How Arab Women Are Making Waves In Tech

Arab-Americans have been instrumental in achieving technology‘s most significant potential, bringing about positive changes for America and the Arab World.

But, they can also be exhausted, as with many other hyphenated x-Americans. Their ability to accommodate two worlds can be frustrating, mainly because perceptions feed us a negative news article providing us with a ‘them’ mentality versus us’ mentality.

A startup’s ability to raise capital from investors can be difficult. This is especially true for non-binary Arab founders and North African entrepreneurs.

Many Arab founders found themselves in a difficult position after 9/11. They had to fight for recognition outside of the stereotypical Hollywood tropes. But what mainstream media doesn’t mention is that Arabs make up at least 3.4% of the U.S. total patents, but only.3%.

The trend must continue growing as Generation Z continues to be more progressive in its views on race relations and the Middle East. Deena Shakir, an Iraqi-American, was recently the round leader for the First Women’s Health Unicorn in the United States.

Today, prominent investors are turning their attention to the Middle East. This includes venture capital as an asset class with high potential, either funds or startups.

Global Ventures stands out as an example. General Partner Noor Swaid founded the Dubai-based international venture fund firm. It builds bridges between emerging markets all over the world. Noor is a “third-culture individual” and realized that her diverse perspectives allow her to be a connector and act as a bridge between various parts of the globe. She hopes to encourage diversity and inclusion through venture capital.

Global Ventures co-leads rounds today with some of the most respected capital allocators around the globe, such as Tiger Global. The pool also includes international investors such as General Atlantic.

The firm is closing its second fund shortly. It has supported 44 Series A companies. Of these, more than 30% are headed by women founders. Global Ventures promotes female inclusion in all aspects, from founders to funds and even L.P.s. This track record encourages a change in the region’s male-centric venture capital industry.

Noor supports women in venture capital because she believes diversity is essential to the success of any organization. She believes in the importance of diversity in thought, outlook, and perspective to enrich decision-making and create value.

Canaan Ventures – Egyptian American Mahai Ibrahim, the first investor at TheRealReal, was recently part of the competitive series A for Buzzer.

Take Emna Gharana. A Tunisian immigrant was left behind twice before she turned 11. Her journey to entrepreneurship was a constant pursuit of education, immigrant, and building her first venture, veamly. This is a workstation app that lets users quickly manage their conversations. Amira Yahyaoui from Tunisia, an entrepreneur, blogger, and activist, faced similar problems. Amira Yahyaoui was kicked from her home country when she was 18 years old for her activism. Steph Curry at Sequoia is on her long list of prominent investors.

Undoubtedly, tech entrepreneurs from the Middle East are making waves in America and abroad. The Sudanese American co-founder of Incredible Health, Iman Abdul, addressed America’s massive healthcare crisis by drawing on her overseas experience treating blindness as a physician.

Two Arab-American women have made a significant impact on the aging space. Celine Halioui (Moroccan-American founder) of loyal is currently developing drugs that extend the life span of dogs. Her vision also includes human use. She raised the most significant single-woman founder seed round.

Hanadie Yoursefi uses human embryonic stem cells to find restorative remedies. As a postdoctoral researcher, co-founder, and C.E.O. at Juvena, Hanadie Yousefi has established a venture-backed startup in biopharma that uses protein-based therapeutics for tissue regeneration.

It isn’t accessible to mentor Middle Eastern founders despite their success. May Habib, co-founder and C.E.O. Writer can attest to the importance and power of solid mentorship. Parts of her success are due to the remarkable network she established early.

Arab-American women are beginning to create more content, shedding light on these stories. Rana El Kaliouby has echoed one of these stories about Arab women in tech. She is a founder, single mom, and author of Girl Decoded. It’s a representation of her career humanizing Emotional A.I. technology.

Dena Takuri, a Palestinian American journalist and producer for AJ+, leads a new American news media. This is a pioneering edge. It presents news from overseas with the care that U.S. Media outlets have neglected for decades.

Hebah Fisher, a Seattle native, is co-founder and C.E.O. of award-winning podcast kernel Cultures. 

Layla Shaikley’s podcast, Muslims Trying Things, contributes to this narrative shift. She landed in the top 10 podcasts on Spotify. The skateboarding mom of two is trying to redefine what it means “Muslim” and how an Islamic identity could exist in perfect harmony with an entrepreneurial one.

Recognition and community are crucial to assist future scientists and entrepreneurs in building the future.

Salma Elbarmawi from Egypt, an American who is a STEM graduate in the Middle East (MENA) region, stated that “unlike in the U.S.A., more than 50% are women in STEM.” “They can help global engineering teams reach gender equality.” Salma heads marketing at Localized. This career platform connects business and tech graduates from emerging markets to global employers.

Many of the stories of Middle Eastern founders, many of whom have traveled a more challenging road towards their success, offer a lot of inspiration. More foreign investors will support these entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and the MENA area.

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Adam Collins
Adam writes about technology, business and economics. With master's degree in Economics, he's presented six papers in international conferences. As a solivagant in the constant state of fernweh, curiosity is the main weapon in his arsenal.

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