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Sinan Taifour, Co-Founder And CEO, Maqsam

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This text is part of the 2022 version of Entrepreneur Center East’s annual Comply with The Chief collection, through which enterprise head honchos from the area speak technique, industry-specific ways, {and professional} challenges as they lead their respective companies to success.


Sinan Taifour, co-founder and CEO, Maqsam

One enterprise concept can result in one other, and one other, and one other once more, and that appears to be the story of how Sinan Taifour and his group developed Maqsam, a cloud communication suite for MENA-based SMEs that provides them an alternative choice to conventional, dearer hardware-based options.

Now, should you learn that Maqsam not too long ago gained the primary place on the Leap tech expo in Saudi Arabia, or that Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan not too long ago visited Maqsam’s workplace in Amman to be taught extra about this promising MENA startup, you’d suppose that the co-founders Sinan Taifour and Fouad Jeryes hit the jackpot with this enterprise concept from the get-go. Nonetheless, the reality is that it was a strategy of the 2 entrepreneurs discovering and fixing a collection of issues within the area’s complicated market that introduced them to conceptualize Maqsam. “We based our first product collectively known as Payhyper, a money assortment community that solves the issues corporations confronted with money on supply by introducing money earlier than supply,” Taifour explains.

“The service provider works with Payhyper as whether it is another cost methodology, so by means of API (Utility Programming Interfaces), and we gather money on behalf of the service provider from the client, and inform the service provider when the cost is made. Nonetheless, plenty of retailers had been however not quick sufficient to behave, so we ended up consuming our personal pet food and constructing a service provider on prime of our service.” That have led to Taifour and Jeryes’ second startup CashBasha, an e-commerce web site permitting MENA patrons to purchase from worldwide retailers, even when the objects can’t be shipped on to the area. “They’d pay us with money, and so, they didn’t have to fret about all of the logistics and issues of laws and customs,” explains Taifour. On the time, whereas Jeryes was constructing the enterprise on the bottom, Taifour was dedicated to CashBasha and was planning his exit from his Senior Software program Engineering publish at Google in Munich to affix the rising group.

“Whereas engaged on CashBasha, we ourselves suffered from the hole in infrastructure within the MENA area, similar to in communication, funds, and logistics,” he explains. “We stuffed these gaps by creating various inside merchandise. The communications answer we created caught the eyes of startup founders that had been going through the identical precise challenges we had been going through, and that turned Maqsam, dubbed the friendliest cloud communication suite in MENA.” In 2019, Taifour left his position at Google and got here again to guide Maqsam as its CEO which he describes as “turning our firm right into a well-oiled machine.” He provides, “The half I like essentially the most about my job is instilling a tradition that empowers the person to develop and contribute in their very own method. We regularly discover this is part of our firm the group actually appreciates.”

The Maqsam group is at the moment 70-person robust and unfold out between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Jordan. “We began Maqsam from a necessity we had inside CashBasha to join with our clients in a area that’s wider than the place we had been bodily situated, and we came upon conventional legacy programs had been very pricey and never versatile, and so, we constructed this for ourselves,” Taifour explains. “We perceive our purchasers wants, so we’re constantly enhancing our software program with our purchasers’ enter.”

Sinan Taifour and Fouad Jeryes, co-founders, Maqsam

Going ahead, he goals to deal with pure language processing applied sciences so as to assist Maqsam purchasers to higher work together with their clients. “Notably, we’re engaged on making management and administration groups in a consumer’s firm higher knowledgeable by permitting them to be taught what their clients are explicitly saying in present conversations; it’s achieved by transcribing the calls (which is difficult in Arabic), and exporting related info to the administration and management groups,” Taifour says. “Our second purpose is to show our purchasers’ brokers into tremendous brokers by shortening coaching time, easing analysis, and offering real-time suggestions to the agent whereas on a name.”

As soon as our dialog turned to assessing the present alternatives obtainable to MENA-based entrepreneurs in their very own area, Taifour provides an attention-grabbing perception into this space. “Whereas there are numerous startups whose merchandise purely exists within the digital world, most startups have a leg in actuality or require robust native cultural relevance, like a automotive hailing app or an e-commerce web site that builds software program, but in addition have plenty of operations on the bottom,” he says. “Such corporations usually can’t launch all around the world without delay, which leaves an enormous alternative for regional startups within the MENA, and examples of successes that coated such circumstances could be Maktoob, Souq, Careem, Anghami, and Jawaker.”

One other of Taifour’s ideas for MENA-based entrepreneurs is to discover a technique to function in a number of markets so as to enlarge their enterprise alternatives. “It is essential to have a large market while you begin your online business, so you may develop quick and keep away from a plateau, however in our area, we lack such large single markets, just like the European Union or the US, and the closest we now have are the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (with plenty of shopping for energy) and Egypt (with an enormous inhabitants),” Taifour explains. “A part of what Maqsam is doing is to assist obtain the advantages of such single markets when it comes to communication. Your organization might be in anyplace within the area, and you’ll serve your purchasers unexpectedly, with out having to fret about creating totally different setups for various international locations. This lets you unlock financial alternative inside a fancy area, speed up development and attain new frontiers extra successfully.”

Supply: Maqsam

Earlier than I ask him to share extra of his ideas for MENA entrepreneurs, I am keen to listen to Taifour’s opinion on the area’s tech expertise. “Learning electrical engineering [Taifour holds a bachelor’s degree in the subject from Jordan University, and a master’s degree from the Technical University of Munich] was helpful in constructing sound considering, however I discovered software program exterior of my formal schooling by means of self-learning, and by surrounding myself with folks I may be taught from,” he says.

“The web lets you get midway, however it is advisable to be a part of a group to unlock the following stage. We strive, at Maqsam, to offer such internships, but in addition, we see ourselves as hiring nice expertise, and serving to them grow to be world-class. As hardly ever because it occurs, when somebody leaves us to a extra prestigious or formidable position, we think about this a win, in contrast to many corporations that really feel hurt- we see it as a win since we had been in a position to act as a springboard for that particular person. Some folks depart the area for alternatives, however find yourself mentoring others or coming again later, which is a win for the ecosystem.”

Taifour provides that in his opinion, the MENA area’s downside shouldn’t be in having sufficient tech expertise, however in retaining it. “For that purpose, regional tech corporations ought to create extra attention-grabbing alternatives for folks to come back again,” Taifour says. “Actually good technical expertise usually consider alternatives on two parameters: whether or not it gives attention-grabbing technical issues, and whether or not their technical abilities will develop with time. To draw and retain technical expertise, an organization has to attempt to hit each these factors.”

Along with maintaining native expertise at house, Taifour and the Maqsam group are additionally engaged on constructing bridges with MENA tech consultants who stay overseas. “We work so much with our advisors who left the area and have gained information elsewhere, and now act as advisors to us in Maqsam,” he explains. “That is a method we will make the most of abilities that left the area, and we also needs to design simple methods for folks to contribute again; usually, these expats need to contribute, however do not understand how.” MENA governments, Taifour provides, ought to work collectively on mitigating the chance of coming again to the area, or not leaving it. “They need to decrease the chance of beginning an organization by creating extra steady laws and ideas which can be nearer to single markets,” he concludes.

Associated: Comply with The Chief: Natasha Sideris, Founder And CEO, Tashas Group

‘TREP TALK: Maqsam CEO Sinan Taifour shares his ideas for entrepreneurs, aspiring and in any other case

1. Do not delay, do it now. Do not settle for mediocrity “When you discover that your job or employer is less than par, there are plenty of corporations on the market which can be, and in case you are good in your discipline, they are going to be comfortable to have you ever, so by no means keep in a spot that is not serving to you develop. The tradition of an organization is as essential as what they do, and pay consideration to their tradition.

2. You need not begin an organization to have the expertise of a founder. “When you be a part of an organization early sufficient, your expertise might be related, and you’ll put on many hats, and get to contribute to the way forward for that firm and develop with it. Many corporations today supply shares for workers, so you’ll seemingly do very properly. This can even make it easier to should you plan to begin a enterprise sooner or later.”

3. Grow to be a T-shaped particular person. “Have depth in just a few issues, but in addition have some breadth. When you have plenty of breadth and also you should not have any depth, you might be simply replaceable. When you have plenty of depth in one thing and never sufficient breadth, you aren’t seeing the massive image. It’s important to attempt to mix each. When you have a little bit of breadth throughout non technical subjects and depth in one thing technical, you may be a desired a part of any group.”

4. Be part of communities to be taught and get motivated. “Determine which communities you need to be a part of, whether or not on-line or offline, as being a part of them will open your eyes, and can make it easier to notice the obtainable alternatives you would be a part of. It’s also possible to create your individual neighborhood of comparable folks. Search for mentors, folks keen to assist, and should you discover a good mentor, it makes an enormous distinction in your life.”

5. As The Legend of Zelda put it, “it is harmful to go alone!” Take a co-founder with you “In case you are beginning a tech firm, think about having a co-founder. It is stuffed with ups and downs; you may want somebody that can assist you, and by doing it alone, you might be much less more likely to succeed. Beginning an organization requires a skillset that’s unlikely to be in a single particular person, so search for somebody who has a complimentary skillset or a willingness to be taught.”

Associated: Seafood Souq Co-Founder Fahim Al Qasimi Is Constructing “A UAE-Born Enterprise That Will Change The World”



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