Levant International Startup Association
The mission of the Levant International Startup Association (“LISA”) is to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in the Middle East to turn the region into a hub for innovation and entrepreneurial success.
LISA is a non-partisan organization created by entrepreneurs around the world interested in attracting and helping promising entrepreneurs create high-growth companies and offer them the opportunity for entry into a global market with a particular focus in the US market.
We will launch the pilot in Lebanon with expansion into Syria, Turkey, Jordan, and Palestine.
Our goal is to transcend the political boundaries and give local entrepreneurs the ability to write their own future. So join our innovation revolution and let’s change the world together.
LISA will create an educational curriculum to be taught throughout the year to educate university students or young entrepreneurs on different aspects of the startup process. The curriculum will be relayed through two complementary methods: Biweekly Online Sessions and Quarterly Seminars.
Biweekly Online Sessions
An industry expert will do a presentation on different startup topics including creating, building, operating, launching, funding, growing and exiting (acquisition or IPO).
Each quarter LISA will coordinate with local universities to host a two-day seminar. The seminar will have sessions that can take the students through the full life-cycle of a startup. Each quarter a different local university will be selected to host this event. The event will be open to students from all universities.
The educational framework will be instrumental in preparing students interested in pursuing the path of entrepreneurship and to help them identify and build products that can have global reach. The objective is to grow the knowledge economy and intellectual capital in Levant countries, which will encourage and inspire the creation of new ideas, and prepare and equip teams to be successful.
LISA is a collaborative organization and will be partnering with other startup initiatives, accelerators, incubators, and area startups to aid in the creation of a robust startup ecosystem in Lebanon and beyond.
LISA will be facilitating communication channels with these entities as well as with influential individuals in the startup scene. This will enable LISA to stay in touch and up-to-date with what’s happening in in the startup scene in Lebanon and eventually other Levant countries.
As part of this continuous communication, LISA will maintain an up-to-date centralized database of up-and-coming startups. LISA will be reviewing these records on a weekly basis to form a plan to bring these startups to the U.S.A. and/or help them establish traction in the U.S. market. Moreover, LISA will use this information to promote the latest news from the Levant startup community in the U.S. media outlets.
LISA will form a board of advisors comprised of 40-50 influential individuals and industry veterans. LISA will attempt to recruit as many Americans with Levant region ties (i.e. Lebanese-American, Syrian-American, Turkish-American, Palestinian-American) as possible for this board. These individuals must currently live in the U.S.A. or reside in the U.S.A. for extended periods. The focus of the board is to advise Levant region startups, incubators and accelerators on approaching the U.S.A. market in addition to providing hands-on assistance in accessing the market. This will include advising on product development, launching, market positioning, business development, operations and logistics, fund-raising, legal, etc. This will help startups become localized to the U.S.A. culture and market.
LISA will be introducing and assigning advisors to startups based on the startup’s individual needs.
Spreading the word locally and internationally as to what is happening in the technology startup scene in Lebanon and beyond is crucial for establishing credibility, creating awareness and promoting Lebanese and other Levant region startups. This should include, a broad market communications plan, public relations in U.S. news and media outlets and blogs, TV promotions through interviews on national and local TV channels, and assistance with global events that best support the goals your vision.
The promotion will be geared around the startups individually as well as the startup scene collectively. This will give Lebanese and other Levant country startups global exposure, which will likely increase traction and further the odds of global success.
After meeting preset criteria, LISA will help Lebanese and other Levant region startups come to the U.S.A. The objective is to get key personnel from a startup that is gaining verifiable traction to the U.S.A. in order to meet with potential clients and investors, or participate in important startup events. LISA will be providing accommodations and services to facilitate this objective. They include:
An office space will be provided for the startup to use throughout their stay. LISA will have predefined spaces in the cities of Boston, Dallas and San Francisco. This will enable the startup teams to work and meet with people here in the U.S.A.
LISA will be sending invitation letters and proper documentation to the U.S. embassy and/or the startup’s employees in Lebanon for VISA processing.
LISA will be scheduling and assisting in coordinating and facilitating meetings between a startup’s team and key people in the U.S.A.
Hotel & Transportation Arrangements
LISA will assist the startup in booking hotels and making transportation arrangements.
LISA will help the startup to recruit key personnel who can live and stay in the U.S.A. to join their startup.
LISA will help a startup procure competent legal counsel to ensure they are 100% compliant with local laws, in addition to providing sound advice regarding financings or contract negotiations.
In addition, LISA will dedicate a person to shadow and help the startup personnel during their stay so they can assimilate easily. This service from LISA will enable startups to have a foothold in the U.S.A., which will give the startup more credibility and trust in the US market. Additionally, it will break down the distance barrier between the startup and the US parties who are interested in getting involved with the Lebanese and other Levant region startups.
Access to capital is one of the most important factors contributing to a startup’s success and growth. The U.S.A. has the most mature investment ecosystem in terms of size and structure, especially when it comes to venture capital and angel investing. Enabling, positioning and equipping Lebanese startups to obtain investments in the U.S.A. is critical to the startup to succeed in the U.S.A. LISA will create a framework that will prepare and position the startup to get effectively raise capital in the U.S.A. from the following two types of investors: Angel Investors and Venture Capital (VC) Firms.
LISA will work on creating a network of Angel Investors across the U.S.A. who will be reviewing these Lebanese startups’ pitch decks and financials on a regular basis to potentially invest in startups that have launched their product in Lebanon and have started to get traction.
Venture Capital (VC) Firms
LISA will work on establishing relationships with notable VC firms in the U.S.A. and will keep them apprised to LISA’s activities. LISA will help startups that have gained significant traction in the U.S.A., and have also received U.S. angel or seed money, to pitch their business to interested VC firms and will help negotiate term sheets for their investment round, if offered.
At the time the startup receives its first institutional investment round in the US, the startup should be able to stand on its own and the role of LISA afterwards will be restricted to promoting the startup and as-needed advisory services.