3 things Gaza Sky Geeks learned from Mudassir Sheikha

We were so inspired to meet four members from Gaza Sky Geeks, a leading co-working space, startup accelerator and tech-education hub in Gaza.

The entrepreneurs from Gaza Sky Geeks had the opportunity to hear directly from Mudassir Sheikha, our co-founder and CEO; Ankur Shah, our angel investor and CFO; and Ibrahim Manna, Managing Director of Saudi Arabia & Emerging Markets.

They were humbled to hear the personal stories of Jamal Al-Miqate, CEO & Founder of Ways; Amal Ahmed, CEO & Founder of Afkar; Razan Abu Tawahina, CEO & Founder of Hala Arab; and Alaa’ Al-Shurafa, CMO & Founder of Ful.

The entrepreneurs listened closely as Ibrahim Manna spoke about regional factors that determine the success of startups, while Ankur offered advice on how to seek investment as early as possible.

Mudassir started his talk by sharing a story about his recent visit to Palestine. He recalled how beautiful the country is and how he was inspired by the passion of its people. Here’s the three main lessons that he shared with Gaza Sky Geeks:

1. Solve big problems

Mudassir spoke about how the most successful entrepreneurs solve problems. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. He and Magnus realised that ground transportation in the region was lacking, and this problem was their starting point for simplifying lives.

 

2. Expect local challenges

In the early days of Careem, Mudassir explained that Google Maps lacked recent plans of most cities. They set out to map locations themselves and overlay them onto Google Maps. Payment was also a challenge as cash was still king in countries like Saudi Arabia. We realised that we had to find a way to offer a cash payment option for our Customers.

Another massive challenge was navigating language barriers between Customers and Captains. To address this, we quickly launched a call centre that would resolve issues in real time.

 

3. Obsess over your Customers

Mudassir talked about obsessing over local problems and obsessing over Customers. He revealed that once a week, he would personally call Customers who had complained to understand their negative experience and how this could be prevented in the future.

In a room filled with big ambitions, we were moved to see that everyday people were building the future of Palestine.

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