YallaBit Offers Kuwait Residents A Simple And Fast Way To Enter The Crypto Market
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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.
Founded in 2017 by co-founders Talal Al Yaseen and Ali Taqi, YallaBit is a cryptocurrency broker that allows users to instantly buy and sell various cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH). The co-founders saw that with cryptocurrency, the problem is knowledge and access, such as people not knowing how to access it or even take the first step to have it. “Acquiring cryptocurrency can often require a lot of documentation and a lengthy verification process, therefore, people can often miss out on opportunities because they cannot purchase it on the same day,” says Al Yaseen, CEO and co-founder. The team introduced YallaBit to offer a simple and fast way for Kuwait residents to enter and exit the crypto market, without going through the complicated process other exchanges may require.
On their early days, the CEO notes how their targets were problems their users were facing, with most of their problems constantly evolving. At first, they needed to test and verify they had a viable product that people, which they did through a simple live chat. Users were able to chat, pay and get their crypto. “We then got flooded with chats and requests as bitcoin for the first time in history, hit US$19,666,” Al Yaseen recalls.
With the lack of manpower and overload of chat requests, the team missed 50% of their requests- which posed another problem of building a system that can automate the process. They were able to automate the process, and they were faced with another issue, “how can we automate the full cycle of entering and exiting the market all on the same day? [How can we] cash in and out on the same day instantaneously?” This is when the team further developed the system to be able to verify, buy and cash out all on the same.
And result? Al Yaseen calls their customers reaction as unprecedented, as after launching YallaBit, on the first week itself, the team surpassed their target by “a hundred times.” With zero marketing budget and simply using word-of-mouth, the team felt the market was hungry for the service: “I believe that the reason was many people wanted to enter the market instantaneously as bitcoin was at its all-time high, and we were offering a service where people could buy crypto with the facility of their mother tongue, which is Arabic.”
With a crycptocurrency calculator on its site, the platform lets users use ther Knet payment system (a joint venture of the national banks of Kuwait which accepts local debit cards issued by the member banks) to buy cryptocurrency instantly, buy and sell without having to transfer money to an exchange center or wait for someone to fill your order, and have access to Arabic and English live chat and phone support.
As for its business model, Al Yaseen most of their services are free- they don’t charge for offering custodian services (“which is basically, securing our customer’s money”), or if people want to learn about cryptocurrency. They simply have a buy and sell commission. “We tried as much as we could not to complicate the process and not add hidden fees. We just focused on the main goal which was giving people the opportunity to buy and sell cryptocurrency in the least complicated manner in the fastest time possible.” With future plans of expanding across the MENA region and beyond, this startup is one to watch.
Excerpt from a conversation with Talal Al Yaseen, CEO and co-founder, YallaBit:
What has been the most negative feedback on your product that you have received and how did you go about it?
In the beginning, we were doing everything manually via live chat, but it wasn’t sufficient enough for the customers. They were being delayed as we were overloaded, and we simply didn’t have the manpower to handle it all. The main negative feedback was 'you guys are not fast enough!' There was sometimes a 20 to 30 people queue on chat waiting to be served. We solved it by building a system and automating it, then all the people we were not able to serve had the chance to sign up and purchase on their own without live chat. We never consider any feedback to be negative, we actually take the time to go over every single negative comment from customers and see how we can improve our service and also see what else they want to see implemented and how we can make it happen.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
Any entrepreneur whether in or out of Kuwait really needs to take the problem/solutions seriously. If you create something that doesn’t solve the problem, it will surely not go anywhere and won’t take off. You really need to ask yourself, is what I am doing solving the problem and what exactly is the problem you are trying to solve. The secret sauce is to focus on solving one problem at a time, a solution that you can provide to your customers.
The YallaBit team: Ali Taqi, CTO, Rasha Al Fahad, COO, and Talal Alyaseen, CEO
What are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Aspiring entrepreneurs need to focus on finding a problem that they are passionate to provide the perfect solution for. Meaning, the right amount of work or business that could reach out to their target customers and to always have a problem at hand. Never do food and beverage just because the country is into food and beverage.