So you have this landscape. I was one of the biggest clients of [11:53]. It was a fun time, but when I realize I could never make it to the NBA or even the EuroLeague, I’m like, “Okay. Read our September newsletter here. Subscribe to our free email updates. We literally had to increase the size of the office for no reason other than getting visas. : Okay. Again, I’m not blaming them. Idriss Al Rifai: Thanks a lot, Alejandro. It’s like you’re trying to buy shoes, and you can only buy one shoe. Alejandro: Okay. What does that world look like? Dubai, however has this entrepreneurial energy where things happen. Therefore, we serve eCommerce better. Like you said, I’m a big basketball fan. : You can reach me through Twitter. If I had to give advice to myself, I would say, do read some horror stories because this is the most likely scenario. • Always exceed expectations. Looking back at it, if I had somebody pitch to me saying, “You’re going to disrupt giants, multi-billion-dollar businesses that are already present in 150 countries, I would have said, “You’re crazy, man. Let’s put the facts, and then let’s put 80% of luck that came into this because let’s not pretend everything is because of hard work. What happened is we did a 1.2 million dollar raise for a seed, and we got about half of it but already hit the bank. I think there is something fundamentally wrong about it, and I think probably our kids or the kids of our kids will smile at the idea that a package has to be delivered to an address rather than to where they are now because this is where I want it. It’s very much like a startup where the CEO doesn’t know what the head is doing, and he’s trying to surround himself with a team that knows what they’re doing in their field. Then, I write reports at night, don’t sleep, and eat whatever I can find for a few months. What happened there? Fetchr is also the first company in MENA to raise $52M in funding to date ($11M Series A and $41M Series B), led by a top tier Silicon Valley VC, New Enterprise Associates. So, basically, the ability to see the situations not through your own eyes but through the eyes of the people you’re talking to. As a founder, you tell a lot of stories to investors, to people you sell, to your first clients, to your first customers, to people who want to leave their job to take a pay cut to join you. Fetchr is the first company in MENA to raise $11M in Series A funding, led by a Silicon Valley VC, New Enterprise Associates. Would you mind expanding on that? It was the second month in a row. They’re really crazy. With easy-to-use, proprietary shipping, the fetchr app and logistics software, we take the hassle out of online shopping. Alejandro: That probably gave you the team effort mentality, and that combined with the Special Forces, what an incredible combination there. I’ve got people in the cars delivering stuff.” The guy understood, but he could not bend the rules. First, you get visas to be able to grow. For example, we’re in the Free Zone in Dubai. Again, do not do that at all. One of the next features we are going to launch is international peer to peer deliveries, allowing anyone to send a package internationally just by pressing two buttons on his cell phone. But she put 60% of her savings, which was like 45,000 euros, into the business so I could survive one more month. With easy-to-use, proprietary shipping, the fetchr app and logistics software, we take the hassle out of online shopping. Idriss Al Rifai: I think the biggest thing that I learned from this type of experience is — in a way, Special Forces, and like a traditional army, which is very hierarchical and everybody knows what they’re supposed to do, Special Forces is a lot more of a patchwork of people. She worked all her life and didn’t save a lot, so she put 60% of her savings. It’s like it’s a crazy bet, but at the end of the day, they’re following. I put that back into the business, and now we could survive two more months. I could not walk away because they were the only game in town. It’s crazy, but you need to have that discussion with your investors and tell them this is how it works. 3) You’re talking about emerging markets where 80 or 90% of transactions happen on smartphones. I’m not going to say names, but basically, the regional [11:56] that we have in the Middle East, and they were just not even listening. https://gulfbusiness.com/five-minutes-idriss-al-rifai-ceo-founder-fetchr I completely agree with you that it’s all about storytelling. Again, do not do that at all. Idriss Al Rifai: As you know, nothing is black and white. Idriss Al Rifai, founder of Fetchr, was born in Iraq to a French mother. Obviously, they know a lot more about survival than I do. What potential do you see for Fetchr in the UAE market? How big is the business for the people who are listening to get a sense of the size? Idriss has developed and optimized a last mile delivery solution specifically for the e-commerce needs and requirements in the Middle East. : Got it. I did a couple of classes. : Raised in the South of France. I remember the days when I was just tired of people seeing me as the company and do not even see me as a person. I think if you’re the driver of the bus, you do not care how the people are going to work together. Alejandro: That’s amazing. : Oh, for sure. It just doesn’t make sense. Twenty-five percent of the transactions do not happen because I cannot find the customers, which is crazy. They’re really crazy. I really love what consulting gives you, which is very much being able to break big problems into small problems and then tackle those. I knew I needed it. 1) There is no address. Idriss Al Rifai: I would say a very untraditional background. What happened there? Previously Idriss Al Rifai worked for MarkaVIP, a leading eCommerce player in the MENA region, where he headed the operations and built an in-house logistics department for the company to expedite deliveries. We’ll find you. Tell us what happened. : For the company. If you had the opportunity to go back in time, Idriss, and have a chat with your younger self, with that younger Idriss that was about to make the jump from that Marka startup where you were working, to build your own. Yes, our goal is to expand across the GCC and other key markets that face similar issues. Instead of that, we wanted to put the customer back into the driver’s seat. We went to France, and then we stayed there, and I was raised in France. 6. Why do the logistic companies have to go with a physical address that does not move while we will find you wherever you are. Idriss Al Rifai: Yeah, rents. But because the result is good, it doesn’t mean that it was the right decision. Actually, it was already spent. The company successfully exceeded competitors’ delivery rates and customer satisfaction scores by focusing on technological solutions to facilitate customer convenience. They’ve been with me since we crossed paths. Then you realize that 30% is gone, just based on your rent. Her name is Joy. It’s not like I work one day, and I’m like, this is my chance. I hit it off with Scott and a couple of partners. , and that kind of stuff. What I found that I used the most for my consulting years, in a way, is the story writing. So, it hurts quite a lot of your cash flow, so think about it. My business is in careers. Alejandro: In your case, you also didn’t find a bank account. I think I would trade 100% early-stage skillsets for passion. But if you look at emerging market as a whole, you’re talking about 90% emerging market. It’s not like in the West. Idriss Al Rifai . If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. : I think the biggest thing that I learned from this type of experience is — in a way, Special Forces, and like a traditional army, which is very hierarchical and everybody knows what they’re supposed to do, Special Forces is a lot more of a patchwork of people. Are you ready to put everything at stake? It’s like how you started disappearing, and how everything gets absorbed in your startup. 8. Thanks for having me. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. But I really wanted to join the startup world. In addition to its B2C and standard C2C deliveries powered through its app, Fetchr also recently launched an on-demand delivery service, the first of its kind in the region. We went to France, and then we stayed there, and I was raised in France. It’s good. Think about how I look now. I’m going to wire that domestically and internationally.” I do understand how a bank could be about this. It’s very difficult. I think that people get convinced if you see passion. But the reality is, this shows how disconnected they are with reality. Maybe because impassionate or maybe because I’m who I am. 2) Cash on delivery. How did this happen? Again, one of the things that are very interesting in the Mid-East, and especially in Dubai, is that you have to pay your rent upfront for the full year. Tell us about the rents. We are launching a flock of new features. Twenty-five percent of the transactions do not happen because I cannot find the customers, which is crazy. I went to six banks. Here, we have someone that was a former pro basketball player and then also went to the Special Forces. So lowered our pre-valuation, different types of rights, class of shares, all of it. It is a lot of selling, I think. I hit it off with the whole partnership. I’m sure that this experience as a consultant taught you a lot. Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below. 2. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. That’s what you have. In your case, tell us about the experience with the bank account. Fetchr (www.fetchr.us) helps local merchants and global brands build, launch and grow profitable eCommerce businesses. That’s one: lack of address. Now is my chance to shine, and here’s the problem that I’m going to be tackling. You just realize, “How can this make sense?” But that’s how it is. Fetchr (formerly, MENA360) provides businesses a solution for entering the ecommerce space in the region and for reaching customers via their mobile devices. The potential is huge. I’m @idriss_alrifai at Twitter. We want to make shipping as easy as shopping, making delivery and pick up as easy as two clicks. It just doesn’t make sense. Ecommerce in the Middle East is still nascent – local and international brands have a challenging time navigating the market in which inefficient processes and the lack of post addresses lead to long delivery times and high return rates. I found out it was completely unfair. I, personally, think that it put a lot of pressure on me, but that’s another problem. We felt that there was something that was disconnected from reality, so instead of that, we’re like, “I don’t care about your address. It’s not like I work one day, and I’m like, this is my chance. : Yep, and I remember that book, too. Obviously, it’s completely different after that, but you need people that are as driven as you, almost like who are possessed with the business. I think the equation was wrongly stated. Idriss holds an MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Let me come back to this. But on the Series A, that’s when you guys finally open it up to sophisticated folks, and I know that you had quite an interesting story there that happened with a VC the last minute. I was sitting all the way at the end of the bench, but I could say I was pro. I did a couple of classes. Some of these classes were steered quite a lot inside me, so I knew this was what I wanted, and I was just waiting for the next right opportunity. They just believed in me, believed in the business. Then, I joined the personal staff of the Minister of Defense. But for us, it’s about four to five times lower in some of the markets. Obviously, it creates a lot of difficulties on the backend, making sure that the routing position is correct and that you can actually find the customers.