An Arab version of Mark Zuckerberg, Abdallah Absi is a college dropout from Lebanon who has nevertheless already started six companies. Among them are Rifflex and Zoomaal, the Arab world’s leading crowdfunding platform to support creativity. Zoomaal is funded by four major institutional investors and recently featured on CNN and in Forbes and the New York Times. Absi has won more than 10 awards for entrepreneurship and computer science, with the latest being top place in the Doha Venture Day event in Qatar in November 2013. He also won the Arab Thought Foundation’s Fikr 2013 in December 2013.
In January 2014, he was recognised as a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’ for the Beirut Hub. Later that year, Absi became a Middle East delegate of Stanford University’s AMENDS — a student community that enables the most promising youth change agents from across the Middle East, North Africa, and US to learn from each other and advance their work. In addition to organising StartUp Weekends in Beirut, Absi has founded the Entrepreneurship Club, known as e-Club. An initiative at the American University of Beirut, the club aims to create a network to connect aspiring businessmen and businesswomen with those who have more experience in the industry.