Who am I?

My name’s Rayan. I’ve been living, investing, and operating in technology companies across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan since 2013. This includes working in one of the first venture capital funds in the Region, building and launching new products at Careem, and being part of the team responsible for the company’s 2020 exit to Uber.

Prior to this, I worked with the first tech startup accelerator in Gaza called Gaza Sky Geeks which is still operational today.

I’m also someone who grew up between a small American town in the suburbs of Boston and a humble neighborhood of refugees in a city in the north of Jordan. Frontier markets weren’t just a professional opportunity for me, they are also home, one that I’m deeply invested in.

Another venture capitalist’s Substack?

Yes but also no. I’d like to think this one is a bit different.

Sandbox is a product-centric view of how technology companies are built in emerging ecosystems. There are more than a handful of great newsletters that focus on funding announcements, market trends analyze companies’ performance, and dissect acquisitions. Sandbox focuses on the products themselves: how they are built, by whom, and to solve what problems. This is intended to cut through PR fluff and share unique insights and stories from my experience.

That’s not to say I won’t occasionally foray into discussing other topics relating to emerging markets tech but as would any good founder, I’ll try and maintain a focus.

What else?

At the risk of sounding like a I’m leading a breakout session, I’d like this to be interactive. Ask questions, tell me I’m wrong, share your own stories, point me to new topics.

If this sparks your interest and you’d like to explore working in an emerging tech ecosystem, please DM me on Twitter. I’d love to see how I can help.

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A product-centric view of how technology companies are built in emerging ecosystems.


Emerging markets venture investor & operator | photographer | Palestinian-American | @Careem @WamdaCapital @INSEAD