Meet The Finalists of Dubai Startup Hub's Smartpreneur Competition 6.0: PalletPal

PalletPal's offerings aim to optimize freight shipments and streamline supply chain management.

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Palletpal is one of the top 10 startups pitching for prizes worth a total of AED150,000 at the finals of Dubai Startup Hub’s Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, which will be staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20, 2022. Register HERE to be a part of the event.    

PalletPal
Adel Hamwi, co-founder, PalletPal

For Adel Hamwi, Kareem Ghanam, Antonio Chidiac, and Ali Nawaz, co-founders of digital freight forwarder PalletPal, it was the observation of many lacking elements within the supply chain ecosystem that drove them towards creating their startup. “This kickstarted a period of regular brainstorming sessions between us co-founders, numerous field visits, endless discussions and feedback loops with prospective customers who are most impacted by the lack of progressive services in the space, and multiple iterations of the business we aspired to build,” says Hamwi. “We eventually landed on the current concept of PalletPal, as a next-gen digital solution for freight shipping.” 

However, Hamwi admits that the co-founders’ long-term goal for PalletPal to eventually become an end-to-end digital logistics solution initially created some doubt about which aspect of the industry they needed to start working with. “The deeper we dug into the huge number of problems in logistics, the more we realized how severely the industry is lagging,” says Hamwi. “To overcome this, we set ourselves a vision and objectives and simply started at the beginning of the supply chain: freight.” The startup’s offerings thus aim to optimize freight shipments and streamline supply chain management. By enabling the processing of multiple quotes, the platform enables vendors to request, compare, and select optimal offers with their preferred credit terms.  

PalletPal also helps business owners connect more easily with suppliers, as well as communicate with partners across each stage of shipment to ensure a more centralized supply chain. Furthermore, it also provides data insights, tracking features, and stored documentation to enable more informed and quick supply chain decisions. “The future of the supply chain industry is one rooted in total transparency, high speed, and maximum efficiency,” explains Hamwi. “PalletPal aims to realize this vision, attain new operational efficiency standards, and set the next ones throughout our journey into the future. Down the line, we aspire to become the go-to platform for companies to manage their end-to-end supply chain operations - be that by automating shipping decisions, recalibrating sourcing decisions, or optimizing trade routes.”  

Left to right Antonio Chidiac, Ali Nawaz, Adel Hamwi, and Kareem Ghanam, co-founders, PalletPal. Source: PalletPal.

Launched in early 2021, PalletPal has already raised US$200,000 in a pre-seed round from US-based Draper Associates, and according to Hamwi, being located in the UAE has been a big part of the impetus for the startup’s growth. “Having grown up in the UAE and been a part of the startup ecosystem for many years now as a founder and previously a coach at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) Innovation Accelerator, I’ve seen the tremendous strides being taken to make the UAE an even more attractive place to start a business,” Hamwi says. “Your network is your best friend when it comes to doing business in the UAE. There is also a lot of opportunity for growth across industries, and there is always a lot of support through the many government-backed events, accelerators, and funds.” 

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Today, as a finalist in Dubai Startup Hub’s Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, Hamwi and his team are now hoping to put all their experiences to good use when they pitch their startup at the contest’s finals that is being staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 on January 20, 2022, at Expo 2020 Dubai. “The natural discussions of our day-to-day lives as founders is how we practice for events such as Smartpreneur,” says Hamwi. “Whether in a professional or personal setting, you’re always talking about your startup as a founder, which makes for great practice. I do, however, like to practice standing up and with some movement to try and replicate the setting on the day.” When asked what his advice would be to other entrepreneurs who are contemplating partaking in such startup pitch competitions, Hamwi says, “Just remember this: there is no better way to practice pitching, affirm your problem statement, and validate your solution than by taking the stage and telling your story. Win or lose, the experience will only make you stronger!” 

Source: PalletPal.

With 2022 set to be PalletPal’s first fully operational year, Hamwi remains confident of what his startup could potentially achieve in the months to come. “We plan to continue to build on trying to solve the various problems in the industry through technology and operational excellence, onboard more customers, bring on additional team members, meet objectives and make freight shipping as quick and as easy as booking a flight!” he concludes.  

‘TREP TALK: PalletPal co-founder Adel Hamwi’s tips for entrepreneurs  

Know WHY your business exists. “Make sure you know what problem you’re solving and exactly how to communicate it.” 

Know WHAT you’re doing to solve the problem. “Ensure that what you build is not only a nice-to-have, but truly going to solve the problem you’ve outlined.” 

Know WHO you’re building for. “You might not have your product-market fit in your early days, but you will definitely have an ideal persona or archetype you want to target.” 

Palletpal is one of the top 10 startups pitching for prizes worth a total of AED150,000 at the finals of Dubai Startup Hub’s Smartpreneur Competition 6.0, which will be staged as part of Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Forum 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20, 2022. Register HERE to be a part of the event.    

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