Since the early Twentieth century, the Southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the US, known as “Silicon Valley”, has seen a growing high-tech industry hosting some of the world’s largest technology companies in various industries including Apple, Google, Cisco, Oracle, Intel, HP; social media giants including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and let’s not forget Adobe, Netflix, Tesla Motors, and other flagship brands.
Despite the development of other high-tech economic zones and office parks in the US and other parts of the world, Silicon Valley remains to be the leading destination for technology innovation and development, accounting for one-third of all the venture capital investment in the US. But, what most of us don’t know is that the following list of inspiring Egyptian entrepreneurs and researchers are making history in Silicon Valley:
- Rana El-Kaliouby
El-Kaliouby is a computer scientist, entrepreneur and a major contributing researcher to the field of facial expression recognition technology. She is currently the CEO of Affectiva, an emotion measurement technology company that she founded alongside Rosalind Picard. Affectiva spun out of MIT’s Media Lab in 2009 and is backed by leading investors including Kleiner Perkins, Caufield Byers, Horizon Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital and WPP for its potential in powering apps and digital experiences with an emotional dimension.
- Amr Awadallah
Awadallah is a computer scientist and entrepreneur known for building one of the first companies to use Apache Hadoop (an open-source software used in the processing of big data). In 2008, he founded Cloudera alongside Christopher Bisciglia, Mike Olson, and Jeff Hammerbacher, a tech company that provides services and support around the use of Apache Hadoop. Awadallah is also a former Yahoo employee after the company acquired his first startup, VivaSmart in 2000.
- Marwan Roushdy
Roushdy is an entrepreneur who is known for building Swipe, a semi-anonymous photo sharing app which allows users to follow their friends based on their phone book and you can anonymously send a picture or a video to a friend that will appear only once and if you don’t like the media content you are receiving you can swipe left or right. Swipe was much like an early version of Snapchat, which eventually overpowered it. That didn’t stop the AUC construction engineering graduate who went on to build Swipe Labs which is a social product studio that was recently required by Uber for an undisclosed amount.
- Wael Ghonim
Ghonim is an internet activist and computer engineer who focuses on developing social entrepreneurship in the MENA region. After holding several regional leadership roles in Google, Ghonim eventually left the company in 2014 to start Parlio, a social media platform that allows users to share and discuss perspectives on various topics with intellectuals and public figures which was acquired by Quora in 2016 for an undisclosed amount.
- Khaled Hussein
Hussien discovered his passion for computers at an early age when he saw a computer for the first time when he was 18 years old in Alexandria and that’s when he decided to study computer science and human-computer interaction at Virginia Tech. Currently, he is the co-founder and CTO at Tilt, a crowdfunding platform that allows groups and communities to collect, fundraise or pool money online which raised $62 million at a $400 million valuation in 2015 and was recently acquired by Airbnb for an undisclosed amount.
Think there is another inspiring Egyptian entrepreneur to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!