|Other names||James Kawas|
|Known for||Founder & CEO of Saily Inc.|
Forbes 30 Under 30
James (Jihad) Kawas is a Lebanese entrepreneur based out of Silicon Valley in California. He is the Founder & CEO of Saily Inc, an e-commerce company that developed a shopping app and became part of Mercari Inc., Japan’s billion-dollar mobile commerce firm. Listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018, Kawas is the first Thiel Fellow from the MENA region and has received a grant of over $100,000 from Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder.
Kawas began learning how to program and develop apps when he was 14 years old. In 2013, Kawas launched Saily, a second-hand marketplace shopping app, with his friend, Dani Arnaout. While developing Saily, Kawas would skip high school every month to focus on developing the app and travel to San Francisco to learn from experienced people in the technology industry. Through these networking opportunities, he met Will Bunker, the founder and partner of San Francisco-based startup accelerator GrowthX; Bunker later became an investor in Saily.
Kawas was honored in 2015 with the Young Entrepreneurship award by Entrepreneur Magazine. He has been featured on the cover of Arabian Business Magazine, and ranked as one of the most influential young Arabs in the world by Arabian Business Magazine. Kawas was an invited speaker at TEDxBeirut 2014, addressing the topic of education with his talk, Why School Is Not Ready For Us.
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