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Favourite Dubai Meetups & Events To Attend According To Founders And Investors.

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

This report has been compiled from contributions of founders and investors from the Dubai Ecosystem from the 18th of Jan, 2023 til the 14th of Feb, 2023, as part 5 of DSRPTD MAG's Dubai Venture City Guide.


EcoX (Free)

As Dubai's most famous weekly meetup for startups in Tech, Blockchain & Crypto. EcoX is the place where everybody met everybody. Its an open and free invitation for anyone who is anyone to attend and network with others who want to learn and get together with the community from various backgrounds (Blockchain, crypto, Tech VC, Forex, Real Estate, Banking, etc) whether they are new to the field or veterans.

Everybody is welcome and can just walk in at VII Club at Conrad Dubai every Tuesday for networking and listening to startup presentation or panel discussions. (Sometimes they do it on Wednesdays on very rare occasions).

arte Meetup (Free)

arte Meetup is Crypto Oasis periodical meetup for digital art, NFTs, and Metaverse enthusiasts in the UAE and the region, and as its powered and hosted by Crypto Oasis; the world's fastest growing blockchain ecosystem and the leadership who cofounded Crypto Valley's ecosystem in Zug, Switzerland. You expect some really good experience and connections there.

Its usually free to attend subject to registration, and on some special occasions is either paid or for Crypto Oasis members only.

Every Friday from 6 to 8 pm at Social Distrikt on the Palm Jumeirah.

Ethereum Meetup (Free)

Organised by a group of entrepreneurs, developers and government representatives passionate about the Ethereum blockchain and its community.

Events (Exhibitions, Conferences & Summits):

Global Blockchain Congress

The Global Blockchain Congress is Agora Group's flagship private, exclusive, and closed doors congress for pre-arranged one-to-one meetings between vetted and qualified investors with blockchain and Web3 startups and projects. It's an invitation only event (no tickets) where only decision makers are invited to do business and close deals over two days.

They run also a series of other industry congresses over one day each for one-to-one pre-arranged meetings between solution providers and corporate buyers such as the Healthcare Disrupters Congress, The Gulf Congress on Cybersecurity, and the Energy Disrupters Congress for B2B sales.

Recognised as the best in the region, Agora has had the coverage of Forbes and Cointelegraph among other press leaders.


The world's most untold and unspoken-of happening in the VC world. Described as hosting the best content in the industry and the best programmed event in the tech VC sector.

DSRPTD has been recognised by industry leaders and media hosts as a high quality, impressive, rich experience, and mind blowing content, not to mention startups' feedback and reviews praising all the magic that happens at such a fusion VC / Hedge Fund / Accelerator summit.

As DSRPTD enablers keep waiting for it all year long, DSRPTD actually starts 3 months in advance by arranging term sheets for enabling projects and startups and initiating the conversations between investors and opportunities through their global investor relations and reach through INVSTDIN Raise solution, inviting the committed decision makers from funds, VCs, and governments, as well as industry partners where they all meet together face to face at the 3 days DSRPTD experience after 3 months of discussions and soft commitments to secure deals and partnerships.

And it doesn't stop there. DSRPTD keeps the heat up for another 3 months after the summit through deal flow management, follow up and support, as well as publicity, amplification, and exposure for DSRPTD enablers through DSRPTD Blog and DSRPTD Press service on global media of startups and investors stories and press releases on the likes of Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Benzinga, among others.

Probably this article is the only place on the web with a direct link to DSRPTD 2023 edition.


One of the most known and earliest summits on AI and Blockchain from Malta by SIGMA Group. Since the early days of blockchain they have been acing one of the best summits in the world when it comes to AI and Blockchain, collaborating and supported by governments' participation and endorsement and patronage, they have made it to Dubai a couple of years ago, creating a sizzling buzz in the Dubai blockchain and crypto scene, bringing over their flocks of global fans and lovers to their AIBC Summit in Dubai. Stay tuned for their next edition in Dubai hopefully soon.


The largest tech show in the world, and rated the world's best large scale exhibition. Organised and managed by DWTC Dubai World Trade Centre. GITEX is home to multiple parallel summits during the GITEX week:

  • AI Everything

  • Global Dev Slam

  • Expand North Star

  • Future Blockchain Summit

  • Fintech Surge

  • Marketing Mania


With two new additions:

  • GITEX Impact

  • Future Urbanism

Also, they have recently started GITEX Africa in Morocco.

This is where the real business happens.

Dubai Fintech Summit

The new home for fintech. Organised by DIFC Dubai International Financial Centre, a global financial hub ranking in the top 10 globally, home to Dubai Financial markets, Nasdaq Dubai, and a lot of the biggest banks in the world HQed here, in addition to hedge funds and family offices. This is the new Wall Street at the new Silicon Valley.

Managed by Trescon; the fastest growing events management company, bearers of the world's famous WBS World Blockchain Summit globally in addition to multiple other events on CX, AI, Cloud, Cybersecurity among others.

UNLOCK Blockchain Conference (Unfortunately no longer running)

UNLOCK Conference used to be hosted and organised by UNLOCK Blockchain Media; one of the largest blockchain media outlets and almost of the most comprehensive content and news. We really can't wait til they start running this conference again, as it used to be one of the best and the earliest in the region and with a very high quality of attendees and delegates, also very high end global profiles of speakers and sponsors.

MEVP Investors Summit

This is the private annual investors meeting by MEVP Middle East Venture Partners, where they gather with their portfolio startups' founders as well as other co-investors and LPs in their funds to discuss the VC landscape and announce their latest investments, exits, and raises.

DIFC Innovation Hub

Dubai International Financial Centre's Innovation Hub is home to more than 700 fintech startups in the region and growing. They host a lot of open and free events all year long on their open stage., in addition to some private and exclusive events, as well as ticketed ones.

Stay updated on everything happening at DIFC one of the world's top 10 global financial hubs.

Contributors to the Dubai Venture City Guide report:

Feroz Sanaulla, Global Co-Head of Crypto Economy and Partner at Roland Berger heading Financial Services, mainly fintech, insuretech and digital banking solutions. He has been active in building the operational blockchain solutions business offering to financial services companies (e.g. identity solutions, L/C and escrow solutions, 3rd party interaction protocols for banks. He has a vast regional network and am often a sounding board to C-level executives regionally. He has traveled extensively and has worked with clients in US, Europe and Asia.

With his past experience as a VC, he has also assisted incubators and worked with all of the major regional and silicon valley based VC and PE funds

Nathan Cooper, Chief Program and Innovation Officer at Sheesha Finance.

Nathan Cooper, MBA is a highly skilled and experienced Strategy and Execution professional with a proven track record of defining and delivering change plans to drive business readiness and employee adoption. With 20 years of experience, he has successfully led initiatives in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the US and Canada, focusing on Operational Excellence, Change Management and is passionate about building ecosystems, connecting needs to resources, addressing root causes of complex systems problems and impacting culture change.

Nathan's exceptional communication, collaboration, and presentation skills, along with his ability to work with geographically dispersed teams, make him a valuable asset in fostering strong global partnerships, aligning business strategy and delivering communications and training interventions. He uses his experience in customer-centred design thinking, critical analysis and synthesis, data analytics, technical expertise, and interdisciplinary collaboration to innovate experiences, product-service development, and workflow efficiency.

As the Chief Program and Innovation Officer of Sheesha Finance, Nathan drives organizational growth through innovative solutions and effective team management, consistently delivering measurable results across the business development, marketing, IT and projects departments. He also advises on innovation and new technologies to clients, investors and startups he advises. He was previously a Senior Program Manager at Société General and a Technical Program Manager of Operational Analytics at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, holding multiple certifications including Scrum and Agile, and is In his final year completing his doctoral studies in Strategy and Innovation.

Jorge Sebastiao, CEO at Global Blockchain Organization, and Co-Founder of EcoX.

International ICT speaker. Seasoned CTO, with Blockchain, Web 3.0, AI, NFT, IoT, Gaming, Digital Twin, Cyber Security, Managed Services, Cloud Computing, Big Data, & ICT innovation professional focused on business value; brings experience, creativity, structure, motivation, & agility. Over 35 years of ICT experience, covering, innovation, architecture as well as risk management, compliance, auditing, certification, business continuity, & disaster recovery. Served sectors include Telecom, Oil & Gas, Financial , Government, Defense, HealthCare, & Education. Created the process A6 of security: Assess, Architect, Apply, Administer, Awareness & Agility. He architects practical & business focused solutions using standards & industry best practices.

He has been the speaker at numerous international conferences with topics including: ICS Security, ICT Security, Business Continuity, ICT Architecture (TOGAF), Wireless Security, Regulatory Compliance, Physical Security, Biometrics and Smart Cards, Ethical Hacking, ISO27001, ISO27002 (ISMS), ISO2000 (ITIL), ISO13335 (Risk Management), ISO22301 (BCMS), CobIT, Basel II, EMV-2, PCI-compliance, SOX, Info warfare, Fraud, Identity Theft, SAP-Security, CISSP, Forensics & Incidence Response.

Jorge is action and results oriented with passion to deliver a results in a collaborative approach.

Mr. Sebastiao also co-authored book "La Face Cachée du Credit".

Languages Advanced: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Learning: Italian, Greek, Arabic, Russian

Quote “Information security is a continuous skilled process…”

Specialties: Cyber Security, Cloud Services, blockchain, big data, IoT, Managed Services, Business Continuity, BCP, Disaster Recovery, DRP, Virtualization, CMS, Workflow, Storage Management, Infrastructure, Information Security, IT Architecture, TOGAF, Satellite, Wireless, VoIP, Managed Services, Physical Security, Homeland Security, CCTV, Training, Security Awareness, Ethical Hacking, Security Monitoring, Forensics, Data Recovery

Muhammad Salman Anjum, Salman has been named a “Top 100 Blockchain Leader in World.” As a Founder and Chief Mate of InvoiceMate he is co-creating future of invoice financing with blockchain enabled invoice financing marketplace. Aiming to solve real world business issue of inefficient invoice processing and enabling businesses reach out to all important working capital finance.

A key influencer in the space of Enterprise Blockchain adaption, Salman has moderated events & presented keynotes at stages around the world including a talk at esteemed TEDx platform. He’s a Blockchain & FinTech specialist in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Faculty. A results-driven professional with over 20 years in corporate & entrepreneurial roles aligning People, Performance and Profit. He has been featured as success story in “Soul Beats @ UAE” the book published by Dubai Government. Pursuing his Doctorate degree, he is a CIPD Member and one of the pioneer Lead Auditors of ISO 29990:2010 for L&D operations.

Salman lives, plays and works in Dubai and on stages around the world committed to empower the human potential.

Walid Hanna, Founder, Chairman, and Co-CEO of MEVP Middle East Venture Partners, a $260M AUM VC firm focused on Tech investing in MENA, with offices in Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Riyadh, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Walid has been active in venture capital and new venture development for the past 20 years, successfully completed more than 50 VC investments in the past 10 years and several exits.

Walid has also co-founded, invested in, and led several startups in the MENA region, spanning a range of industries with a focus on technology. 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).

Fatma Elsafty, Founder and CEO of MetaEssence.

Fatma ElSafty, is an experienced blockchain business and technical lead with over 15 years of hands-on experience in many vital businesses and the capacity of enterprise and solutions architecture division and enterprise IT solutions implementation and management in different industries including telecommunications, Banking, insurance, education, healthcare and government services. Coming from engineering background; Fatma was able to provide innovative IT solutions supported by solid architectural design using the latest technologies and platforms in the market. Her experience in blockchain and cloud computing enabled her to harness the power of both technologies and work with startups and big companies alike to scale up and achieve sustainable growth. Fatma's main passion is to use her skillset to shape today's technology into innovative, sustainable solutions that simplify, secure, and streamline vital business transactions to bring a high return on investment combined with high customer satisfaction. Fatma is a passionate self-learner and very curious to explore and try new ideas and share her experience with others. Her frequent participation in international technology summits exposed her directly to the latest innovations from every corner of the globe and enabled her to align her solutions to the market needs while building valuable business connections with customers, partners, technology providers, and colleagues.

Sleem Hasan, Founder and CEO of Privity. AKA The Father of Startups. Experienced Owner with a demonstrated history of working in Venture Capital and the Japanese Capital Markets. Skilled in Investor Relations, Securities, Asset Management, Investment Advisory, and working with Technology Entrepreneurs. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Part III Mathematical Tripos from Cambridge University & M.A.(Hons) Mathematics from Oxford University.

Ahmed Refaie, Founder, CEO, and Global CIO at G.P.I. Global Partners Investments Limited, and DSRPTD Host.

A Financial Engineer, Investment Architect, Mathematician and Computer Engineer who turned into the entertainment industry at a very young age to run the concerts for the most famous singers and Djs from all over the world at the most sought after and international venues. Shifted tremendously to leading a military troop as a lieutenant in the Air Defense Forces fulfilling his service.

Switched to business and finance and started the second wave of his career as an equity portfolio and fund manager, and FX trader. Deeply experienced in the hedge fund industry. Ahmed instructs the CFA Charter levels 2 and 3 as well as teaching on different topics for banking and investment professionals and practitioners such as Technical Analysis & Trading, Asset Selection and Allocation, Alternative Investments, Cryptoassets, Tokenisation, Hedge Funds, Family Offices, and Risk Management. Also with extensive experience in the MICE Industry engaging in running, organising, and managing Tech VC conferences and events globally.

Refaie is a four time entrepreneur in 4 different sectors (Retail, FnB, Education, and Finance) across two regions (Middle East and Europe).

Refaie leads G.P.I. the London based asset allocator for sovereign wealth and MFO Fund of Funds Manager Selection, as well as FDI Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Agency for governments for G2G Startup Acceleration Programmes and PPP Public Private Partnerships Investor Relations and Communication.

Refaie runs, manages, and administrates the Tech VC Browser of the World where they host their very own annual DSRPTD Summit (The world's most untold and unspoken off happening in the VC world) which brings the DSRPTD MBA Course to life, with a lot of initiatives and activities such DSRPTD Expeditions (The Open Accelerator of the World), Web3 Master Course, in addition to a Media Powerhouse (behind the PR, Marketing, speakers, and investors at almost all major tech & VC events and conferences from LA to Tokyo) consisting of DSRPTD Blog, DSRPTD MAG, DSRPTD Reports, DSRPTD News, DSRPTD Radio, and DSRPTD TV (On Demand Streaming of the World's Top Tech Events). Also DSRPTD Press (PR Wire). In addition to branch activities such as (Deal listing and launchpad), and (Open and free databases of all the investors in the world).

Refaie holds a BEng in Computer Engineering, the PMT Professional Market Trader Certification, Cambridge International Diploma in Business majoring in Marketing and HRM, the European Business Competence Licence Level A, and a MSc in Financial Engineering.

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