Latest news: the nucleus diary

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The Nucleus 2017 is over!

The Nucleus may be over but the work isn’t, and the UK Lebanon Tech Hub will continue supporting the startups to help them achieve the goals set today.

Stay up to date for the next programme!

Week 12

Final Board Meetings

After 3 months of planning, pivoting, product building, and learning, the startups have made it to the

ultimate test: the third and final board meeting.

The seven startups are facing a board which includes our highest-level advisers and consultants:

Ramzi Haidamus – Innovation specialist, ex-president of Nokia Technologies

Caroline Isaac-Hamdan – Special Consultant

Elie Bou-Jaoude – Investment banker

Rawad Assaf – UKLTH CTO

Mario Ramadan – UKLTH Venture Services Lead

This meeting will assess their overall progress made during the 3 months of the programme, taking a

deep look into the gaps left, and setting clear roadmaps for the months ahead. 

The Nucleus may be over but the work isn’t, and the UK Lebanon Tech Hub will continue supporting the startups to help them achieve the goals set today with our startups. 

Week 11

Final Sprint

Pitching workshop - Orfeuo Linor

Orfeuo Lionor, our Growth-Hacker- In-Chief came back from the Netherlands to spend the whole week

with our startups. Together, they built pitch decks, pushed their pitching training, plan their growth

strategy, and more! This is their last sprint before the final board meeting, coming up next week,

marking the end of the programme.

CMO - Fouad Karam

Fouad Karam, Director of International Culture Marketing at Red Bull in Austria, sat with the 7

entrepreneurs and their marketing teams for the CMO clinics this week, finalizing their marketing plans

and setting customer acquisition goals for the months to come. On the programme: content marketing, storytelling, lead generation, social media and email marketing, and everything in between.

Week 10

Time to follow-up

CCO Clinics - Ed Capaldi

Ed Capaldi is back from London to assess the progress of the startups in The Nucleus. Today’s exercise? Develop team management and internal processes to create smoother user experiences, generate more sales, develop patentable systems, and add more value overall.

“The companies have really improved since the first session. They have a clearer vision of what they’re doing and are better organized, which makes our sessions more productive. We’re really making progress here.” Ed Capaldi, CCO

CFO Clinics - Elie Bou Jaoude

Elie Bou Jaoude is back to sit with the startups and follow up on their financial planning. The goal is to teach them how to plan their expenses to lengthen their runway, finding a variety of answers to the question ”How do I spend my cash to make the most out of it, and make it last as long as possible?”

Tech Talk: Operations Management

Eddy Abboud shared valuable insight on operations management from his 18-year-long experience in the field. We sat with him for a quick interview afterwards to bring you the most important lessons from his talk:

Week 9

Nearing the end 

Workshop on raising capital

Raising capital is one of the most important factors in a startups life, which is why this week, we were lucky enough to have MEVP's Elie Habib reveal the secrets of the trade. His mission: to give entrepreneurs the right advice to come into an investor meeting well equipped to make the most out of it.

CTO Clinics

Have you heard of the scrum methodology? It’s a software development methodology where products are developed feature by feature in short sprints. This week the CTO spent time measuring the impact of that effort on the startups' product development and the features delivered so far. 

—Ramzi Jreidini

CEO of Handiss

—Angela Solomon

CEO of Jaleesa

Week 8

This was intense!

Board Meetings

“The startups shared their progress and submitted their business plan to the board. The participants challenged their strategies and helped them set a clear course of action for the upcoming weeks. Based on the feedback from the Board, the startups will spend the next few weeks, improving their business plans and finalizing their products.”

Rawad Assaf – UKLTH CTO

Pitching Workshop

Rabih el Khodor, pitching specialist and public speaking trainer gave our startups a pitching workshop and spent the following two days working on their pitch deck, public speaking skills, and general presentations.

"The energy was great working with them for a full day on impactful communication and public speaking. We then delved into each specific pitch during one-on-one coaching clinics, where I was impressed by the drive and passion of each team for their projects." Rabih El Khodor

CXO Clinics

Jon Darke was at the Hub again to follow up on the startup's progress in product design, the practices they are using for best engagement of customers and user experience.

Introducing Lexium

LGALX is now Lexium with a brand new logo and visual identity. Stay tuned for their revamped website!

Week 7

The Calm Before the Storm

Board Preparations

The startups once again sat with our special consultant Caroline Isaac Hamdan to prepare for their upcoming board meetings. The second of three, this meeting will focus on highlighting their improvements and setting their priorities for the next 6 weeks. With the feedback from our experts, the companies are gearing themselves up to hit the market or expand their reach within the next two months.

CTO Clinics

The CTOs once again met with the startups’ developers to review their code and share their feedback. The goal is still to have an MVP or updated platform by September, a tight deadline all companies are working hard to meet.

Preliminary Market Research

The UKLTH team has been working non-stop to deliver preliminary market research to the startups in The Nucleus. This week, we have delivered the first reports to the founders, giving them insight on their potential clients, goals, spending habits, and more. Now they have to work on marketing strategy with support from the Tech Hub employees to come up with a plan before the second CMO clinic.

— Ahmad Freijeh 

Full-Stack Web Developer at Lexium

Week 6

First half of the Nucleus: done

Sales & Pricing : Chris Coleridge

Chris Coleridge from Cambridge Judge School, came to the Hub on Monday for 2 consecutive workshops on sales and pricing. He spent the day teaching our entrepreneurs how to set the right prices for their products and services, and an efficient sales strategy. He ended the day with a Tech Talk about the future of innovation and disruption. 

Here’s his own take on this intensive day.

Intellectual Property Tech Talk and Clinics

Orfeuo Lionor Came straight from the Netherlands to show our startups the secret of rapid, exponential growth without breaking the bank. That’s a skill he’s honed over 7+ years of getting products off the groups, winning no less than 19 hackathons and competition. 

“He’s an unconventional guy, and so is what he suggested. He really helped us come up with very creative, reachable, and low-budget ways of getting users. It was really different.” 

Ingrid Salloum - ImagineMe

CFO Clinics

Elie Bou Jaoude, equity investment advisor, is the Chief Financial Officer brought in to help startups follow best practices, put their finances in order and advise the startups on raising capital. They’re also learning how to best spend their budget in the current stage of their startups, making them leaner and more attractive to investors.

CTO Clinics

The Startups’ technical teams met with our CTOs again to follow-up on their product development roadmaps and set their goals for the end of the programme, ensuring they have at least an MVP by September.

— Angela Solomon, CEO - Jaleesa

Week 5

First month is over!

KPI Meetings

After a month of meetings, workshops, product analysis, and market research, the startups met with Venture Services Lead Mario Ramadan to set their KPIs that will be used to measure their success in the programme.

Intellectual Property Tech Talk and Clinics

Intellectual property (IP), one of the most underrated tool in an entrepreneur’s arsenal, was the subject of a two-hour talk and a two-day clinic with Alyafi IP Group’s Bahia Alyafi and Tina Hachem. 

The talk focused on teaching the startups the most important notions of IP and ease them into the topic, while the clinics were focused on studying the startups individual IP assets to set a path towards their protection.

— Rami Alame, CEO - Lexium

Week 4

Marketing Workshop

Jimmy Ghazal, Innovation Director of M&C Saatchi and the writer behind, came to give our finalists in The Nucleus a full-day workshop on marketing. From customer acquisition and retention to branding and social media, our entrepreneurs got a full view of what they needed to do to sell.

Marketing and UX

CXO Clinics

Jon Darke, Founder and Director of Every Interaction, one of London’s top UX agencies, spent two full days with our startups. In their sessions, he showed them how to refine and build their interface to make users want to interact with them, and how to create a pleasant experience throughout their different platforms.

Week 3

Meeting the Board

Board Meetings

After last week’s board preparations with our special consultant Caroline Isaac-Hamdan, The Nucleus finalists spent two days in board meetings facing members of the UKLTH: Mario Ramadan (Venture Servics Lead), Nadim Zaazaa (Country Director), and Rawad Assaf (CTO). At the board meetings the group checked on their progress, set their roadmap for the next two months, as well as their associated milestones.

This was the first of three Board Meetings for the startups, which are very important for them as they introduce them into the reality of what it’s like to deal with a real board of directors and to develop a vision for their companies.

Board Preparations

Our special consultant, Caroline Isaac-Hamdan, spent two days with the entrepreneurs to prepare them for theses board meeting, here’s her take on the meetings:

“We’ve had some interesting discussions across a very broad spectrum of topics. Speaking with the companies, it’s been incredibly interesting seeing the products they’ve been developing and the kind of people they are. The biggest area of improvement has been in their preparation. They’re doing too much too late. They should be thinking about what they want out of it, out of me, out of the board so that we can help them make the most out of it.”

Week 2

Laying the foundation

Workshops: Finance and HR

Kafalat CFO Pierre Madani came to the Hub for an exclusive workshop on finance and cash flow management, covering these topics from their most basic aspects to their finest details.

The UK Lebanon Tech Hub’s Head of Corporate Services Farah Jaroudi also trained the companies on the arts of talent acquisition and retention, corporate culture building, incentives and rewards.

Tech Talk #2: 

Human Resources Panel

On Thursday evening, we gathered a panel of experts in human resources management comprised of:

Fadi Sabbagha, Founder, CEO at Born Interactive and EasyCat Ltd.
Fares Kobeissi, Chairman and CEO of Bluering s.a.l.
Nahed Khairallah, Founder and CEO of DynamicRercuit
Marc Salem, Co-Founder of Elementn

Over the 2-hour discussion, these experts gave a lot of insight into their practices, highlighting the following points:
Company culture: It’s what matters most. If you don’t develop a culture proper to your company, you can’t find employees to fit it.
Employee value proposition (EVP): Hire for based on how well they fit your company culture and how passionate they are, and don’t worry too much about the skill, train them for it.
The importance of appraisals: Each company has a different appraisal system, what matters is that it is in line with both the company’s objective and the employees’, creating a win-win situation.

The Nucleus’ First Podcast

Following our first Tech Talk with Bilal Tayara as we sat with him to pick his brains and deliver key insights on how and why you should code collaboratively. Check it out, it contains valuable and actionable lessons for any CTO and tech CEO.

Each one of the 7 companies met with our CTO and in-house technical team to map out their needs, the gaps in their platforms, and the best roadmaps possible for their product development. 

In their race against the clock, the startups’ first deliverable is a prioritized and executable features backlog.

Week 1

Tech Talk 1: 

A recipe for effective software development

We hosted our first Tech Talk of this cycle with an incredible attendance of a total of over 40 participants including current startups in our programme, alumni, and members of the MenaDevs community. The Talk, delivered by Murex’s Bilal Al Tayara, tackled a series of best practices to write clean and editable code, helping teams develop faster and more functional products.

First steps into the nucleus

After a month and a half of recruitment, where we received over 176 applications and interviewed 99 startups and budding entrepreneurs, we narrowed it down to 20 potential companies.

These 20 companies went through our 1-week product development workshop and we have just selected the final 7 companies that will undergo our 3-month acceleration programme.

The results were announced on the occasion of a special event on the rooftop of BDD in the presence of H.E. Nicolas Sehnaoui, HMA Hugo Shorter, Mrs. Marianne Howayek and a floor of distinguished guests.

A keynote speech was given by Emma Sinclair, MBE, co-founder of EnterpriseJungle. 

CTO Clinics

Launching the nucleus

Meet the 7 selected companies:


A predictive maintenance algorithm that monitors battery performance in real-time whilst providing predictive key metrics.


A platform that centralizes freelancing in the construction market for independent engineers and architects.


An online publishing company that uses AR to create personalized children's book where the children become the star of their own stories.


Jaleesa is a tech-driven startup that connects families with a trusted child carer.


An online platform that enables access to legal answers and services using artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to increase efficiency.


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