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Grow Your Ventures With a Global Mindset, With Basil Moftah

Updated: Apr 1

Episode 20: Grow your ventures with a global mindset, with Basil Moftah

Hi everyone,

Anyone who knows about my passion for podcasting has told me that I should try out Clubhouse. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, it is an audio-based networking app where you can connect with people and engage in discussions. P.S. it is only available on iOS devices at the moment which makes it even more exclusive!

The vocal discussions on this platform include celebrity talk shows, D.J. nights, theatrical performances, political debates and networking events. Famous people like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have even been spotted on it recently.

I noticed that there are no videos on this app. All profiles just have a profile picture of the user. So, if you want to interact, you need to use your voice for that!

This app has been growing like crazy. By May 2020, it was valued at almost $100 million after investments by Andreessen Horowitz. What started as a cool app within the Silicon Valley community has now become a worldwide trend.

The ways investors think has changed a lot in the past few years. They've finally began weighing into the creator economy and are ready to invest in it. In fact, the early beginnings of Clubhouse included recruiting Josh Richards, an 18 year old TikTok star, as a venture partner to get the business running with some e-fame in the popular community of TikTok.

After one too many invite links, I decided I should finally check it out! I downloaded Clubhouse, uploaded a profile picture, followed some friends who were already on the app but then got a bit lost. There's so much happening on there - you can choose from a list of conversational topics, such as, sports, life, tech, wellness and faith. This helps you find people who are interested in the same things as you. The more topics you follow, the more suggestions you get. Pretty much like how Netflix suggests you your next favorite movie but audio-version!

On the topic of audio creators, let's talk about this week's podcast on having a global mindset.

In our latest episode, we sit down with Basil Moftah to discuss the global mindset amongst entrepreneurs. Basil is an experienced venture builder and partner at Global Ventures, a growth-focused VC that invests in disruptive startups with an enterprise technology focus in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Together we discuss:

  1. The importance for businesses to have a global mindset

  2. Keeping guard of competitors from abroad

  3. The difference between marketing a B2B vs. B2C business

  4. Examples of two up-and-coming tech startups with a global mindset

Entrepreneurs can benefit from both offense and defense positions when expanding globally

In entrepreneurship, having a global mindset is advantageous for two key reasons: (1) exploit a bigger market opportunity, and (2) stay a step ahead of your competitors.

If you want to be a hundred million dollar company, you got to go after a billion-dollar opportunity. Entrepreneurs can benefit from going after a larger TAM if they look internationally. So, if the opportunity is not that big locally, go global!

As technology is borderless, competition can come at you from anywhere. Even if your product is unique, other businesses can make similar products to compete with yours. These foreign businesses can expand to your region, hence, becoming your competitor. By keeping an international mindset, entrepreneurs can observe what their competitors are doing before they set foot locally.

Technology is borderless thus allowing competition to come from everywhere

If an entrepreneur doesn't have a global mindset at the start of their business (some like to stay focused at the start, which is ok), they can still develop one and expand globally in the future.

B2B businesses are more capital efficient compared to B2C

Businesses can use digital ad platforms to advertise internationally. Google is the most expensive platform to advertise on since it is the most popular one. Other companies, like, Instagram and Facebook, are the next best platforms to advertise your business on due to their massive success and user base. It's a great tool to sell products in countries beyond your HQ. But, sometimes this is not as easy as flipping on a switch; to make this happen, entrepreneurs need to understand the local market dynamics of each country they sell in when drawing up their marketing plan.

Saudi Arabia has the largest single-country market opportunity in the MENA region (for most consumer industries)

Saudi Arabia is the ideal place to expand your business due to its large consumer population and high GDP. Most GCC companies wish to expand to KSA first and then continue their expansion to other neighboring countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, and Turkey.

If a business's exit is just focused on selling products nationally, it won't gain as much traction as a business that has expanded internationally. The more countries you're business is expanding to, the more global players and investors will be interested.

Product-market fit is not a one-off exercise - consistent product management is required to build great businesses

Product-market fit is determined when a product really solves a problem and is therefore purchased by a customer. However, once you "achieve" this, you'll find that the same customer needs change. This is why businesses need to constantly adapt their products based on changing consumer preferences.

A great example of product management can be given for CAFU, the fuel delivery app. CAFU used to have a subscription fee but dropped it once they realized it was preventing consumers from using their product. This app gave up some initial revenue in exchange for getting more customers on board.

But, for some startups, traction comes before product development. The best example is Clubhouse, an audio-based, invite-only platform where you can find topics and engage in discussions with like-minded people. It's a great place to speak out loud, share and exchange opinions. This app has been growing like crazy - yet the product itself has still not figured out how it will generate revenues.


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