External Speakers

Firas Al Otaibi is a Co-Founder, and CEO of Think Arabia Group

Think Arabia is a parent company that develops ideas/ventures/small entrepreneurs in the media, technology and publishing sector to build value through making impact! Which includes 6 entities.

Before being the CEO of Think Arabia, Firas was the COO of Kharabeesh (part of Think Arabia), and Managing partner of Untitled Studios.

worked as a media consultant for Johns Hopkins University-Jordan for two years.

Got selected as Endeavor member in 2010, and candidate for E&Y Entrepreneur of the year 2010 - Jordan.

Ahmed El Alfi - Founder & Chairman, Cairo, Egypt

Ahmed is a veteran investor and VC from California with over 25 years of experience in top executive and management positions. Ahmed’s investment track record over the last 17 years includes the execution of numerous successful transactions in technology, Internet, healthcare and financial services at various stages of development. He has executed many rewarding exits including several IPO’s on the NASDAQ. He relocated to Egypt in 2006 as the CEO of EFG-Hermes Private Equity. He subsequently founded Sawari Ventures, to which he brings a wealth of experience, superb industry insight and an invaluable international network.

Rashid M. Al Ballaa - CEO - National Net Ventures (N2V)

Rashid Al Ballaa is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of National Net Ventures (N2V), one of the largest internet holding companies in the MENA region. N2V enables web ventures in the region by investing capital and offering essential infrastructure services to help accelerate their growth.  Some of N2V flagship Companies are Net Advantage, OneCard, N2V Dev House, HawaaWorld, and Mubasher.Info.

Rashid is also a board member of National Technology Group (NTG), the region’s largest ICT conglomerate and key provider of Financial Technology and Services. Some of NTG Flagship Companies include Arabic Computer Systems (ACS), Ebttikar, AIM, Getronics ME, and Mubasher Technologies Group.  


Before N2V, Rashid was spearheading the regional business development efforts of Mubasher, the first e-trading solution in the MENA region with the most advanced e-trading engine that empowers investors to buy and sell securities online, providing the region with real-time price dissemination, sophisticated analytical tools, news and other information to allow investors to make sound investment decisions. Rashid is also the founder of Direct Broker for Financial Services (DBFS), the UAE’s first STP e-brokerage company and currently the largest broker in the UAE.  Rashid serves on the boards of both Mubasher and DBFS.


Rashid holds a B.Sc. in Computer science with honors degree from King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Google Speakers

Nelson Mattos - VP, EMEA Product & Engineering

Nelson Mattos is Google Vice President of Product Management & Engineering for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Joining the company in 2007, he is responsible for al

l engineering and product development activities across the region, driving design, development and maintenance of search, ads, an
d apps products across Google's EMEA research centers.

Prior to joining Google, Nelson was an IBM Distinguished Engineer and Vice-President of Information and User Technologi
es, and an associate professor at the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany) until 1991. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Kaiserslautern and bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil).

Ari Kesisoglu - Managing Director, Middle East North Africa

Ari Kesisoglu’s mandate is to shape Google’s investments to Middle East North Africa, streamline sales operations and solidify partnerships with key ICT entit

ies.  In his capacity, Ari is also responsible for wor

king across Google teams to develop the strategic direction and approach for the region, with a focus on improving the IT ecosystem.

Ari joined Google in 2005 and has been instrumental in setting up the company’s operations in EME

A’s emerging markets where he structured the approach for investments to new geographies and constructed Google’s plans in new markets. He has taken on several senior positions since then, including his last post where he was leading the operations 

group for Southern Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Prior to joining Google, Ari was an entrepreneur and grew his company fro

m a garage start-up to profitability. He 
worked in corporate finance earlier in his career. Ari holds an MBA from INSEAD and a bachelor's degree in business from Bogazici University in Turkey.

Ahmad Hamzawi - Head of New business development - MENA & Central Asia

Ahmad Hamzawi is the head of engineering at Google for the Middle East and North Africa region. He is currently leading engine

ering te
ams focused on building and adapting products for the Arab world. Ahmad joined Google in 2006 from KNOVA Software in Silicon Valley where he was Senior Director of Engineering. At KNOVA, he led the onshore and offshore engineering development and operations of an award-winning enterprise search and knowledge management product. Previously, he managed engineering teams of early stage startup companies as well as large enterprise companies such as Autodesk and Gateway. He has also taught courses in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science.

William Kanaan - New Business Development Manager, Middle East and North Africa 

William Kanaan is Google’s New Business Development Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. During the last 5 years Google at Google, William has worked in various teams within Google Engineering until early 2010 when he transitioned to lead the business development efforts for Google in the MENA. Prior to Google, William has started and worked for several startups in the Silicon Valley and held senior consulting positions at Fujitsu consulting, Sun Microsystems and Netscape. William holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science.

Sebastian Trzcinski-Clément - Developer / Industry Relations Lead, Middle East and

North Africa
Sebastian joined Google at the beginning of 2007 and is now the De
veloper Relations Lead for the Middle East and Northern Africa. His mission is to spearhead advocacy, outreach and support initiatives to make developers and businesses successful using Google products and developer tools. Prior to Google, he spent a few years working as a strategy consultant and then in business development at Dell. Sebastian is a Supélec engineer and holds an MBA from Collège des Ingénieurs.

Luisella Mazza - Search Quality Senior Strategist
Luisella is a Search Quality Senior Strategist who joined Google in 2005 to support search quality efforts in the European languages. Her contribution spans across multiple regions, most recently Africa and the Middle East. Luisella is a graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland and the University of Bologna, Italy.

Fayeq Oweis - Arabic Localization

Fayeq Oweis manages the Arabic Localization team at Google. He works on Google's localized Arabic products, performs linguistic QA, manages terminology and style guide, and collaborates with different teams on the Arabization of Google products and services, and the challenges of Bi-Directional and RTL languages.  Fayeq holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentration on Arabic and Islamic Studies. Before joining Google, Fayeq was an external linguist and language specialist for over 4 years working on Google products. He was also a professor of Arabic Language and Culture at Santa Clara University and San Jose State University. 

Google Account Manager, UAE

Souheil Soueid is an Account Manager at Google focusing on the MENA region. He is responsible for managing a portfolio of Key Accounts providing them with superior consultancy services. With a deep knowledge of the Internet and strong analytical skills Souheil specifically helps advertisers grow their business and maximize the return on their marketing investment. 

With over 5 years of industry experience, Souheil started at Google’s EMEA Headquarters as an Account Manager for France. He then pursued his passion for the region by supporting the MENA region from the European Headquarters in Dublin.  In August 2008, Souheil took on his next challenge by helping to start operations in the newly opened Google Dubai office.

Souheil received his Masters from Grenoble École de Management and is fluent in Arabic, French and English, and is learning Spanish.

Ahmed Hassan - Software Engineer

Ahmed Hassan has been a software engineer in Google for 2 years, in the Middle East and North Africa team. He holds a Bachelor degree from Faculty of Engineering- Alexandria University. Ahmed has many years of experience in  software engineering during his work in Egypt, USA and Switzerland.

Adam Mathias Bittlingmayer Software Engineer

Adam Mathias Bittlingmayer has been a software engineer at Google since 2007.
His love of human language led him to add Arabic transliteration to the Google Language API, and he presented this and other topics to developers in Palestine at GPals Day 2009.  While he previously developed a data storage service for business data at Google, he is currently in the mobile technology sector as part of the Android Market team.

Adam holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Washington in Seattle.  As a student he developed software at the leading medical software and graphics software companies.

Basel Al-Naffouri - Software Engineer

Basel Al-Naffouri recently joined Google as a Software Engineer in the Arabic Engineering team, devel
oping products for the Arab Region. Prior to that, he was a Senior Member of Technical Staff at Oracle Corporation, where he developed tools to help DBAs manage and tune Oracle Databases as part of the Enterprise Manager team. He has also worked at ArsDigita corporation and started his own venture, Validyss corporation, specializing in cloud storage management. Basel holds a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Ammar Ibrahim - Product Manager

Ammar Ibrahim joined Google in 2011 as a Product Manager focusing on Middle East and North  Africa (MENA), and Emerging Markets.

Prior to joining Google, Ammar worked as a developer, consultant, instructor and author for over 
a decade. He served as a senior consultant for many leading companies and governmental institutions including Amman Stock Exchange (ASE), to train their developers and help them build new public Internet services, that include a realtime, web-based market watch application. 

Ammar is a frequent speaker in technology related events and conferences around the globe. He enjoys promoting open source, security and the positive use of the social web.

Randomness plays a big part in Ammar's life: he ran a cafe, started a magazine, invented an entertainment system for luxury yachts, technically reviewed Linux System Administration, won the 3rd place of the MIT Arab business plan competition in 2009 and has won several pool tournaments! 

David Renie - Software Engineer

David Renie has been a software engineer at Google since 2006.  He is currently in the Middle East and North Africa team.  His previous work at Google includes Search Infrastructure, Google Desktop, and Google Toolbar.  David holds Bachelors degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Timothy Jordan - Developer Advocate

Timothy is a Developer Advocate working on the social web. He has taught broadcasting, theater, programming, and various forms of new media at UC Santa Cruz, the Academy of Art University, and the Digital Media Academy. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering, a Theater Arts graduate degree, and an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media from UC Santa Cruz. In his spare time he runs half marathons and announces for the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, and any other Roller Derby team that asks. As an engineer he enjoys solving problems for the benefit of fellow humans. As an artist he enjoys the search for truth and beauty.

Shaden Mohamed - Senior Account Manager

Shaden Mohamed is a Senior Account Manager for Egypt & North West Africa. As a creative and digital Consultant, Shaden works with advertisers and their agencies to generate innovative digital media solutions, with a focus on meeting business objectives using the online medium. In her free t
ime Shaden can be found blogging about her travel exploits.

Noha Salem - University Outreach Specialist
Noha Salem is Google’s University Relations Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. After working as a Software Engineer for Google Zurich for a year and a half, she decided to relocate to Egypt and pursue a non-technical yet equally exciting career with universities in the Arab World. Salem graduated with honors from the Faculty of Computers and Information Sciences at Ain Shams University in Cairo with a B.Sc. in Scientific Computing. She enjoys working with students and researchers and is planning for intensive and innovative programs for the universities in MENA starting with the Google Campus Ambassador Program.

Nasser Saleem Ahmed - Enterprise Sales Engineer

Nasser is an accomplished Technical Evangelist at Google working in the "Enterprise" division. Nasser’s focus is to help businesses take advantage of disruptive technologies like Cloud Computing, Enterprise Search, Geospacial Services and the “post-PC” era of mobile devices and tablets that are changing the way businesses compete in the new “100% Web” world.

Nasser is an ex-IBMer with over 14+ years of diverse experience as a “trusted adviser” to many Fortune 500 consultancies and companies. Nasser is dedicated to solving complex enterprise challenges using creative and thought-provoking solutions. Nasser is also a passionate public speaker and has spoken at a variety of events in EMEA.

Phil Rollet - Engineering Manager
Phil Rollet, manager for Google Engineering Productivity, holds an Engineering Diploma from Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard, France. He worked as a Software Engineer for Prosoft Engineering, Inc. on device driver development, for Kodak on medical images and as an Engineer Manager for Hewlett-Packard on data archiving solutions. He joined Google in Zurich in June 2006. He implements test infrastructure for internal infrastructure and for Google Apps: Gmail and Calendar.