At once both a Silicon Valley insider and an outsider, 18-year-old Jihad Kawas’ roots are in Beirut while his dreams and current business are in San Francisco.Before graduating from high school in Lebanon in the spring of 2015, he had already taught himself to code and forged a path as a web entrepreneur. Now, Jihad is the chief executive of Saily, a fast-growing mobile marketplace for secondhand goods. Location at the core, Saily allows neighbors and communities to communicate and negotiate prices on everything from a classic Apple computer to gently used Nikes. In the last 7 months, Saily has recorded more than 150,000 users – the current registration rate is 1,000 users per day – and rung up more than $5 million in sales.
Prior to Saily, Jihad eschewed top-tier universities in favor of a 2015 Thiel Fellowship. This elite program, which draws nearly 3,000 applicants annually, awards $100,000 in funding and provides mentoring by elite leaders in the tech industry. His focus is on the sharing economy.
A child of small business owners, Jihad started his first company at the age of 13. He has won global entrepreneurship competitions, given two TED Talks, and spends his free time flying drones and mastering his yo-yo skills.
He currently resides in San Francisco.