LEAP23, one of the region’s largest tech events, begins a four-day run at Riyadh Front Expo Centre today, February 6. Running until February 9, LEAP23 boasts an exhibitor and convention line-up of transformational talent, a product showcase of advanced and generative technology potential, and a celebrity cast of billionaire entrepreneurs, business magnates, sporting heroes, and musical icons turned futurists and financiers. Together, more than 720 speakers from some 50 countries will explore ideas that will change lives, alter work patterns, and unlock unrealised and as-yet unimagined economic potential across 11 conference streams.
Music phenomenon and tech advocate will.i.am joins Spanish FIFA World Cup legend and NFT champion Carles Puyol to combine inspirational insights with thought-leadership debates alongside C-suite executives from some of the biggest names in business, including Aramco, Zoom, Google, Oracle, SAP, and NEOM. Meanwhile, a host of world-renowned entrepreneurs and figureheads from Tim Draper, the billionaire venture capitalist and founder of Draper Associates, to John Lee, the chief executive of Hong Kong SAR, will also be present across the event’s four days.
“Having established instant credentials as the world’s most visionary and valuable technology event following its 2022 launch event, when more than US$6 billion worth of business deals were signed, LEAP23 is gathering an unprecedented following of tech leaders who acknowledge Saudi Arabia as a potential global rival to Silicon Valley,” the organisers said in a press statement.
MasterCard Venture is one of more than 900 exhibitors with a keen eye on the Kingdom’s turbo-charged Vision 2030 and its futuristic dynamism. Keith Jordan, Mastercard Venture’s Vice President of Innovation, said now is an opportune moment to import digital economy and Metaverse breakthroughs into Saudi Arabia. “We are firm believers in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and are committed to using the power of advanced technologies to create new priceless experiences for communities, bridging the physical and virtual worlds. We look forward to showcasing the endless possibilities technologies have at LEAP23, shining a light on the growing influence of our leading-edge tech solutions,” Jordan added.
For American camera and social media innovator Snap Inc, Augmented Reality (AR) will hallmark its LEAP23 focus, said Abdulla Alhammadi, the company’s Regional Business Lead for Saudi Arabia. AR’s potential now extends well beyond social media, he added. “Over the past decade, Snap has emerged as a leader in Augmented Reality, and when we first introduced it, people used it for fun, but today AR has also become important for businesses,” he said. “Snap’s AR technology has evolved rapidly to facilitate virtual try-ons, catalogue browsing, showrooming, and much more, while our AR lenses have come a long way too, to serve our partners and community, introducing new and improved shopping features and capabilities for brands, and experiences for Snapchatters.”
Sweden’s Ericsson believes Saudi’s investment in cellular technology and frontrunner 5G nation mindset are turning the country into “a breeding ground for innovation” in the run-up to its Vision 2030 realisation. Håkan Cervell, Vice President and Head of the Customer Unit at Ericsson Middle East & Africa, revealed the existing company will look to nurture partnerships at LEAP23 to help Saudi Arabian businesses towards sustainability. “Ericsson research shows that ICT solutions can enable a reduction of global carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent by 2030,” Cervell said. “Collaboration is the only way forward to meet sustainability goals across the board.”
More than 100,000 tech innovators and disruptors will be at LEAP23 to help fast-track Saudi’s economic and societal transformation. The enduring legacy of this year’s event, which is powered by the Ministry of Communications, and Information Technology (MCIT) in conjunction with Tahaluf – a strategic joint venture co-owned by Informa PLC and SAFCSP – is expected to be a huge catalogue of breakthrough products, ideas, and partnerships. “There has never been an event that has gained such rapid traction among businesses, governments, sponsors, and tech luminaries,” said Michael Champion, Regional EVP, MEA at Informa Markets. “Tech players now view LEAP as an unmissable event and Saudi Arabia as a catalyst for an entirely new world of opportunity.”