Kuwait's Aybiz Uses Crowdsourcing And AI Curation Techniques To Give You The Best Recommendations In MENA
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This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
Launched in 2016, Aybiz utilizes crowdsourcing and AI curation techniques to provide an interactive local business search engine that will allow users to easily explore the largest list of places to go in Kuwait and soon across the region. Its founding team consists of Mohammad AlEisa, Chief Executive Officer, Talal AlMousherji, Chief Operating Officer, and Rawan AlEisa, Chief Marketing Officer. With an aim to solve the problem between the transparency, the platform uses crowdsourcing and AI to customize a user’s browsing experience by recommending local businesses that might be of interest to you.
The platform provides various ways for people to rate, review and recommend businesses in Kuwait (with a lookout to expand its offerings in MENA). AlEisa says they hope the customized experience will help people “make more educated decisions like ‘Which Italian restaurant is better?’ or ‘Which beauty clinic has a better service?’ or ‘Where should I take my kids out this weekend?’ or ‘What are some vegan options near me?’ or ‘Where can I shop for office materials?’”
The response for the platform, available as an app for iPhone and Android devices, have been positive as they found it useful and helpful. As for their business model, their revenue stream includes advertisements and a B2B monthly membership. “The B2B monthly membership provides data licensing, photography, discounts for business affairs, targeted notifications, and real-time extensive analytics,” says AlEisa, with more features such as real-time analytics and grounds operations assistance added over time as they studied consensus and focus groups of business owners’ needs.
Fresh from a pre-Series A funding round wherein they received US$1.8 million, they plan to use the capital to increase the amount of data on their platform and expand across MENA. “We are planning to use and curate this data to help people avoid decision paralysis within their day to day lives like ‘where to go out for dinner?’ or ‘what are some affordable gyms near me?’”
Excerpt from a conversation with Mohammad AlEisa, Chief Executive Officer, Aybiz:
What has been the most negative feedback on your products/services/business solutions that you have received and how did you go about it?
Some people would say “Why shouldn’t I use Google to search for businesses instead?” We believe that the future of business discovery should be customized to a local experience. Users usually use Aybiz to discover new businesses they never really knew existed as opposed to searching for a particular business they have mind. Aybiz takes this approach one step further by allowing users to shop, and interact with those businesses in a very unique and localized way.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
Based on our humble experience in the entrepreneurial field, here are some points to take into consideration before diving into it: patience and persistence, always have a partner, ask for help when it comes to Ministry affairs, that saves you time! As well as never be shy to ask for help from experienced entrepreneurs on your chosen industry, collaborate with individuals and corporates in your chosen industry. It’s also important to make friends, not enemies, and share your ideas and knowledge with others, including your team and never shy away from sharing, even before inception because that will give you in depth insights on the do’s and don’ts.
Lastly, what are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Firstly, government entities and organizations help fund entrepreneurs for loans with relatively low interest rate, lend in purchase of office equipment, and invites to free of charge seminars and incubation programs. Secondly, the Kuwaiti business environment is healthy and competition is a driving force for your chosen industry. Finally, don’t look for what is lacking in the market, but look for your passion and excel in your chosen path.