Several mentors are joining us for our Summer 2015 Pre-investment Bootcamp. Read about them below!

Maria Pikoula

Maria studied Chemical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and then moved on pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford. Although her thesis topic focused on computational biochemistry, she has since moved on to data science with a particular interest in evidence-driven social research and policy making. Maria currently works for the Research Team at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. Their main objective is to collect and process the data (mainly financial) on the whole of the UK Civil Society and to publish our research findings for policy makers in government and the voluntary sector, as well the wider public.

Juan Bermudez

Juan Bermudez, CTO

Juan is technical Co-Founder of and serves as the Director of Technology for He has been marketing technologist for over for over 8 years, working with award wining digital agencies in the US Hispanic and Latam market.Since 2011 Juan has lead the product development of cloud based hospitality solutions leveraging backend as a service providers like Facebook’s and cross platform development tools to minimize cost and time to market. His B2B software for nightlife operators is used at some of the top venues in the world and has managed VIP services for music festivals like Tomorroworld and SMF.


Lauren Peate

Lauren was interim COO of Jamalon, a startup in Jordan that sells Arabic and English books online. Her current work focuses on barriers to female startup founders in the Middle East. Previously, she was a consultant with Bain & Co. in San Francisco for several years and did work in Morocco to provide job training to female survivors of violence and research how economic access impacted their lives. Lauren is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s in Economics and minors in Arabic and Human Biology.

Nicola Dalmazzo

Senior Industry Manager Local – Middle East & North Africa- Google

Nicola graduated in Bocconi University in 2006 with a CEMS MIM Master and, after working in Toyota and L’Oreal, he joined Google 5 years ago. After 2 years in Paris office, working with international clients like OLX and  Schibsted, he joined Dubai office in 2013 to support Emirates Airlines’s digital campaigns globally.  Since January 2014 Nicola leads the Local Ecommerce vertical across MENA, managing the relationship with leading regional companies such as Dubizzle, Avito, Bayt, Propertyfinder, Foodonclick etc. After working for 4 years in marketing and 5 years in Google, Nicola developed a deep understanding of media and digital and he helped several startups and large corporations, local and international clients to achieve their marketing and business objectives across several markets.

Bilal Memon

Joining remotely: Bilal is the Founder & CEO of Qur’an Academy, the world’s first smart Qur’an memorization & revision application. He memorized the entire Qur’an at the age of 11 and is super passionate about helping the Common Muslim memorize/revise the Qur’an more effectively. Qur’an Academy was also part of Generation 11 of Startup Chile, an accelerator based in Santiago, Chile. Bilal was also a former Associate at TechStars, a seed-stage startup accelerator based in the US and prior to that, he worked at the Lean Startup Machine. Previously, he was also the Founder & CEO of MyLifeIsDesi, a content sharing platform for people of South Asian descent to share things of interest. Finally, Bilal graduated from NYU Stern School of Business with a Bachelor’s in Finance & International Business.

Ted McCarthy

Ted is a research and design consultant at ThoughtWorks, where he regularly works with clients to introduce UX, agile, and other ‘innovation’ methodologies into their regular work processes. He’s worked with a number of clients – large and small, for-profit and non-, and in the domains of retail, health, tech, and national advocacy – and enjoys the unique challenges and opportunities at each. Before joining ThoughtWorks, Ted spent four years in academia conducting research at the intersection of data, technology, and health, crisis response, and international development. He has independently consulted, presented work, and published research on a number of topics in mobile health, social media and crisis response, and screen reader adoption and use in a variety of settings. Prior to academia, Ted spent time living and working in Ankara, Turkey, and has traveled extensively in the Middle East and North Africa.

Bassil Mikdadi

Bassil Mikdadi currently works at Google helping grow the AdWords ecosystem at the SMB level in the MENA region. He has broad experience working with a range of private and public sector ventures and spent time working on Capitol Hill along with a stint at Ernst & Young and Al-Jazeera English.  Before joining Google, Bassil was a Communications Officer for HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.  Bassil holds a Bachelors degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration from Virginia Tech. Note: Bassil has not yet received a permit to enter Gaza and therefore will not be joining us for this bootcamp. We hope to bring him soon, and in the meantime, he can help teams remotely!