Jihad Kawas

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Jihad Kawas
Jihad Kawas.jpg
Other namesJames Kawas[1]
Known forFounder & CEO of Saily Inc.
AwardsThiel Fellowship
Forbes 30 Under 30

James (Jihad) Kawas is a Lebanese entrepreneur based out of Silicon Valley in California.[2] 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.[3][4][5] Listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018,[6] 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.[7][8][9]


Kawas began learning how to program and develop apps when he was 14 years old.[10][11] In 2013, Kawas launched Saily, a second-hand marketplace shopping app,[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Kawas was honored in 2015 with the Young Entrepreneurship award by Entrepreneur Magazine.[15] He has been featured on the cover of Arabian Business Magazine,[16] and ranked as one of the most influential young Arabs in the world by Arabian Business Magazine.[17] Kawas was an invited speaker at TEDxBeirut 2014, addressing the topic of education with his talk, Why School Is Not Ready For Us.[18][19]


  1. ^ "James (Jihad) Kawas Bio". 2018. Retrieved 2 Aug 2018.
  2. ^ "Entrepreneur of the Week: Jihad Kawas, co-founder of Saily". Arabian Business. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Abstract Layer". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  4. ^ "LebNet Interview: Entrepreneur Jihad Kawas (Saily Inc.) | LebNet". lebnet.us. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  5. ^ Shu, Catherine. "Marketplace app Mercari nabs $75M to become Japan's first startup unicorn". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  6. ^ "Dani Arnaout, 27 (L) Jihad Kawas, 20 - pg.3". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  7. ^ "PayPal cofounder pays young Lebanese student $100K to drop out and build a startup". Wamda. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  8. ^ "The 18-year-old CEO who wants to change the way we buy and sell online". Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Billionaire pays Lebanese teen $100k to skip college". Lebanese Examiner. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Why School is Not Ready for Generation Z". Fractus Learning. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  11. ^ Clarke, Kelly. "1,000 ideas that would change Dubai's future". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  12. ^ Leber, Jessica (5 Jun 2015). "Meet the Last "Class" of Thiel Fellows, The Genius Kids who Skip College and Build Startups". Fast Company. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  13. ^ "How the Apple App Store Went from 'Impossible Thought' to Job Creator". Motherboard. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  14. ^ Chehayeb, Kareem (5 October 2015). "All I Really Need To Know... I Didn't Learn In College". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  15. ^ Staff, Entrepreneur Middle East (2015-12-20). "The Recap: Enterprise Agility Awards 2015". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  16. ^ "Rising stars: Young tech entrepreneurs changing the rules". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Arab.Power100.2016-84.Jihad Kawas". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  18. ^ Jihad Kawas (27 Sep 2014). Jihad Kawas: Why School Is Not Ready For Us. Beirut, Lebanon: TedXBeirut. Retrieved 1 Jun 2018.
  19. ^ Stultz, Ryan (2015-06-10). "Why is this Lebanese teen skipping college? For a 100,000-plus reasons". stepfeed.com. StepFeed. Retrieved 2 Jun 2018.

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