floor)


1- Designing Customer Experience (by Haider AlMosawi)

2- Interview with the founder of AlMowazi.comMohannad Al-Sane

Click here to register to the event

If you have any inquiries kindly send us an email at

Hope to see you all there 🙂

Why you shouldn’t keep your startup idea secret

Startup Weekend Kuwait just ended last weekend and it was amazingly great, especially that we won the competition 🙂 Now, big part of startup weekend is sharing your idea with everyone while its in a very early stage. Many people is afraid to do this and actually I was supposed to participate with my cousin with one idea, but then he backed up 1 hr before the event just because of this reason.

Top top


Chris Dixon, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a great post back in 2009 about “Why you shouldn’t keep your startup idea secret“. Below is part of the post that you can read all here.

A frequent question entrepreneurs have when they are just starting their company is:  how secretive should I be about my idea?  My answer:  you should talk about it to almost anyone who will listen.  This includes investors, entrepreneurs, people who work in similar areas, friends, people on the street, the bartender, etc.

There are lots of benefits to talking to people.  You’ll get suggestions for improvements.  You’ll discover flaws and hopefully correct them.   You’ll learn a lot more about the sector/industry.  You’ll learn about competitive products that exist or are being built.  You’ll gauge people’s excitement level for the product and for various features.  You’ll refine your sales and investor pitch.  You might even discover your idea is a bad… continue reading


Difference between big companies and startups

Great post this time about the difference between big comapnies and startups


At last week’s DLD Conference in Munich, I had the opportunity to sit onstage with the co-founder and CPO of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia. We started by discussing the unique creative culture at Rhode Island School of Design, where Joe went to college, and where I currently serve as president. Joe shared some of his secrets of being a successful designer-founder, and then turned the tables and asked me what it’s like to run a 136-year-old institution like RISD.

As often happens these days, the Twitter summary of my answer was perhaps more articulate than my answer itself:

@johnmaeda: “Today end-ups — old companies and institutions — want to be become more like start-ups. Yet they are classic and important.” via @AnnePascual

@johnmaeda: “Start-ups want to end up successful. Both want to be great.” via @Sloane

I sit on the board of a couple of start-ups (like Sonos and Quirky), but…

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