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A Decade In Review: Elie Habib, Co-Founder And CTO, Anghami "I remain committed to this path, embracing the title of a builder, and eagerly anticipating what the next 10 years may hold. I aspire to perpetually stay teachable and evolve, ensuring that each day is filled with excitement for the projects I'm building."

By Aby Sam Thomas

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

Elie Habib, co-founder and CTO of Anghami. Source: Anghami

With its February 2024 issue, Entrepreneur Middle East celebrates its 10th anniversary! To mark this milestone, we revisiting 10 entrepreneurs and entities that we featured in the publication a decade ago- we find out how far they have come, and what's next for each of their stories.

If one were to track all of the accomplishments that Lebanon-born Anghami has realized since it was founded as a startup in 2012, it's safe to say that it would result in a list that'd leave just about anyone enthralled. Today, as one of the region's leading music streaming platforms, the company's future is looking incredibly bright, but it is Anghami's steadfastness as a business that should make it a role model for entrepreneurial endeavors in the region and beyond.

"Anghami started as an application with the aim of meeting a market need by providing music content for users," recalls Elie Habib, co-founder and CTO of Anghami. "However, over the past decade, Anghami has evolved into a platform and entertainment ecosystem in the MENA region. The focus has shifted from just its product to building a sustainable business, resulting in the company's successful listing on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, positioning it as the first Arab tech company to achieve this milestone."

Anghami is today not just the music service that it was when Entrepreneur Middle East first featured it in February 2014; it has expanded its offerings to include podcasts, audiobooks, and live radio. While it boasts of an extensive library already, Anghami has also launched Anghami Studios, which aims to link artists with brands, and create content for Anghami and third parties. This new entity is also behind Anghami Spotlight, which stages live live events and concerts for artists, and it has launched its first hospitality arm, Anghami Lab, located at Riyadh Boulevard in Saudi Arabia, which, while being one of the first venues in the country to have live performances, also aims to discover local artists and talents.

Meanwhile, Anghami is also set to combine its business with fellow homegrown brand OSN+ -the region's leading streaming platform for premium content- in a merger that was famously declared to be set to "reshape the MENA entertainment landscape." Habib, who has been earmarked to lead this new venture -which will be the MENA region's first integrated music and video streaming platform- as CEO, is thus, quite unsurprisingly, excited about how Anghami will evolve as it moves into the future.

Related: "Big Ambitions And High Expectations" For Anghami's Merger With Fellow Homegrown Brand OSN+ To Create New MENA Streaming Giant

Anghami's Elie Habib with OSN Group's Joe Kawkabani. Image courtesy Anghami/OSN Group.

"The upcoming OSN+ merger will allow Anghami to cater to a larger user base, and offer series, movies, and other forms of content, making it a comprehensive media company that can engage users throughout the day," he notes. "Over its 10-year journey, Anghami has evolved personally and professionally, with an open mind, low ego, disdain for perfection, and a focus on key business key performance indicators being the key elements that helped us achieve success. Understanding the need to change our strategy while maintaining our vision was not as evident at the beginning of Anghami's journey as it is today."

From a personal perspective, Habib is looking forward to his evolution as an entrepreneur- or, as he likes to call himself, a "builder." "My journey as a builder began long before I even knew the term 'entrepreneur,'" Habib says. "Fueled by determination and creativity, I commenced constructing my first one-man business prior to attending university. I remain committed to this path, embracing the title of a builder, and eagerly anticipating what the next 10 years may hold. I aspire to perpetually stay teachable and evolve, ensuring that each day is filled with excitement for the projects I'm building. I also hope I can inspire my children to learn from my failures, so that they can do better in their own careers."

With wishes and dreams like these set to underline all of his efforts for Anghami's next chapter, Habib seems eager to simply just get going with it all. "Today, I am extremely excited about the future, because of the OSN+ merger that opens up opportunities I was yearning for," he says. "In fact, my goal today is to create a media company that is unique in the region. Personally, I am trying to constantly learn more, I don't think I ever learned as much. As Charlie Munger said, 'I think a life properly lived is just to learn, learn, learn all the time.'"

Hindsight is 20/20: Then-Versus-Now With Elie Habib

Looking back at the stage of your entrepreneurial/career/business trajectory you were in 10 years ago, is there anything you'd do differently knowing what you know now? Alternatively, what's the biggest lesson you wish you'd known 10 years ago?

"Retrospectively, I recognize that some decisions in my past could have been approached differently. In the realm of building a successful media company, I now understand the importance of assigning equal weight to finance, technology, content, and distribution. Had I known then what I know now, I would have emphasized this balance from the beginning. And if I were to send myself a message, I'd urge myself to keep driving innovation- within self-imposed constraints. The term "constraints" is crucial here- they often breed resourcefulness, and they are underappreciated in many startups. Instead, an abundance of resources can sometimes hinder creativity and growth. By embracing limitations early on, we set ourselves up for long-term success and adaptability in today's dynamic entrepreneurial landscape."

Related: A Decade In Review: Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed, Founder And CEO, KBW Ventures

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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