Episode 14 - Pet care, healthtech, e-pharma, and unexpected parallels between Europe and MENA
The global pet care industry was estimated to be at c. $200B in 2020. It is, in fact, larger than the baby care market (c. $70B) and trailing shortly behind the child care industry (c. $270B), with pet owners spending more and at a higher rate on their pets. In MENA, the market remains a bit of a curiosity, with pet ownership seemingly on the rise and a tangible change in perception of what taking care of a pet entails. In the last two years alone, there has been a flurry of new products and services on offer to satisfy every pet’s dietary, accessories, and care needs.
In Episode 14 of our podcast, we spoke to Florian Seubert, cofounder and venture partner at Maxburg Capital Partners. Florian started his career at JP Morgan before launching Europe’s largest pet supplies e-commerce platform, Zooplus. We dive into what it took to build a successful pet care company at the cusp of the dot-com boom and Zooplus’s subsequent expansion to over 30 European markets.
Our conversation with Florian drew an interesting and unexpected parallel between the European and MENA markets, from digitization (or lack thereof), scaling in fragmented markets, and the potential of industry roll-ups. Florian also shares his insight on the evolution of the tech landscape in Europe, particularly within healthtech and e-pharma, and how Maxburg Capital Partners is laying the foundations for the future of tech on the continent.
Episode 13 - Is the mental health space about to have its penicillin moment?
Similar to the healthcare industry, the mental health care and provision system was built for and within an environment that has since greatly shifted. While the mental healthcare system has traditionally depended on therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, the supply of qualified professionals is thin, particularly in MENA. Research in the space has stalled, particularly on specificity of treatments or discovery of new treatments as a whole, and data tends to be extremely scarce. This is, again, even more so the case in MENA. By and large, the mental health and wellness space will need to catch up to adequately serve our post-2020 world.
We may still be at the cusp of a shift in mindset when it comes to mental health in the region, but there is a tangible, sharp rise in awareness, particularly post-pandemic. The evolution of the space, it seems, hinges more than ever on technology, coupled with substantial developments in research.
A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Fares Ghandour, cofounder of Tuhoon. We have known Fares for years, as one of the earliest investors in MENA, and were keen on listening to his experience of moving to the operator side, and building a company in a sector that is, perhaps, about to see its own penicillin moment.
Episode 12 - A Renaissance man in the Digital age
The Lighthouse seems to sit at the nexus of venues that are at once both familiar and inviting. A place where conversation, culture, literature and curiosity intertwine at ease and unfettered. Perhaps a Fitrovia Tavern to the budding Dubai Bloomsbury group.
As Hashem comes from an academic household, with a father he describes as an “economist at heart”, and a mother with an unparalleled level of curiosity and a strong interest in Art, we were curious about which elements Hashem brought into The Lighthouse, which he cofounded with Hani Bassiouni.
We trace back Hashem’s journey from asset management and finance, his first entrepreneurial experience, and the toolkit the cofounders built on for The Lighthouse. We dive into the dialectic of the aesthetic and the analytical, with Hashem and Hani marrying both their commercial and cultural instincts to build a sustainable commercial enterprise and the wider role technology and entrepreneurship play in a rapidly changing society.
Episode 11 - Building for giants
With Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) increasingly looking to sell directly to consumers, Seez pre-empted the disruption coming to traditional dealerships by building a full suite of SaaS-based products allowing them to provide a real omnichannel experience. As end-consumers, we are probably more familiar with the Seez marketplace and car valuation data. But behind the scenes, cofounders Tarek Kabrit, Andrew Kabrit, and the Seez team have been innovating upstream, and have done so by building deep partnerships with car dealers to help the latter go online.
Episode 10 - The coverage conundrum, and why we all still have a lot of work to do
Media is a difficult industry. It is resource-intensive, extremely high-touch, and requires a constant state of being switched on to developments within sectors of focus. It is even more challenging in an atmosphere where things move faster than in traditional industries, and where the market is in constant flux.
There is a need to elevate the quality of coverage dedicated to entrepreneurship, and the onus is on startups, investors, and the media. That doesn’t necessarily mean more coverage. There is still progress to be made when it comes to transparency and the willingness to share. Crushing goals, expansions, mistakes, and failures are all an integral part of that narrative. Coverage is a two-way street, and a result of building relationships with the media over time, rather than pelting editors with press releases – something we will be looking at more deeply as we continue to speak with editors and founders alike.
For Episode 10 of our podcast, Khaled and I turn the tables on Zubair Naeem Paracha, founder of MENABytes. We were curious about how a platform, built by one person as a side gig, became one of the few noteworthy media outlets for startups. We dig into his perspective of how coverage of the space has evolved and what founders and their teams, investors, and editors need to do to unlock more value.
Episode 9 - This is not investment advice
There is a clear paradigm shift in how we think of wealth generation and capital more broadly.
While previous generations may have primarily relied on passive income, today’s generations have a clear and rising appetite for a different kind of investment. And even more so in our markets, where current offerings are mostly directed towards higher-income segments and remain traditional and rigid, while international platforms are inaccessible or costly.
For Episode 9 of the Nuwa Capital podcast, Khaled and Sarah spoke with Feras Jalbout, founder and CEO of baraka (getbaraka.com), to discuss the timing behind his leap into entrepreneurship and baraka, and what next-gen retail investors and the markets they’ll be investing in may look like.
baraka launched its mobile investment app on August 3, after successfully building a large community through its content hub and daily market newsletter. It boasts a waitlist of over 10,000 users from across the Middle East, a testament to the large unmet demand in the market.