What is LFE?

In 2012, LIFE commissioned a study to explore the reasons that are preventing the rise of a well-functioning technology industry ecosystem in Lebanon, and to come up with an action plan to enable and support this ecosystem. The study proposed a three-prong action plan over the subsequent five to ten years, centered on improving the policy environment, stimulating startup formation, and seeding a sustainable venture capital industry. In 2013 LFE was launched as a joint initiative of LIFE, LebNet (Silicon Valley) and SEAL (New York) to accelerate the development of Lebanon’s technology startup ecosystem by executing the action plan proposed in the 2012 study.

Acting as a centralised access point for its diaspora network to support and collaborate with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, LFE helps promising tech startups in Lebanon gain real traction through mentorship and connections to Lebanese experts overseas, works with academic institutions to foster startup creation on campus and promote academia-industry collaboration, and advocates for policy and regulatory reforms to help make the ecosystem more hospitable to tech startups and investors.

How is LFE funded?

LFE relies entirely on donations, which are used exclusively to cover operating expenses. The list of LFE’s donors can be found here.

Objectives

  • Become a centralised access point for diaspora resources to support and collaborate with the local IT ecosystem
  • Help promising tech startups get off the ground with real traction (e.g. customer commitments, larger venture capital rounds)
  • Champion infrastructure improvements and policy/regulatory reforms to help make the ecosystem more hospitable to tech startups and investors
  • Collaborate with academic institutions to encourage research and case studies about startups, to foster startup creation on campus, and to promote academia-industry collaboration

Milestones to date

  • Mobilised technology and finance executives from Lebnet and LIFE to engage with the local startup ecosystem
  • Mentored 15 promising Lebanese technology startups, helping five of them raise 6.6 million USD in funding, and one secure two large banks as customers
  • Cofounded accelerator Speed@BDD, which is tasked with spawning 100 fast-growing technology startups within 5 years
  • Led the drafting of the Lebanese Private Equity Funds law, and helped lobby for 12 other laws that are beneficial to the startup ecosystem in Lebanon
  • Provided the Prime Minister with an LFE-authored paper that outlines the status quo and the broadband and legal reforms needed to boost the startup ecosystem  
  • Published, in collaboration with IDAL, a first-of-its-kind research paper about competitive technology subsectors in Lebanon
  • Forged partnerships with over 50 constituents of the local startup ecosystem
  • Organised a series of events overseas to encourage entrepreneurs in the diaspora to expand to Lebanon

Testimonials from Entrepreneurs

  • Hind Hobeika
    INSTABEAT

    Instabeat is a heads-up display that mounts on swimming goggles and displays instant heart rate feedback for a swimmer to reach her training goals. Hind – a mechanical engineer and varsity swimmer – founded Instabeat when she was only 23, out of a need to monitor her heart rate and optimize her swimming workout.

    I was introduced through LFE to Lebnet member Ford Tamer, who is my best and most valuable advisor to date. LFE also helped me manage the relationship with Lebnet after I was accepted into the Lebnet Mentorship Program in Silicon Valley. Last but not least, LFE assisted me in looking for business angel funding for my $900K bridge round, which I closed in September 2014

  • Tarek Fadel
    FADEL

    FADEL is a New York- and Beirut-based company that provides enterprise-class Intellectual Property rights and royalty management software for a variety of industries including media, entertainment, publishing and high tech.

    LFE was extremely instrumental and helpful in assisting FADEL in its capital raising process. LFE brokered the right introductions with our Lebanon-based VC, and helped bridge the differences between us and our VC several times as the details of the term sheet were being discussed. In addition LFE has been key to getting us introduced to Lebnet executives in Silicon Valley, and we have had several business opportunities develop out of these connections in a very short time

For further information, please visit the LFE website on the following link