Amer Deeba – The Journey to Becoming a Serial Silicon Valley Entrepreneur
Silicon Valley is well known for its ability to nurture the tech giants and business executives of tomorrow. To be successful, those in these industries must be able to show versatility and adaptability. One individual who has gained recognition as both a technical expert and commercial guru is Amer Deeba. Deeba’s illustrious career spans over two decades and consists of roles as CEO, GM, CMO, CCO, and VP of corporate development and strategic alliances at various tech companies.
An immigrant from Southern Lebanon, Deeba grew up in the picturesque town of Marjayoun, surrounded by mountains and renowned for its fertile lands. Deeba remembers this time as full of love, laughter, and carefree days; however, he was merely nine years of age when, in 1976, the ongoing civil unrest gave way to a full-blown military conflict.
The events that followed shaped and formed Amer Deeba. He told Forbes, “As chaotic and crazy as it was to grow up in a war zone, it gave me a great perspective on life. My experience taught me it’s important to be decisive and to trust my judgment. It made me prioritize life-long learning and hard work. I have always been willing to stretch beyond my comfort zone to grow personally and professionally.”
Although the conflict took a great toll on his family life, Deeba’s parents were adamant about ensuring that he and his brothers did not lack in terms of their education. He remained in Lebanon with his parents and two brothers, ultimately graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1988, with a BS/BE in Electrical Engineering. Soon after his graduation, Deeba began his search for an appropriate Master’s Program, this time in the USA.
Deeba recalls how he fell in love with what would later become a life-long career choice. “Once, when I was in college, back home, we were doing computer programs on punch cards in the early ’80s. I remember I’d go run first thing to the lab to run my punch cards program. I just thought it was fascinating that you can type something, tell the computer to do it, and then it just did it for you without any errors. So I knew at that point I was majoring in electrical engineering.”
Alongside his decision to major in electrical engineering, Deeba was also fascinated with the notion of working in Silicon Valley. His first interaction with what the valley encapsulated was introduced to him through the James Bond movie, “A View to Kill,” which referenced Silicon Valley and the evolution of technology taking place there.
He eventually applied to study at Stanford, Santa Clara, and San Jose. Although a family friend initially had him leaning towards accepting a place at Stanford, Santa Clara made Deeba an offer that was too good to refuse – a scholarship with a full teaching assistant job. That was all Amer Deeba needed to be told to pack his bags, wave his loved ones goodbye, and set off in search of new horizons – all with $800 to his name and a one-way ticket.
Once he arrived in the U.S., right in the heart of Silicon Valley, Deeba fell into a trap too well known to those who have left home for the first time – homesickness. Leaving the comfort of his home and a rock-solid support structure was one of the toughest periods Deeba had to face. However, it wasn’t long before the excitement of being around the latest technological developments, a vibrant community of fellow peers, and Santa Clara’s long, warm summers won him over.
Amer Deeba thrived during his college years, soaking in everything new in his surroundings. Nearing the end of his Master’s degree, Deeba, inspired by a summer coding program, decided to lay rest to his plans to pursue a P.H.D and instead got right into professional life as a programmer.
Deeba first landed a job as a software engineer at Verity, where he was also first introduced to his lifelong mentor, CEO Phillipe Courtot. After a two-year stint at Verity, he moved on to Adobe, where Deeba was tasked with working on the release of the Acrobat Reader software.
Five years into his career, Amer Deeba was approached by his mentor and confidante Phillipe Courtot to join him at a payment services startup called Signio. The difference was that this time around, Deeba was being hired to work on the business side of things. Courtot had very early on established that alongside technical know-how, Deeba was also skilled in understanding the needs of customers and communicating with them.
When Signio was sold to Verisign for $1 billion, the once upon a time technical expert ended up with a position as GM of payment services, achieving growth of nearly 150% during his time there.
Amer Deeba and Phillipe Courtot’s professional relationship did not end here, as the pair also began working together at Qualys, where Deeba spent nearly 17 years, holding several positions, which included CMO, VP of Development & Alliances, and Chief Commercial Officer.
Amer Deeba then became the Chief Operating Officer at Moogsoft, where he led the company’s transition to a SaaS platform with a new sales and marketing strategy, while also doubling the company’s ARR and positioning Moogsoft as a leader in the AIOps market.
Today, Amer Deeba a Go-To-Market Executive, and an advisor to cybersecurity companies including CyCognito and Monad. He is also the CEO and Co-founder of a new cybersecurity startup still in stealth mode focused on solving data security challenges in cloud environments. He also spends his time as the Middle East liaison at the Eduarte Courtot Foundation, founded by his friend and mentor. The foundation focuses on providing opportunities to underprivileged children in the field of education, striving towards a fairer, more egalitarian society.
Looking back at his illustrious career, Deeba still feels the excitement he initially felt when at the cusp of joining the industry; however, what he does wish is that he prioritized his personal life over his work. Experiencing the joy of having a family made him realize that he would have liked to savor this experience earlier on in life.
Amer Deeba got married to Rosemary Cremesti in 2018. Cremesti, who is also from Lebanon, is responsible for Google Maps Partner ecosystem in the Americas. Deeba’s marriage has helped him gain a new perspective on how he plans to continue living his life. He has often mentioned his wife’s role in his adoption of mindfulness practices, which have aided him in carrying out his leadership roles.
Deeba is a firm believer in seeking out what you want and then putting all your concentration on it. He believes that setting goals, having the right mentors, and believing in yourself are some of the key ingredients for success.