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Building A Legacy: ANAX Holding Chairman Satish Sanpal This serial entrepreneur is eager to carve out an indelible mark on the UAE's business landscape.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

ANAX Holding

Satish Sanpal is no stranger to the ebbs and flows that come with the entrepreneurial realm. Indeed, it was the years of experience he gained working across a range of industries like events and commodities trading, which culminated in the formation of ANAX Holding, a UAE-based investment firm, in 2018. Built with, as Sanpal puts it, "towering ambition, innovation, and excellence," ANAX Holding is today marked by the establishment of three distinct subsidiaries: ANAX Developments, ANAX Hospitality, and ANAX Media.

"My journey as a serial entrepreneur has greatly influenced the vision I hold for ANAX Holding in terms of the many lessons -both good and bad- that one encounters through learning the thick and thin of business," Sanpal says. "It has nevertheless been an exciting journey that shapes my decisions, and forms the very fabric of how we operate today. The experience of launching and growing multiple businesses has granted me a unique perspective, and an innovative approach to business– what it has also taught me is that persistence and integrity pay off. And whilst it's been a rollercoaster ride of learning curves, failures, and successes, each venture has contributed to shaping my understanding of what it takes to build a successful enterprise."

Lessons learnt through his past entrepreneurial endeavors are thus governing his leadership of each of the ventures under ANAX Holding today. One of these is ANAX Developments, launched in January 2024, which seeks to create vibrant communities and sustainable spaces across residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments. According to Sanpal, choosing Dubai as the launchpad for ANAX Developments was a very easy decision. "Dubai has long been a magnet for international investors and expatriates due to its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and favorable business environment," he explains. "Recently, geopolitical and economic shifts have accelerated the inflow of Russian and Chinese nationals. This has been a key driver in the recent real estate boom. This trend has not only reshaped the Dubai real estate market, but also led to the implementation of the latest technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc. transforming the industry in remarkable ways."

ANAX Developments' debut project is the Vento Tower, which is aimed to be complete by the final quarter of 2025, and is set to boast of 225 furnished luxury studios and one-bedroom apartments, all of which will be equipped with the latest amenities and top-quality fitted appliances. "Featuring a Smart Home System by Bosch, residents of Vento Tower will experience modern living at its finest," Sanpal declares. "Additionally, a five-star hotel-style lobby with 24-hour security and a fully-fledged concierge service ensure residents feel welcomed and secure. We have spared no effort in ensuring exceptional quality and construction to create a true sense of home. Our ultimate goal is to foster a shift where our residents truly see Dubai as their new home. Our vision for Vento Tower is thus to set new benchmarks for accessible luxury real estate. Furthermore, we are excited to announce two additional projects in our immediate pipeline for Meydan and Al Furjan (both residential and commercial spaces in Dubai), which are set to be launched soon. These projects will continue our commitment to excellence and innovation, further enriching the real estate landscape in Dubai."

Related: Embracing The Experience Economy In Real Estate Through Digital Transformation

A scene from the ANAX Developments launch. Image courtesy ANAX Holding.

But creating a tangible impact within the UAE's real estate ecosystem is only one part of the plan Sanpal has mapped out for ANAX Holding- a second goal is to revolutionize the hospitality industry with its other subsidiary, ANAX Hospitality. "When it comes to ANAX Hospitality, our approach revolves around striking a delicate balance between innovation, sustainability, and an elevated guest experience," Sanpal says. "We've carefully considered what truly sets us apart in a highly competitive market, and we've identified these three pillars as essential for creating memorable and meaningful experiences for our guests. Moreover, we believe that prioritizing our core values ensures the long-term viability and success of our hospitality ventures. One project that we are truly excited about is our upcoming F&B concept. As we conceptualize this new concept, a restaurant lounge, we are drawing inspiration from the Far East, particularly places like Korea and Japan, for new concepts and experiences that can be replicated to delight our discerning guests' tastes. Asia leads the way in innovation, and we believe there's no better source to learn from than the best!"

Here, it's worth taking a moment to appreciate Sanpal's approach towards innovation- a value that the entrepreneur says is central to his success strategy. "In terms of innovation, we constantly strive to stay ahead of the curve by embracing new technologies, trends, and ideas that enhance the guest experience- whether it's implementing cutting-edge solutions and processes that elevate the overall guest experience, or introducing innovative dining concepts that cater to evolving tastes and preferences," he says. "At the same time, continuous learning and adoption of international best practices is an idea we put a lot of emphasis on. I feel that if someone's done it better, let's learn from them, and adopt new practices to ensure better standards across the board; let's always learn, evolve, and keep an open mind."

Related: The Middle East's Startup Hub: Making Dubai A Launchpad For Innovation

It is this notion of drawing inspiration from other successful ideas that Sanpal has also applied to his sustainability strategies within hospitality. "From implementing energy-efficient systems and reducing waste, to sourcing locally and supporting community initiatives, sustainability is deeply ingrained in everything we do," he says. "But taking this commitment a step further, we draw inspiration from Nordic countries, particularly regarding food recycling and waste. Sustainability is a massive priority in these countries, and their innovative approach to combining F&B with reducing the carbon footprint is both inspiring and creative. If it's a priority for them, it should be for all of us, and so, we want to ensure this is reflected throughout our operations, and that our people understand the importance of this across all their actions."

As such, ANAX Hospitality's upcoming F&B venture, which is yet to be named, is set to be a melting point of all of the aforementioned values that embody the subsidiary's existing operations. "This restaurant lounge will seamlessly blend innovation, sustainability, and guest experience to create an unparalleled dining and entertainment experience for discerning guests," Sanpal says. "From its extraordinary design and sustainable practices, to stellar service and exquisite cuisine, we hope to stand out with what we will introduce to our guests, whilst also prioritizing environmental stewardship and guest satisfaction. We are incredibly excited about this project, and confident that it will exemplify the ANAX Hospitality ethos in every aspect."

In the midst of preparing for the full-blown operations of ANAX Developments and ANAX Hospitality, there is also the inevitable launch of ANAX Media, the third subsidiary of ANAX Holding, looming on the horizon. And while that is certainly something Sanpal has an eye on, it is the first two subsidiaries that make up his immediate area of focus. "Over the past six years, we have largely achieved our initial vision by diversifying investments, and embracing new opportunities in a dynamic local and global economy," he adds. "This progress is evident in our anticipation of a 15% growth in our investment portfolio by the end of 2024. ANAX Holding thus remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering growth and development, while actively contributing to prosperity. Our ongoing journey is driven by managing our professional and financial assets strategically– venturing into real estate, followed by hospitality, made natural sense for us given the region's prosperous landscape, especially within those spheres. Beyond profitability, our goal has been to achieve meaningful milestones by fostering growth, encouraging innovation, and actively contributing to the region's prosperity with a commitment to leaving a positive mark on the world around us."

Satish Sanpal. Image courtesy ANAX Holding.

It is thus to initiate a positive shift in the business that Sanpal has also launched the Sanpal Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to address pressing socio-economic issues across the region and beyond. As such, the foundation's first area of focus has been the East African nation of Uganda. "Philanthropy being a foundation of a healthy society, our philanthropic efforts are integral to our vision, reflecting our commitment to giving back to the communities we serve," Sanpal says. "The Sanpal Foundation's efforts in Uganda are a testament to this commitment, as we strive to address pressing social and economic challenges, such as access to education, healthcare, and economic empowerment, and foremostly, addressing Uganda's clean water crisis, where a staggering 81% of the population lack access to clean water. As we expand our philanthropic endeavors, we are keen to bring the spirit of the Sanpal Foundation to Dubai, and are at the moment identifying new causes and initiatives that align with our values and priorities."

Sanpal's revelation of how he has curated and built each of his business endeavors, however, raises an inevitable question: how does he manage to oversee the operations of all three ANAX Holding subsidiaries, as well as his philanthropic foundation? "Primarily, I foster a culture of transparency, innovation, excellence, and trust within the organization- these values serve as our compass, guiding our mission to create value for stakeholders and seize new opportunities," Sanpal explains. "Secondly, I prioritize the development of operational aspects within ANAX Holding's subsidiaries to meet evolving market requirements. By closely monitoring market shifts and emerging technologies, we remain agile and ready to adapt our strategies accordingly. Thirdly, I encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas among teams in all subsidiaries. By fostering an environment where knowledge-sharing and creative problem-solving thrive, we aim to drive growth in every aspect of our business. Moreover, trusting our people is paramount. Empowering our teams with autonomy and responsibility fosters a sense of ownership and accountability, ultimately driving greater innovation and performance. Lastly, staying abreast of industry trends is non-negotiable. I dedicate time to continuous learning and networking within and beyond our industries to ensure we remain competitive and ensure continuity."

Here, citing the likes of Tesla founder Elon Musk, renowned investor Warren Buffet, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as his role models, Sanpal says integrity and authenticity will always remain pivotal to not only achieving success, but also in his mission to make a meaningful difference in the world. And even as ANAX Holding looks to expand into other markets (the most immediate of those being the United Kingdom), Sanpal says he first hopes to leave a lasting impact on the UAE market.

"We aspire to become a value-driven organization with a clear roadmap for expansion, and to put strong governance in place for the further development of ANAX Holding, but our aspiration for ANAX Holding's legacy within the UAE market in particular is one of profound impact and sustainable growth," Sanpal declares. "We envision ANAX Holding as a place of innovation, excellence, and ethical leadership, setting new standards of success, and contributing meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the region. With a go-getter mindset and an inspiring roadmap, we have many plans in our pipeline that we are pressing ahead to achieve. In short, our vision for ANAX Holding's legacy in the UAE market is one of excellence, innovation, and social responsibility. Through our diverse business ventures and philanthropic efforts, we seek to leave a lasting impact that extends far beyond financial success, enabling individuals and communities to thrive and prosper."

Related: Due For Disruption: The Changing Face Of The Real Estate Industry

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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