Episode 1: Business CatalystSadaf Abbas
Bridging the Gap Between Founding and Investing in Startups
In this episode, Sadaf Abbas interviews Ayoub Meddah about his entrepreneurial journey. Ayoub details his progression from a store manager at Nike’s Algeria distributor to the creation of his startup, “InDigital,” which merges traditional and digital marketing. They discuss the evolving startup ecosystem in Algeria, Ayoub’s plans for expansion, and the importance of a supportive company culture. Ayoub highlights potential future tech disruptors, acknowledges pivotal mentorship, and expresses his dedication to mentoring young e-commerce enthusiasts. The talk concludes with Ayoub’s vision for his startup and his commitment to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.
About Our Guest
Business Developer | Marketing Strategist | Founder of IN
Ayoub Meddah, a marketing graduate, quickly ascended to a managerial role at Nike’s Algerian distributor. With diverse experiences in beverages and telecommunications, he later transitioned into entrepreneurship. Ayoub co-founded an affiliate platform and has recently embarked on a new e-commerce and fintech startup venture.
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What You’ll Learn:
- Overview of Algeria’s emerging startup ecosystem.
- The significance of cultivating a company culture emphasizing innovation and collaboration.
- Origins of “InDigital” and the blend of traditional and digital marketing strategies.
- The rationale and impact of the COD Meeting for Algerian e-commerce players.
- Ayoub’s strategies for expanding his startup beyond Algeria.
- The influential role of Ayoub’s mentor, Mohammed Shawish, in his entrepreneurial journey.
- Potential industry disruptions from edge computing and FinTech.
- The benefits of having both local and international business exposure.
- Ayoub’s dedication to mentoring and training young e-commerce enthusiasts.
- Key advice for budding entrepreneurs on resilience, customer understanding, and ongoing education.
Sadaf Abbas: Thanks, Ayoub, you are in this meeting. So, let’s start. I have a question for you, have you had an impressive journey from working in various roles to funding your own startup? Can you share a bit about your background and what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Ayoub Meddah: I earned my marketing degree from the University in 2010. Initially, I started by working in Nike’s exclusive distributor here in Algeria as a store manager or the seller person. After just three months, upgrading the level to the store manager, I can experience it with a beverage company, a big beverage company here in Algeria, artists, and human resources. And the last role, and we’re making a beacon on the side of the personal projects.
Ayoub Meddah: My life experience was with the company in the telecommunication sector as a content manager of the company working on VA services. After this experience, maybe 12 years in Algeria, I’m starting my entrepreneurial journey with my first company. Firstly, first of all, I’m working after the experiences in E-commerce, doing small business in E-commerce and going directly to the digital marketing agency based in data-driven marketing, the making and make the experience with magma business accelerator here in Algeria, maybe the first business accelerator in NigeriaAlgeria after the experience I’m no one I’m focusing on the startup businesses and and have big experiences in maximum in the knowledge of startups everything like this. I launched my first affiliate platform with my partner, Zakariya; it was a great experience together. Now, I know I’m embarking on a new direction with the launch of a new start-up on a new project. It’s a platform of E-commerce and fintech,… of E-commerce and fintech.
Sadaf Abbas: So, let’s connect with your new startup. So what is frightening about InDigital oil startup, and how does it reflect your company goals and values?
Ayoub Meddah: The name of startup Digital In its was in spirit, my by the end of the results of my careers, and different experiences. It means I’m working in the digital. This is from where I’m getting the name. I’m mixing my experiences in digital and traditional marketing and digital marketing.
Sadaf Abbas: So you have been actively involved in building this startup ecosystem. Could you share your insight on the startup scene in Algeria and the MENA?
Ayoub Meddah: Certainly, the startup scene in Algeria is early; say it’s in its early stages of development. While the government has shown interest in fostering teen entrepreneurship, and there is some potential, it still faces challenges, such as access to it. I’m visiting JITEX in Dubai. I am making the first meeting or the first meetup of E-commerce players to see all the E-commerce players in Algeria. That’s all I think. Cairo, yeah, I’m visiting Cairo, Riyad, in the Arabiya Saudia.
Sadaf Abbas: what kind of company culture have you fostered in digital, and how do you ensure that your team is aligned with your mission and vision?
Ayoub Meddah: At Digital In, we have cultivated a company culture that embodies our values of innovation, collaboration and customer-centricity. Our mission and vision serve as the guiding principles that shape our culture and the way we operate.
Sadaf Abbas: So everyone loves a good origin story. So, can you take us back to the moment when the idea for In Digital first sparked in your mind, and What was the inspiration behind it?
Ayoub Meddah: The inspiration struck during my career journey, where I transitioned from roles in retail, human resources and content management to found my own textile campaign company eventually. Along the way, I realized the power of combining the best practices from both traditional and digital marketing to create more effective company campaigns.
Sadaf Abbas: Campaigns. Yeah. So my next question is, did you organize that COD meeting in the first forum of E-commerce practitioners in Algeria? What was the motivation behind this event? And what were the key takeaways?
Ayoub Meddah: The motivation behind organizing the COD meeting /cash on delivery meeting. The first forum for E-commerce participants in Alegria was to address the growth of E-commerce in Algeria markets and provide a platform for participants to share knowledge and insight. These events aimed to foster collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving with the e-commerce sectors and players.
Sadaf Abbas: Are there plans to expand your startup beyond Algeria or explore new markets?
Ayoub Meddah: Yes, absolutely. We are second in new markets beyond Algeria. And this is what we are working on right now. By launching full-in, we begin with in-depth market research, carefully assisting potential target markets based on factors like market size, competition, customer behavior and requirements. We actively seek out investors and VCs to help with the growth. And also capitalizing on their expertise and networks.
Sadaf Abbas: Hmm, learning from others is a vital part of growth. Have you had any mentors or role models who have influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
Ayoub Meddah: Certainly, there is the person who read his fingerprint in me, which is Mohammed Shawish, who was the founder of BMG group, the official distributor in Algeria. He was a leader, a great manager, patient. I learned a lot from him and from his experience.
Sadaf Abbas: So now I need to talk about digital startups. So how much investment do you require? Do you have a specific amount in mind?
Ayoub Meddah: Right now, we are building the financial plane; we set all our needs, our potential, our market size, our dreams and next steps, maybe 5,000k dollars,
Sadaf Abbas: What is the equity offer you want to offer to your investor? How much equity offer do you have?
Ayoub Meddah: It’s, it’s, it’s a kind of, we should talk with the investor about all the details and see the capability of investments with us. We decided together.
Sadaf Abbas: Okay, as someone with a finger on the pulse of technology and big commerce, what do you believe will be the most disruptive innovation in the near future?
Ayoub Meddah: ….And edge computing, FinTech, maybe this is the big innovation in the near future.
Sadaf Abbas: You have been involved in both local and international initiatives. How has Have You Got No Perspective benefited your startup and personal growth?
Ayoub Meddah: I think, first of all, being present in both local and international sense has greatly expanded my network options, introducing us to a vast range of possible clients, partners and mentors all around the world. In Digital… has helped In Digital to flourish by providing those two worldwide markets and key collaborations.
Sadaf Abbas: My second question is regarding your investor type. What kind of investors do you think in the region? Should it be either the USA or UAE, or are you open to all kinds of investors? In any region?
Ayoub Meddah: Yeah, yeah, we, we are open to all kinds of investors. But we want to make a partnership with investors who can help us. Who can help us in upgrading and raising the best steps in the startup? Maybe in the SaaS, maybe in the SaaS industry, we’d be better to help us, of course.
Sadaf Abbas: Looking ahead, what is your long-term vision? Where do you see your startup in the next five to 10 years?
Ayoub Meddah: If all the other things are good, the unicorn that has driven impact in the e-commerce Industry, you believe in that.
Sadaf Abbas: You mentioned supporting more than 30 young people and launching an e-commerce project through free training and support. What drove you to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurship? And what advice do you give them?
Ayoub Meddah: I’m really interested in the entrepreneur sector. The project we’re driven by my commitment to mature talents and fostering innovation. My advice to them is to stay resilient in the face of challenges, know their customers and educate themselves to adapt to the landscape and all the challenges we will face.
Sadaf Abbas: Any other advice you want to give them?
Ayoub Meddah: Almost all of the young people that I mentor or I help them they now launch their projects in e-commerce on another sector um, we’ll be happy for any help more of others. In this few days, maybe tomorrow, we will start big events in our area of E-commerce. I will be there to hold conferences and share the knowledge with them. I will share some photos with you after the events.
Sadaf Abbas: Thank you for this time; they will connect with you again for further processes and have a nice talking with you, and we will keep you updated on the next session we will have. Thank you.
Ayoub Meddah: Thank you so much. For your time and help with everything, we will meet the next time