RiseUp Summit 2018: Everything you need to know

RiseUp Summit, one of the leading technology and startup conferences of the region, that takes place in Cairo every year is coming back with its sixth edition next month.

Last year, the summit was attended by over 5,000 people from 41 different countries including Bahrain, Germany, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Tunisia, and United States.  It had brought over 250 startups who had the chance to meet with about 200 investors at the event. There event featured talks, panels and workshops, that were delivered by over 250 speakers.

And it is expected to be even bigger this year.

Just like last year, we’re putting together this quick guide to help you learn everything about the RiseUp 2018.


For anyone who is interested in startups, technology or entrepreneurship in the Middle East & North Africa. So if you’re a part of MENA’s startup community in any way or if you’re interested in MENA-based startups regardless of where you are, it’s one of the best events you could attend in the region.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Try asking around and this is what you’ll hear from the people who’ve been to RiseUp. If you’re a part of Egypt’s startup community, attending this summit is a no-brainer. Same goes for the under-grad students in Egypt who want to build their career in tech.

Official language of the program is English.


This is one of the most important pieces of information for those of you who are not from Cairo and attending the event for the first time.

It is divided between two venues – The Greek Campus and American University of Cairo. Both are in Downtown Cairo but they’re five minutes of walk from each other. And whenever you enter any of these venues, you have to go through a little security check. So it could easily take you ten minutes to walk from the main stage in The Greek Campus to AUC and vice versa.

And that’s why you should try and plan everything in advance esp. the sessions you want to attend – will help you a great deal.

If you need invitation letter for a visa, you can send an email after you buy the ticket to


December 7 to 9 (Friday to Sunday).

P.S. This is one of the good parts about it. It’s on a weekend and the weather in Cairo is usually pleasant around December.


The regular tickets are priced at 750 EGP ($42) and will be available until December 1. After that you’ll only be able to buy the late tickets which will cost 1500 EGP ($84).

Groups of three or more can get 20% discount on the regular tickets if they purchase them together.

The students enrolled in high school or a university will be able to buy their tickets for 375 EGP ($17) but will have to present their student ID at the time of purchase.

These tickets give attendees access to stage program, talks, panels, fireside chats, opening/closing parties, attendee database, satellite events, pitch competition, coworking areas, and ability to reserve workshop spots.

Investor tickets are priced at 5000 EGP (~$280) and offer investors with everything a regular ticket does, plus priority access to workshops, access to investors’ lounge, complimentary catering at the summit, invitation to investors dinner, invitation to speakers & partners dinner, invitation to HIPOs dinner, invitation to closing after-party, access to summit startups database, priority access to satellite events.

You can buy the tickets here.


The theme of RiseUp 2018 is Grounded Experiences. In their own words, Grounded Experiences is “about being in tune with the needs, obstacles, and opportunities within our reach. It is about shooting for the stars while remaining realistically ground-headed and rooted within our new own locales, networks, and communities.” Just like last year, the summit will have the following three tracks:

Creative, that will cover, Film, Design, Marketing, Branding, Fashion, Writing and Content Creation, Gaming, Heritage and Cultural Capital, Design Thinking, UI/UX.

Tech, which will be about, AI & Big Data, Coding, Cloud Services, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Cybersecurity, Robotics, AR & VR, Tech industries like AgriTech, Assistive Tech, EdTech, FinTech, MedTech/Health Tech, Creating human-centric products, Including engineers in product design, Future of work, Digital skills gap.

, that will discuss, Know-hows of investment, Economics of venture capital, Boot-strapping, Valuation, Debt financing, Equity financing, Scalability, Future prospect evaluation, Raising capital through alternatives, Funding through technology (ICOs, Fintech, etc.)


Organizers are still in the process of finalizing the speakers for the three-day event but they already have some of the leading names of the region including IFC’s Issa Aghabi, all the three Managing Partners of Algebra Ventures including Ziad Mokhtar, Tarek Assaad, and Karim Hussein, Rashid Sultan from Savour Ventures, and many more.


Startup Station will exhibit 150 startups from the region during the summit, with each one of them getting one day to display their products and services. Most of the startups that were part of Startup Station last year were the local but there were some that had flown from UAE and other countries of the region to participate.


The pitch competition will see 50 shortlisted pre-seed startups compete against each other. Every startup will be given 5 minutes to pitch their products and services. Last year, prizes included cash prizes, investments, trips to startup hubs, and more. The organizers will be making announcements with details of the prizes in coming days. Last year the competition was won by Egypt’s Nawah Scientific and with that they had also landed a $50,000 investment from 500 Startups.


The event will showcase 16 regional startups that have been as having HIgh POtential growth. These startups will be be post-seed, built around a disruptive business idea, innovative and known to the market. It is not clear how RiseUp eventually selects the final sixteen but they had some pretty big names with them last year including Vezeeta, Fetchr, Bayzat, Instabug, and Mumzworld.


RiseUp Summit, certainly, is the best startup event in the region if you’re looking for diversified attendance, as it attracts people from all around the world. Majority of the attendees are (understandably) local though.

The event offers a lot of networking opportunities but you must plan everything in advance as it gets a bit difficult to organize things on the spot, because of two venues.

One of the problems last year was that RiseUp had launched their app very late, probably on the first day of event. That doesn’t really help with the planning part but we hope that won’t be the case this time. It should be launched at least 3-4 days before the event starts so people have enough time to go through the list of attendees and plan their meetings.

Apart from the regular networking events, the summit will also feature some exclusives, which are invite-only, including a dinner where the twenty selected high potential startups (HIPOs) will meet some of the top investors from the region and beyond, and another dinner for speakers and partners.


There are no details available on the website about the workshops at the time of writing but the event will feature them on different topics. We’ll share updates about them when we learn more from RiseUp’s team.


The launchpad at RiseUp Summit will offer different stakeholders of the ecosystem an opportunity to make their big announcements. The summit will partner with one of the online digital publications to publish news around announcements made at Launchpad. All the announcements will also be reflected on the digital screens at the event venues.

Launchpad could be used to announce used to announce a new product, a fund, an investment, a partnership, opportunities, mergers & acquisitions, or any other big story. RiseUp’s team will share the details on how to apply for Launchpad very soon.

Talent Matchmaking (by Wuzzuf)

The summit will also feature a talent matchmaking event that is powered by Wuzzuf. The event will enable professionals from different background to meet founders of some of Egypt’s most promising startups and see if they could potentially work together. It will also connect founders of early-stage startups with potential co-founders or employees.

So if you’re someone who wants to work for a startup in Egypt or if you’re a startup that is looking to hire talent in Egypt, this event could be of great help.

It will take place on second day of the summit, December 8, Saturday. The event will most probably require attendees to pre-register but there are no details available on RiseUp’s website at the moment.


Some of RiseUp’s partners will be organizing their own events before, during and after the summit all across the region. These independent events will be in form of talks, seminars, tours and trips, and parties. RiseUp has not shared any further details about these events yet as it is still in the process of partnering with different players from the ecosystem.


The summit will also feature parties and jamming sessions. RiseUp’s team has not shared any details apart from saying that attendees can expect some of the most talented artists of MENA on-stage during the event.

That’s pretty much it. See you in Cairo!

Update: A previous version of the article had few missing/incorrect details about the pitch competition, HIPOs, and group tickets. All those errors have been fixed in this revision. 

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