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Experimenting Through Innovation: Kuwait's One Global Is On A Mission To Achieve Holistic Digital Disruption Across The Business Ecosystem Through its services Og Business and Og Stack, this Kuwait-based digital transformation and innovation company is looking to achieve greater automation of processes and create a decentralized marketplace for the business ecosystem.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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

One Global
Mohammed Al Rashidi, founder and executive chairman, One Global

"It was a decision where we could have attended and watched the whole endeavor become a failure, or one where we took the risk and went all out to give an impactful presentation- we did the latter!" Very early on during our conversation, this statement by Mohammed Al Rashidi, founder and executive chairman of tech company One Global (Og), gives me a glimpse into how he operates as a businessman.

Launched in 2004 and billed as a digital transformation and innovation company with a key focus on fintech, Og is a multi-faceted company with multiple offerings- Og Business, Og Stack, Og Think, Og Chain, and Og Hub, among others. And in the opening statement here, Al Rashidi describes his mindset when he was presented with the opportunity to showcase these five particular services at this year's GITEX GLOBAL x Ai Everything, a technology sourcing and networking event that was held in Dubai in October. Of these five platforms, Og Think is a data analytics and adaptive artificial intelligence (AI) platform, Og Chain is a decentralized platform for tokenizing Islamic Sharia Sukuk, shares, funds and other securities, and Og Hub is a deep tech platform focused on supporting young entrepreneurs and innovators through mentorship and workshops.

However, it is the first two platforms, Og Stack and Og Business, that Al Rashidi has his business lens focused on. In a conversation with Entrepreneur Middle East in late 2019, Al Rashidi had expressed his goal to create a decentralized financial services marketplace that would help banks and other financial institutions digitally transform and also foster the growth of startups. With Og Stack and Og Business, the founder believes that he has perhaps exceeded those set expectations. "Og Stack was meant for that particular declaration where we mentioned decentralized financial services," he recalls. "But we mentioned only financial services because the context at that time was fintech. But the platform is beyond just fintech now!"

But even with big goals in mind, Al Rashidi and his team are pacing ahead with caution. While Og Stack is live, and has been launched in Mexico, Switzerland and the UAE, it is still essentially in its experimentation stage. "These are the three countries that we've launched the platform in as a trial for startups," adds Al Rashidi. "We have seen the tractions of the startups that are joining, and we are monitoring all the challenges they are facing and fixing things immediately."

With Og Stack's platform, startups can enroll their services into an online ecosystem that can infuse their offerings within a single integrated software development kit (SDK). "Og Stack is a collaborative platform that can connect startups, entrepreneurs, regulators, investors, enterprises, and customers all together in one platform to foster digital innovation," adds Al Rashidi. For the less tech-savvy among us, it is perhaps important to first understand what this entails. SDKs are software tools and programs that developers can use to build applications for specific platforms and also to integrate these applications with the services on offer. In layman terms, what Og Stack offers startups and businesses is the opportunity to integrate their entire service menus into one single platform, without having to necessarily stress over contracting and paying developers or software professionals. "It is a center of fusion for creating your own services - from creating the initial business profile to hosting services onto the Og Stack platform," adds Al Rashidi. "So startups no longer need to hire a third party to receive security as a service, encryption as a service or even business support services like commercial agreements and service-level agreements. All these can be received within a single integrated SDK. They just need to certify their software into the SDK, and then publish it into a global marketplace where other enterprises and startups can consume the service from the other end."

Mohammed Al Rashidi, founder and executive chairman, One Global. Source: One Global

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The platform isn't catering purely to the needs and requirements of entrepreneurs and enterprises alone though. According to Al Rashidi, it also eases tasks for investors and regulators. "What we've ensured is that the startup's clients can also enroll in the platform and share their feedback, which in turn allows investors to see how many clients have subscribed to the platform of a particular startup and how much they've generated," he explains. "This ensures that there is visibility and clarity." Within the regulatory aspect, Al Rashidi explains how a simulation platform, known as "the sandbox", is used to ensure all the legal frameworks required to run a business. "Although the regulator part is disabled for the time being, what it will allow is for the regulators to test the service themselves via the simulation environment and understand how the service is functioning, in order to put in the right regulatory controls immediately," he adds.

The other platform, Og Business, is almost like a direct successor to build on Og Stack's operations. Created as an avenue that enables customized payment solutions and an easy checkout process, Og Business' payment gateway can be used by startups, web stores as well as e-commerce retailers across different industries. "Og Business is essentially a payment platform," says Al Rashidi. "In fact, Og Business was born out of the services created by Og Stack." Additionally, the platform also eases the payment process for merchants by generating QR codes that can be used to receive digital payments without point-of-sale devices. The platform is also designed to process multiple global currencies to ensure a wider customer base.

And so, through Og Business and Og Stack it is evident how Og as a company has gone a step further from its initial plan to create digital transformation in the fintech sector alone. "We are fostering digital transformation across the ecosystem, especially for domains that are not tech-driven but want to be," adds Al Rashidi. "So, in addition to the already existing industries like healthtech, traveltech, energytech and agritech, we are also targeting industries like fashiontech, retailtech, artstech, and spacetech." Al Rashidi is also quick to point out that Og's initial vision was capable of being catapulted into several different industries due to the coronavirus crisis.

But this isn't where the digital transformation goals end for One Global. Through Og Business and Og Stack, the founder is looking towards the next major step in the digitization journey: automation of services. "A lot of industries were not interested in going digital prior to the pandemic and saw it as a luxury," says Al Rashidi. "But today, with it having become a necessity, many don't have the knowledge to digitize their operations. So a service like Og Stack would be simplifying their life, and with Og Business we are now looking to automate the processes of the industry actors."

Now, although digital disruption forms the backbone of Og's operations, Al Rashidi says the ultimate goal is to create a better quality of life for people. "That's why our vision is "elevating humanity by connecting life,'" he says. "So, we are not connecting humans to life; life is connected to them through technology. What we are trying to achieve through the automation of services is to elevate the quality of human life." And Al Rashidi believes his company's vision is inadvertently catering to some of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, such as achieving gender equality and reducing poverty. "By enrolling onto Og Stack, more female entrepreneurs are given an equal opportunity to pitch their ideas and run their own businesses," he says. "With Og Stack, it also doesn't matter whether you live in the countryside or in a metropolitan city- it gives equal accessibility to a variety of markets whether you are operating from a coworking space or a garage. The way we see it, with a few lines of code, you can reach the global markets!"

At this point, Al Rashidi emphasizes that Og Stack and Og Business are simply catalyzing innovation and technological disruption among startups. "Infrastructure development, innovation, economic growth- all of these can be achieved with Og Stack's operations and it's fueling innovation within the ecosystem by using startups-driven innovations," he says. "So it's not like we are doing this. It is the startups themselves that are fostering corporate innovation." And it is this mindset that the founder is looking to carry into the next phase of the company's growth. "We have launched our mission to provide smart life as a service by 2030," he says, alluding to the automation goals mentioned earlier. "2021 is the first year of this ten-year mission, so we are excited to continue. And at every stage we will be releasing some of our interesting launches and achievements- so that we always keep the audience teased!"

Related: Maximizing In-Country Value: The Key To Qatar's Economic Future

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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