November 12, 2017
“There is nobody that cares more for a building than the people living in it”
The Grid: You presented on technology and property management at SMARTInvest Real Estate last month. What would you like to see happen in the industry most?
Fadi Nwilati: The RE industry and PM industry are far behind on technology platforms. We still do the same things we did ten years ago including processes. Yes we as an industry are using new platforms and software but they are related to document management (e.g. financial management like invoices, receipts, budgets).
This helps back office but there has been very little or virtually nothing done to improve tenant/landlord, resident property manager and resident security communication in a building. (more…)
“Approximately 90% of cyber-attacks start with a phishing email”
The Grid: As part of the InfoSec community detecting online vulnerabilities for clients, what are the most common cyber threats you see in the workplace today?
Paul Harris: If someone is determined to get into your house, they will and it’s the same for businesses as they increase their digital footprint. There are something like 400,000 versions of malware, namely malicious software, detected every single day. A lot of this malware is recycled by other cyber criminals by making the slightest changes to previous versions. In the past year in the UK alone, 76% of businesses got hit by some sort of cyber-attack.
March 13, 2017
“We meet a lot of other start-ups launched by two brothers”
The Grid: What inspired you to start HeyDoc!?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: My brother and I launched a digital marketing agency (WebMisc) three years ago and that got us thinking about the HeyDoc! concept. We did a lot of work in the healthcare world and saw the issues they faced and wanted to find a solution.
The Grid: So you and your brother have had previous experience creating businesses?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: I have a background of creating new businesses, in the early days as part of larger corporations, more recently as stand alone entities. We founded four start-ups together. The first two failed but the last two are doing well.
The Grid: That must really test a sibling relationship and create moments of tension. What is it like, working with your brother?
“If they don’t read it before signing, that’s scary, and if they are too pedantic that is also a red flag”
The Grid: At the Venture Café Talks event last week at The Cribb, you shared your experiences with confidentiality breaches as a startup, specifically focusing on NDAs and third party agreements. Though your experiences haven’t always been great, you would still have them in place. Is that right?
Ahmad Al-Hidiq: A lot of people see them as just a paper and no one takes them seriously. We are keen on having them in place because you never know what can happen. It’s more of a scare tactic than actually going the route to hire a lawyer in the case of an issue at the early stage of your business. NDAs also help filter through people to work with based on their reaction. If they don’t read it before signing, that’s scary, and if they are too pedantic that is also a red flag. It reflects intent to break an NDA. The review process helps you understand your counter party’s character and willingness to co-operate. You work more with those who follow through and even return information as per the NDA after the engagement.
The Grid: How long are your NDAs and do they differ quite a bit depending on whether they are signed with an “employee” versus a “vendor” for instance?
March 11, 2017
“If an organization is not ready for the change, or sold technology that is an overkill, they run into trouble”
The Grid: We know that new technological innovation can be extremely well-received by consumers or just as equally rejected. As a Mobile App Publisher and Digital solutions provider, how do you educate SME clients, who want to implement technological change so they can remain competitive and ultimately delight their customer base?
NgageU: Firstly, we try to make them aware of the difference between ‘automation’, where business processes are optimised by reducing human intervention versus ‘digitization’, where the same processes are optimised by reducing the amount of paper used.
From there, we talk to them about ‘digital automation’, which is a combination of both. Technological change doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch.
Whatever the solution, simplifying business processes to enhance the customer experience is the priority. We keep that at the core of all discussions and make sure the client is not blindsided or bedazzled by the technology.
The Grid: And how do you make sure of that? (more…)
March 11, 2017
“The future is governed by large corporates that are looking to innovate with digital experiences”
The Grid: How can fintech businesses, particularly in the payment space, engage better with large corporates in a way that is mutually beneficial?
Moussa Beidas: Bank led initiatives haven’t worked so well. We believe the future is governed by large corporates that are looking to innovate with digital experiences. Take Starbucks, for example. It has a mobile wallet solution that allows customers to pre order beverages, avoid queues and earn rewards in the US. Starbucks can do this because they own the entire customer experience and can leverage how to utilize it.
And because they see the value, customers are doing what is counter intuitive in many ways, i.e. pre loading money rather than paying afterwards like they may have done for decades before.
We believe in our region that a lot of large corporates and even system integrators or middlemen are poised to have a similarly profound impact in the next five years in defining how the related landscape emerges. As they say, “Data is the new oil” and we are heavily invested in making sure that the white-labeled product we provide is targeted to large corporates so that they get data and can use it to optimize their offering.
March 11, 2017
“Insurance company processes are all geared towards the top of the pyramid“
The Grid: As the name suggests, the mission of your startup, Democrance, is to democratize insurance. Mobile Micro Insurance (MMI) is ushering in a new age of insurance that serves the middle and lower income brackets through smart phones. Tell us more about the gap it is aiming to fill.
Michele Grosso: The reality for this demographic, particularly across the MENA region, is that they have no risk protection. To date, insurance companies have overlooked these segments as outreach and attaining critical mass for profitability has been too difficult to achieve without a paradigm shift. Our model revolutionizes the whole insurance value chain, by making it accessible for everyone through their mobile phones and also affordable. By using our technology, insurance companies can save money versus resorting to their traditional selling and servicing channels.
“Nine out of ten of our customers use Android”
The Grid: Thank you for joining us today. We are keen to hear your insights into the e-commerce market space in the region from a hands-on, practical perspective.
Luma Bourisly: I’m happy to be here. Well, needless to say, this market is very different from other markets around the world, especially in terms of customer trust. The online shopper is not only hesitant to share credit or debit card details but also personal details such as address, phone numbers, age, and so on.
The Grid: Yes, concerns about privacy are certainly understandable. And why do you think they are so hesitant compared to other markets?