The Lighthouse Conversations

Hashem Montasser, Founder of the The Lighthouse Restaurant & Concept Store in Dubai Design District ... more

Latest Episodes


June 11, 2020 00:42:32

Tarik Al-Zaharna on finding his voice in the region’s architectural landscape and why friction is sometimes necessary when creating new design concepts

The Lighthouse was conceived as a design-centric brand from the outset and its founders never took its design aesthetic—whether interior, graphic or digital design—for granted. So when joined this week by Tarik Al-Zaharna, Founder of [T.ZED Architects](, we asked him to take us through his journey into entrepreneurship when he launched his firm five years ago, his thoughts on why and how to create friction in design and how the industry might evolve in the post-Covid-19 era. ...



May 28, 2020 00:46:45

Louis Lebbos on why we haven’t yet seen a superagency in the region & supporting local entrepreneurs

From our LIVE FB conversation with Louis Lebbos, Founding Partner at UAE-based Astrolabs. Louis chats with Hashem about why his co-founder Muhammed Mekki and him left their previous startup Namshi to start Astrolabs and the risks of raising money from the wrong VCs. He also shares his thoughts on digital marketing in the region & why we have yet to see a true “super-agency” of ex-global agencies creatives with local insights and a true appetite to make their own mark. They talk about why everything worthwhile takes a really long time and how Hashem was inspired by Maria Popova’s blog []( ...



May 14, 2020 00:40:11

Hashem Montasser and Hany Bassiouny on adapting The Lighthouse’s strategy for the post-Covid-19 era and why thought-leadership in F&B is more pressing than ever

We’re going behind the scenes this week with the Lighthouse’s Hashem Montasser & Hany Bassiouny who speak with producer Chirag Desai about how they’re dealing with the consequences of Covid-19 and its current impact on their business. They also share their insights on how the F&B industry might change as we start to emerge from the crisis and their advice for founders on how to protect their brand equity over the long term. ...



April 22, 2020 00:35:47

Chris Khalifa on pivoting from investment banking to F&B by starting Egyptian street food icon Zööba and learning key lessons after initially failing fast and hard.

This week, we’re joined from New York City by Chris Khalifa, founder of Zööba, an Egyptian street food concept he launched in Cairo in 2012 and took all the way to NYC late last year. Chris shares the story behind Zööba and how--after initially expanding too quickly and failing--they consolidated their business, learnt key lessons and set out to expand yet again to build what is now a successful—and some would say iconic—brand. Post recording, Chris gave us an update on the impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic on Zööba, how they are handling the crisis and the steps they’ve taken to protect the business. ...



April 08, 2020 00:30:44

Amina Naguib on B_URN taking Cairo by storm & building a lifestyle business centered around physical and mental well-being

There’s been an explosion in terms of people’s focus on health—both physical as well as mental & general well-being—over the last few years. Amina Naguib embodies this positive trend as the Founder of Cairo-based B_URN, a workout loosely based on the Lagree fitness method that has evolved into a veritable lifestyle. Amina shares how she got started with her venture, how she managed to build a community of like-minded people in the middle of Egypt’s 2011 revolution and shares her expansion plans in related sectors. ...



March 25, 2020 00:33:59

Vilma Jurkute on developing Alserkal Avenue into an arts & culture hub by taking risks on risk-takers

This week, we’re joined by Vilma Jurkute, Director at Alserkal who shares her experience in developing Alserkal Avenue as the leading arts & culture district in the region. She chronicles its evolution from a marble factory owned by the Alserkal family to a collection of art and design galleries, artists’ studios and other independent ventures, visited by over 600,000 people annually. Vilma reflects on why they take risks on entrepreneurs, what binds the space together and how they all support each other. Finally, she shares Alserkal’s plans to expand online and continue building its platform including its digital arm, Folio by Alserkal. ...