Log in
<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 25 Nov 2020 4:21 AM | Anonymous
    “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

    The learning curve has a beginning but not an end. Investing in young talent has a great impact on a nation because the future depends on the youth, especially in a country like Lebanon. To help Lebanese students gain global knowledge and prepare them for the labor market, Maroun Semaan’s Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) at The American University of Beirut (AUB) partnered with LebNet to give engineering graduates the rare opportunity to work with US-based companies for their final year projects (FYPs) and course projects.

    Four teams from AUB worked with two companies in the US: Asurion (a device insurance, warranty, and support services provider for cell phones, consumer electronics, and home appliances) and FADEL (the creator of rights and royalty management software).

    In 2019 and 2020, each of the four teams either worked on an FYP or a course project, closely collaborating with mentors from FADEL and Asurion.

    Projects at a Glance 

    Expert Helper (FYP)

    Students: Sara Hammoud, Aya Eido, and Dana Daoud
    Company: Asurion
    Mentors: Peng Xie and Sundar Kuppuswamy

    In collaboration with LebNet, four teams from Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at AUB worked on course and final year projects with US-based companies Asurion and Fadel.

    The Work:

    The AUB team prepared and curated a data set of tech support sessions from Asurion into a category of replies. They then selected categories of these sets and automated initial replies to them using natural language processing techniques mixed with expert knowledge.

    The Experience:

    “The collaboration went very well. Our goal was to make sure that students worked on a problem that interests them and has a potential value for Asurion and to ensure the team learned from a tech standpoint how to implement new algorithms and solve problems at hand while getting a sense of data in the real world,” said Sundar Kuppuswamy.

    “My experience with the students was good. The students were very curious and motivated, did a great job exploring the original data set, and came up with multiple ideas.

    I would be happy to repeat the exercise next year between AUB and the team at Asurion,” added Peng Xie.

    “The last academic year was definitely not easy.

    Our team had to adapt to many challenges and work hard to be able to deliver what we promised, all while taking care of our well-being and mental health.

    “The last academic year was definitely not easy.

    Our team had to adapt to many challenges and work hard to be able to deliver what we promised, all while taking care of our well-being and mental health.

    If it weren’t for my teammates and the culture we established that is based on openness, optimism, and trust, we would not have been able to submit the requirements, let alone be nominated for the Murex Best Innovative Software Development Award and present our work to Asurion’s Chief Analytics Officer, Faker Zouaoui,” revealed Sara Hammoud.

    Aya Eido, Sara Hammoud, and Dana Daoud

    Emerging Problems (Natural Language Processing NLP Course Project)

     Students: Julia Zini and Issa Issa
    Company: Asurion
    Mentor: Peng Xie and Sundar Kuppuswamy

    The Work:

    The AUB team helped Asurion’s tech support team figure out whether a novel tech problem is emerging on social media (Twitter). And for novel emerging problems, it also helps determine if the problem is related to tech support or generic news events.

    The Experience:

    “Working with industries on a course project gives you a different perspective, because usually most of the university projects are research-oriented and not backed by delivery. It was especially interesting for me and Julia because we had to deliver a well-packaged product and the insights from Asurion and feedback were rewarding,” commented Issa Issa.

    Julia Zini and Issa Issa

    Extracting Insights (NLP course project)

    Students: Mohamad Mansour, Fouad Khnaiser and Bassel Musharrafieh
    Company: Simplr
    Mentor: Harsh Tomar and Sundar Kuppuswamy

    The Work:

    The AUB team focused on extracting phrases of trends from collection of text data (emails) allowing the Customer Experience team to quickly identify and mitigate issues. The project was hosted by a startup incubated by Asurion, which had different IP regulations. This prohibited Asurion from sharing the data as they discovered they required different NDAs. Despite this, the team worked on a methodology to extract information from public data similar to what Asurion might have. The results were impressive enough to be accepted as a possible solution. It was a learning curve for the team because they had to apply NLP techniques to an industry-level problem and deal with real-data. 

    The Experience: 

    “The industry project provided a great opportunity for the students to experiment with real business problems. Where in an academic problem, students try to solve problems to get to the right answer via the right methods, in business problems, there sometimes isn’t a right answer, and oftentimes no “right method”.
    The students broke the problem down into smaller pieces and attacked each piece sequentially with the easiest methods to get the outcomes. At each step, new problems emerged and so did several different ideas to solve them. Key steps from the students’ implementation of phrase extraction ended up being utilized in the working of the ‘Extract Insights’ project of Simplr.” – said Harsh Tomar.

    Image Match (FYP)

    Students: Hadi Ahmad, Hafez Jawhary, and Samir Saidi
    Company: FADEL
    Mentors: Rony Eid and Ziad Bassil

    Image Match (FYP)

    Students: Hadi Ahmad, Hafez Jawhary, and Samir Saidi
    Company: FADEL
    Mentors: Rony Eid and Ziad Bassil

    The Work:

    Specialized in copyright and digital rights management, FADEL’s goal is to ensure that the digital content its clients use does not violate any copyright laws. Hence, the AUB team was tasked with improving matching performance. Walid Daccache, FADEL’s CTO, explained that with the help of FADEL mentors, who met with students on a weekly basis, the team implemented a different algorithm that outperforms FADEL’s algorithm while being compatible with the rest of their system.

    The Experience:

    “My colleagues and I agreed with FADEL to extend this project beyond the course’s frame. The complexity and time requirements of our assignment ensued this mutual understanding over the project’s time management. The new image detection model is substantially accurate for large datasets, while still maintaining adequate performance,” shared Samir Saidi. “We were glad to work with the AUB faculty members and their bright students on finding solutions to challenging problems in image processing. We feel that the collaboration and knowledge exchange between FADEL engineers and the AUB FYP team added value to all parties who participated in the project,” said Daccache.

    “Though the final solution required some refinement in terms of accuracy and performance but still Samir Saidi, one member of the team, continued to work on it within his internship with the company and that added additional plus points to the solution towards its feasibility to be integrated within our product. Eventually the collaboration yielded good results on which we can build further to reach more successes,” said Rony

    For the Future

    Lebanon is suffering from many crises and significant challenges are facing the education sector and students. But such collaborations bring hope for a better generation and future. 

    Featured Image via Pexels 

    Hadi Ahmad, Hafez Jawhary, and Samir Saidi

  • 20 Sep 2019 3:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    LebNet’s flagship program Ignite will kick off officially on Oct 14, 2019 and welcomes four new Lebanese startups from Lebanon’s startup accelerator Speed, to be part of its seventh cohort. 

    This session will be a 5-week Silicon Valley bootcamp  powered by Draper University in San Mateo, California. These five weeks in the Bay Area will cover a wide range of topics: building a company, Go-To-Market, selling,  learning to decipher term sheets, leveraging mentors and advisors, pitching and much more.

    “Although some of the areas covered in this program are familiar topics available in many programs around the world, there is no substitute to being directly exposed to the Silicon Valley ecosystem of trainers, mentors, and investors,” said George Akiki, LebNet CEO. “LebNet is building on learnings accumulated during our previous 6 cohorts and are proud to bring this new and improved version to light in partnership with Speed & Draper University.”

    The Draper portion of the Ignite program is as follows:

    • Week 1: How to build a 10-year company
    • Week 2: Marketing, Sales and GTM (Go-To-Market) strategy
    • Week 3: Survival week with Tim Draper. Survival training out in nature accompanied by navy seals. Team building activities and access to Tim.
    • Week 4: Legal, term sheets, immigration help, etc.
    • Week 5: Demo day and preparation

    In addition, LebNet will offers a stack of services consisting of the following layers:

    Getting-to-know-you Breakfast:
    A power session held with a LebNet member to discuss the startup’s future plans and an introduction to the region. 

    Walk with a Coach:
    A long walk along one of California’s scenic trails with an executive level member to provide coaching and guidance. 

    Brainstorming Dinner:
    Startups will be matched over a dinner table with 4-5 LebNet members who will tackle and debate with them Value Propositions, Go-To-Market Strategies,  and provide collective and individual feedback.

    Ad-hoc meetings:
    These ad-hoc meetings with potential LebNet members will be designed to address a specific need of a startup that some members might be able to help with. 

    Additional Company Visits:

    When appropriate, startups will visit LebNet members’ company offices. 

    “LebNet Ignite has been instrumental in helping our startups see the bigger picture and think global. The program fast-tracked the entrepreneurs into their next major milestone, whether it was a pivot, a fundraising event, or even a complete shutdown. The Silicon Valley experience is unique and LebNet’s mentors and their dedication made it extremely valuable,” said Sami Abou Saab, CEO of Speed. “We have seen in many cases the relationships that were built during the immersion program evolve and keep going over the years, accompanying the startups in their journey. This is the first time we  exceptionally send 4 founders and 4 startups and it is only a clear sign of how Speed evolved part of this experience to deliver best in class startups and how LebNet Ignite influenced that evolution.”

    Announcing the 4 shortlisted startups

    Four startups from Speed’s 6th batch will fly to California to benefit from the 5-week program.   

    Lemonade Fashion: A platform that allows fashion forward individuals to shop a wide variety of premium designer collections under one platform, customize them and have them made-to-measure to fit them perfectly, all from the comfort of their homes and at very attractive pricing.

    Oreyeon: A startup building solutions for the aviation industry, enabling operations and safety optimization.

    Scriptofilm: An interactive platform that links scriptwriters and filmmakers to investors, producers and distributors.

    Xilia: A platform connecting creative and digital agencies and freelancers to their clients in order to facilitate communication, accelerate the working process, and provide the management with advanced business intelligence tools.

    About Draper University 

    Draper University is the leading program in Silicon Valley for building founders. Their innovative, immersive Residential Programs in Entrepreneurship offer: essential startup skills, exposure to industry experts, a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, & mentorship from experienced venture capitalists (VCs).

    Over 300 companies have graduated from Draper University and have raised more than $250 million. Draper University has also started their own fund where they put in 50 to 100K tickets that they invest in startups that go through their program.

    About Speed

    Speed is a tech accelerator based out of the Beirut Digital District that empowers software startups to succeed and scale globally through a 3-month mentorship-driven program, $30,000 in funding, and a lifelong network of mentors and partners.

  • 10 May 2019 4:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 8th, 2019 – Beirut, Lebanon: LebNet and the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), signed a Memorandum of Understanding at AUB’s faculty to announce the launch of a joint initiative called [email protected]

    The initiative was signed by George Akiki, LebNet’s co-founder and CEO, and Dr. Alan Shihadeh, the Dean of MSFEA. Both parties signed the MoU in the presence of faculty members.

    [email protected] aims at leveraging the expertise of LebNet’s members in North America to support college students in Lebanon through several tracks: advisory, internship opportunities, talks and seminars, entrepreneurship support and mentorship, collaboration on Final Year Projects (FYP) and research with industry.

    AUB students will have access to LebNet’s existing internship program. Under the Silicon Valley Channel track, both AUB and non-AUB students will be able to join a series of talks and seminars delivered by LebNet members to share knowledge and expertise on various topics of interest.  

    LebNet will also provide problems in search of a solution for senior students to adopt as their Final Year Projects and furthermore, LebNet members will define industry relevant research projects for graduate students and faculty members. LebNet will be represented at the MSFEA International Advisory board.

    Under the Entrepreneurship Program at MSFEA track, LebNet members will act as a brain trust by providing coaching, mentoring and advising.  

    “Our network of over 1,000 members in the US and Canada is always looking for impactful and results-oriented opportunities to give back to Lebanon. We felt that AUB’s vision and MSFEA’s plans were inline with how we wanted to make an impact and we were very encouraged by Dean Shihadeh’s energy and detailed follow-up which increases our chances of success in adding value to Lebanese students,” said Akiki.

    “I was looking back in my notebook this morning. I had a meeting with George in a restaurant on February 26, where we cooked up on the back of a napkin this initiative. The project we were working on was to see how we can leverage the Lebanese talent in the technology sector in North America to make a difference here at AUB and create two-way opportunities,” said Shihadeh.

    About MSFEA

    ​​​​The Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) was named in January 2017 for alumnus, trustee, entrepreneur, investor, business leader, and philanthropist Maroun Semaan. Engineering education at AUB, however, dates back more than a hundred years to 1913 when the Faculty of Arts and Sciences introduced a program leading to a BS degree in engineering. AUB awarded the first engineering degree (BS in civil engineering) in 1944. The faculty is now AUB’s second largest with over 2,300 undergraduates, 350 master’s students, almost 100 doctoral students; and over 175 instructional faculty. In 2017, Dean Alan Shihadeh and his colleagues began to introduce changes to make MSFEA a catalyst for transformative change that embraces innovation, pedagogy, and knowledge production to promote human well-being.

    About LebNet

    LebNet is a network for tech professionals of Lebanese descent in North America. This premier Diaspora group is a US registered 501c3 non-profit organization launched in 1999 in Silicon Valley, California. Today LebNet has more than 1,000 members organized by communities in 10 cities across US and Canada and dedicated to enable tech entrepreneurs and professionals succeed on a global stage. It includes Fortune 500 managers and executives, CxO’s, Venture Capitalists and investors, Start-up founders and entrepreneurs, academics, consultants and small business owners. LebNet programs focus on education, mentoring, and internships promoting career advice and feedback on business plans including a flagship program LebNet Ignite, a 2-week residential accelerator boot camp in Silicon Valley for Lebanese startup founders. In pursuing its mission to Connect, Network and Nurture, LebNet hosts regular talks, meetups and sessions in the US and Canada and seeks to empower the Lebanese diaspora while giving back to Lebanese entrepreneurs, youth and professionals in Lebanon.

  • 13 Feb 2019 4:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A merger was finalized on February 13 between LebNet, a US based non-profit organization and the Lebanese Canadian Tech Hub (LCTechHub), a Canada based non-profit organization. Both North American groups are dedicated to enable tech entrepreneurs and professionals of Lebanese descent to succeed on a global stage. This merger follows hard on the heels of a strong partnership between these two groups reflected in common events and mentoring activities. The new organization will adopt LebNet’s online presence and its new logo which was unveiled on October 2018.

    The new LebNet will have a membership exceeding 1,000 tech professionals and will be better positioned to accelerate the implementation of the LebNet 2.0 plan of expanding communities in the US and Canada, while developing more programs and events to serve its constituents. The programs will include mentoring, internships, coaching, and job referrals to name a few. In addition, LebNet will harness a larger knowledge base and professional expertise to strengthen Lebanon’s tech bridge to North America: paying it forward remains a priority.

    “This merger brings together two organizations with similar goals and aspirations operating in complementary regions” said Fadi Joseph, LCTechHub President. “This will allow us to connect our members in the fast growing Canadian tech sector to their counterparts in US cities. We are very excited to expand the professional reach of Lebanese Canadians from tech focused cities like Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.” Fadi Joseph, along with Raymond Lahoud and Frederick Wardini from LCTechHub, will be joining LebNet’s board of directors.

    “This just feels right and is long overdue,” said Abdo George Kadifa, LebNet Chairman. “The new organization will better support our members everywhere in North America and more importantly, present a unified front to our stakeholders in the Lebanese entrepreneurship ecosystem; it’s a win-win all around.”

    This merger coincides with the establishment of a new role of CEO for LebNet as of January 1, 2019 which will be filled by George Akiki, previous President and co-founder.

  • 24 Oct 2018 2:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    LebNet is thrilled to announce its hypergrowth plan, LebNet 2.0.

    This means more locations to cover, more programs, more members, more connections and more giving back.

    To deliver on this plan, we will need your support in our upcoming fundraising campaign which will enable us to hire the proper staff for growth. The below infographic depicts our 2020 targets and explains how we will get to the next level.

  • 18 Oct 2018 5:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    After winning $50,000 during the fifth demo day from Lebanese accelerator [email protected] in March 2018, diabetes startup Spike strikes again, and this time during GITEX’s Future Stars’ Supernova Challenge, taking home $100,000.

    GITEX is an annual consumer, computer and electronics trade exhibition, and conference that takes place in Dubai. 24 startups from around the world pitched and competed for the first title, which was won by Spike, a mobile assistant that helps diabetics track their glucose level and manage their diabetes.

    Spike was launched by Ziad Alame in 2017. Through its mobile assistant, it monitors the patient’s regular behaviour, sends reminders about insulin shots, activity and food. The data received by the app get stored for further analysis or for sharing with doctors and caregivers.

    Shortly after winning the [email protected] demo day, CEO Sami Abou Saab announced that the startup, along with coding academy TeensWhoCode, won a fully sponsored trip to attend LebNet Ignite, a two-week accelerator program  in Silicon Valley.

    Congrats to team and we look forward to hearing more positive news from them.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

LebNet, a non-profit organization, serves as a multi-faceted platform for Lebanese professionals residing in the US and Canada, entrepreneurs, investors, business partners in a broad technology eco-system, and acts as a bridge to their counterparts in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East


205 De Anza Blvd., #315, San Mateo, CA 94402, USA. +1.650.539.3536

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software