Alexandra Talty is a freelance journalist, covering business, technology and travel for millennials. Prior to her recent move back to Southampton, New York, her hometown, she was Editor-in-Chief of StepFeed, the homepage of the Middle East, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Publisher’s Weekly, Executive Magazine, Audio Kultur and The Southampton and Easthampton Press, among others.
Written ArticlesView All
Visiting a Bustling Tech Incubator in Dubai
As Dubai continues its epic transformation into a global commerce hub, two entrepreneurs have set up a small piece of Silicon Valley in the UAE. Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki 's AstroLabs incubator now hosts 77 different startups in an open, modern coworking office space that would be right at home on the streets of San Francisco. Its members, from places as distant as Vietnam and Kansas City, all want a piece of the emerging Middle East market.
By Alexandra TaltyAug 2, 2016
Lebanon’s Unlikely Hydroponic Farmer Wants to Change Local Agriculture
Ali Makhzoum thinks his hydroponic farming system can increase farmers’ yields, decrease the labor needed to harvest and reduce the water requirements by up to 90 percent. His Life Labs systems, developed in Beirut, are automated, self-contained, and, Makhzoum hopes, “smart”--with the ability to govern themselves.
By Alexandra TaltyAug 28, 2015
Forget Bubble Talk—Beirut Tech Is Accelerating
Recently called "the Silicon Valley of the Middle East" by CNN, and "the Middle East’s Tech Hub" by TechCrunch, Beirut’s tech scene is the darling of international media of late. (Though Techonomy first wrote about it over two years ago.) The tech scene here has turned a corner, going from fledgling to now officially on the map. Among the reasons: the launch of various funds that will bring over $100 million in investments to Lebanon’s startup economy over the next five years, and the ongoing efforts of Lebanon’s Central Bank to decrease the risk of investing in startups. But now three new companies that specifically aim to foster tech startups are setting up. Two of them are accelerators, and one will invest and nurture slightly more mature companies. In a city of 2.2 million, some are wondering, is this a bubble? And if so, when will it burst?
By Alexandra TaltyJul 9, 2015
How the Belly Card Makes a Meal Out of Other Loyalty Programs
The rewards consumers can reap with a Belly loyalty card program are quirky to say the least. One of the best prizes in the Belly network? An ice cream date with Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s. Since you'd have to earn those 1,000 points by eating ice cream, that’s a lot of brain freeze. An evolution of the traditional loyalty punch card, consumers use Belly cards to collect customized rewards at businesses where Belly iPads are installed
By Alexandra TaltyDec 5, 2014
Lebanon’s Serial Entrepreneur Bets on Online Acceleration
Samer Karam has been a war photojournalist, a banker, an entrepreneur, and a PhD student. But these days, the Gen-X techie is focused on enabling the success of others. His online accelerator Alice, based in London, welcomes startups from anywhere in the world to apply for mentoring and funding. Karam, who also founded and recently closed Beirut’s first accelerator, Seeqnce, is known as one of Lebanon’s most prominent tech mentors.
By Alexandra TaltyAug 15, 2014
This Company Wants Teachers To Make Money on YouTube
As the cost of education skyrockets in the U.S., online education is an increasingly appealing alternative to the traditional classroom. Everything from standardized test prep to undergraduate classes is being offered online. While some bemoan the fate of scholarly pursuit, the entrepreneur behind one education startup believes this is the shake-up academia needs. Socratic co-founder Chris Pedregal says the educational system wasn’t designed with its end-users in mind. “Very little in the educational space is impacted by the questions students have,” he says, pointing out that this is the approach behind many tools students already use to find information, such as Google.
By Alexandra TaltyFeb 19, 2014
The Middle East Shows It’s Ready For Online Dating
When online matchmaker et3arraf closed its second round of funding this week, CEO Cedric Maalouf was ecstatic. The Arab “marriage-oriented” dating website attracted attention from angel investors and venture capital firms, and received term sheets from investors who weren’t even pitched. Calling it a “good problem,” Maalouf is waiting for his lawyers to weigh in, but thinks he’d prefer angel to VC financing: “We still decide everything about the site and I am not sure if I want to share it with someone yet.” Et3arraf lays claim to being the first Middle Eastern dating platform, “for Arabs, by Arabs, in Arabic.”
By Alexandra TaltyOct 15, 2013
Beirut’s Coders Convene for Community and Social Progress
AltCity is a co-working space tucked away from the hustle and bustle of one of Beirut’s busiest neighborhoods, Hamra. On a Friday summer night, a mostly male crowd is settling in for the second in a series of Programmer Talks hosted by LebGeeks, an online forum and community for Lebanese technophiles. The room is filling up fast and buzzing with Arabic chatter, before the English-language presentations begin. The small space boasts typical techie décor: bean bag chairs, neon painted pipes, concrete floors, white boards galore
By Alexandra TaltySep 23, 2013
Power Outages and Military Roadblocks? In Lebanon, There’s an App for That
The hassles of day-to-day life in Beirut, Lebanon, where tech entrepreneurship is growing, have led to some innovative apps. Daily electricity cuts are standard in the capital. Some families have backup generators. Moustafa Baalbaki’s does not. That led him to his breakthrough local app, Beirut Electricity, which tracks the rolling three-hour outages and predicts when the power will be on days, weeks, months, or even years in advance. “My dad used to have a manual [power-outage tracker] on the refrigerator made from paper. I thought, ‘I can do better. I am a software engineer,’” says Baalbaki, who works for KnowledgeView, a UK cross-platform publishing company.
By Alexandra TaltyJul 1, 2013
Beirut—yes Beirut—Has a Vibrant, Growing Tech Scene
OK, Beirut, Lebanon may not yet be a startup hub like Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or even Dubai. But recent success stories suggest that the Middle Eastern city is emerging as a serious contender. They include event-ticketing and crowfunding platform Presella, mobile music app Anghami, and local tech darling Instabeat, a swim-goggle-mounted heart-rate monitor. “You can get a feel that there is a community developing,” says Rabih Nassar, founder of element^n, a company that provides cloud platform services. “There are a lot of ideas, a lot of young people who want to jump in.”
By Alexandra TaltyMay 28, 2013
Sign up for our newsletters
"*" indicates required fields