Exclusive Q&A With Amira Rashad, CEO and Co-founder of BulkWhiz
Bulkwhiz is the first hassle-free online bulk grocery shopping platform in the UAE, powered by next generation artificial intelligence, and just closed a Series A round of funding led by investors from across the UAE, Kuwait, China, and the USA. Recently, MAGNiTT had the opportunity to exclusively interview Amira Rashad, CEO and co-founder of BulkWhiz to gain some insights.
1. What was your biggest challenge when raising this round?
Prioritizing growth initiatives and aligning investors behind them.
2. Out of the funds secured and areas of investment outlined in the press release, which category do you think requires the most investment and why?
Technology development. Commitment to developing proprietary technology requires constant testing and iteration. And that takes time and other resource commitments.
3. In your opinion, how much time will it take for the MENA region to transition towards an IoT future? (Will it ever happen?)
When it comes to adoption and speed of adoption we are on the leading edge. I think MENA has often witnessed very fast adoption of technologies in general. In fact MENA has leapfrogged technologies as was the case with smart phones. So we moved from people who don’t have landlines to many people having more than one smartphone per capita and the main driver here is basically the demographics of the region where you have the vast majority of the population being under 30. And those people being digital natives and fast adopters of technology.
When it comes to IoT, there are regional plays so there is an element of regional data that is required for technology development for an IoT future and that is something that needs to be adopted by local startups.
4. How much would consumers be saving, on average, by using BulkWhiz instead of buying from online and offline grocery suppliers?
10-50% depending on the quantity they buy.
5. As an e-commerce platform that features on the HBS curriculum, what would be your 3 most important tips for prospective e-commerce entrepreneurs?
Bring the right people around the table. You are only as good as the people around you.
Do things that don’t scale at first but build the processes and organization structure to prepare for scale.
Execution is everything so make sure you execute with great detail and diligence.
6. Does BulkWhiz intend to target consumers who prioritise purchasing fresh groceries over buying in bulk? Why?
You can do both on BulkWhiz.
7. What do you think is your most significant technical competitive advantage as an e-commerce platform?
Our ability to personalize across the value chain from sourcing to customer experience on the platform and off the platform.
8. You have investors from all over the world in this round, do you have plans to scale beyond MENA?
We believe that building the right foundation to scale the business as paramount for us today. Once we do that we will be in a position to scale beyond the region.