Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and the Gulf Region’s Startup Ecosystems

Omar Christidis is the founder of CEO of ArabNet, a digital media venture with the goal of spearheading the Arab Web and Mobile movement, and encouraging its expansion worldwide, was founded by Omar Christidis in 2010. Born in Lebanon, Omar holds a BA in Ethic, Politics, and Economics from Yale, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. After his studies, Omar worked as a consultant where he was exposed to exciting and innovative digital developments. After spending a year working for Sheffield Investment Co., Omar decided to return to Lebanon and join his family business, International Business Alliance Group, a corporate event-planning firm that he sought to revitalize. Under the IBAG umbrella, Omar launched the Web and Mobile Business Summit in 2010. It was the first of its kind in the region to focus on entrepreneurs and the digital economy. Its success drove Omar to develop ArabNet, which organized a regioin Road Show, boosting its brand. ArabNet is the first platform of its region that targets the startup scene by bringing together private corporations, government entities, investors and non-profit organizations, among others. Having played an essential role in driving the growth of multiple young companies, ArabNet enjoys a loyal network of fans. Its impact extends beyond the revenue and jobs it creates – ArabNet catalyzes the local entrepreneurial ecosystem through the thousands of entrepreneurs and hundres of companies that attend its event and read its articles.

“Part of the SME Authority is the Saudi Venture Capital companies… So the fund of funds is a part of this broader architecture and strategy of the [Saudi Arabia] government”

Omar Christidis

On this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. How Omar expanded his tech conference business across the middle east through Tweetups, [9:18]
  2. What nearing peak oil means for the gulf coast’s sovereign wealth funds, [15:01]
  3. A deep dive on the Saudi Arabia tech and innovation landscape, [20:09]

Recorded in partnership with

PeaceTech Lab works to reduce violent conflict using technology, media, and data to accelerate and scale peacebuilding efforts. An independent nonprofit, the Lab brings together engineers and activists, MBAs and conflict experts, social scientists, data scientists, and other innovators to put the right tools in the right hands to build peace.

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