Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

Sunday, October 27, 2019

My Real Estate Tech Startup Has A Loan Investment

12/19/2019 Update: Fraud Alert: No Harm Done

On October 7, 2019, an investment firm out of Bahrain approved my loan request for $6.1 million. The terms of the loan are excellent. Thank you Noor Almuna Investments Company.

Status of the loan: Approved but pending.

Efforts are also underway to get some real estate companies in the region to invest in the form of convertible debt. At this end, I am also looking to raise a small Seed Fund.

The Next Wave In Innovation: Reimagining Entire Industries
Noor Almuna Chairperson: Jassim Al Seddiqi, the Michael Jordan of Gulf Finance.

There is tremendous pressure in the Middle East to diversify. On the other hand, tech entrepreneurs like me with a Global South background see the confluence of capital and technology as the hope rainbow that will allow for a fundamental uplift for the Global South masses in socio-economic terms.

I have seen numerous rejections over the years and decades. And the ratio of pitch emails that did not even see replies is even larger. But the rejections allowed me to ride wave after wave of changes in technology, intellectually speaking. They allowed me to study the tech startup as if it were some biological specimen. And, because what will happen in tech over the next 25 years is at least 100 times bigger than what has happened over the past 25, all those rejections make for perfect timing in hindsight. There never has been a better time to be a tech entrepreneur than right now.

It takes a lot to build a successful company. In recent years, I have undertaken spiritual journeys that shape what I call the six core values of my company’s corporate culture. Corporate culture is everything. Corporate culture is make or break.

As I see it, tech entrepreneurship is the best way to do the most good for the largest number of people on the planet. If you think the Internet is big, know that the Blockchain is going to be at least 100 times bigger. The Internet has democratized media. The Blockchain will democratize money.

My real estate tech startup is going to be the first of my several tech startup companies. But the real estate space is great because it attracts major investments. Concepts and ideas are harder to explain. But land and houses, most people understand.

The next wave in innovation is reimagining entire industries. You turn atoms into bits. Not literally. But by adding tremendous intelligence. My gameplan is to do that in real estate and revolutionize homeownership in the 100 biggest cities in the world, starting in NYC. We used to make clothes with hands. Then we started using textile mills. We still make houses with hands. We need to start using factories. Costs come down dramatically. Quality goes up dramatically. This is not real estate like the Trump Organization. This is tech like AirBnB.

After my loan was approved, but before it is formalized through the money transfer gives me a narrow window of opportunity to raise a Seed Fund. Usually, you go into round one not knowing if round two will ever happen. That is the risk you take. But here round two is already in the bag. And I still have found it near impossible to get people in my immediate circles to invest. At some level, I found it perplexing. On the other hand, being a successful angel investor is a rare skill. Successful angel investors are much rarer than heart surgeons. How many heart surgeons are there in my immediate social circles? Well, how many angel investors?

Homeownership is a major pain point for most New Yorkers. I see it fundamentally as a demand-supply problem. There is this huge demand and meager supply. My company would like to revolutionize that. We start in NYC and go to cities across the world.

The techies are in India. The money is in the Middle East. And Silicon Valley is no longer geography. It is wherever there is internet access. What is the optimum city culture for tech and innovation? I believe the answer is still out there.

Africa and South Asia are the next two Chinas. And Dubai could be for both what Hong Kong has been for China. More than 60% of the Foreign Direct Investment that goes into China goes through Hong Kong. That number used to be larger.

$6.1 million is a lot of money to raise. And I am thankful to my investors. Thankful enough that I have promised them I will give them first preference during the next two phases. But I am already thinking in terms of much bigger raises and much bigger ventures. I intend to build a city inside the city of Dubai, a tech city that will aim for the optimum city culture for tech and innovation.

The Gulf countries have a 10-year window to diversify or face decline. Clean energy technologies are seeing exponential advances. At some point oil simply gets priced out of the market. But money is the new oil. I see room for a Blockchain-based effort to take identity and the basic financial services to the final billions. That idea deserves 100 billion dollars more than does Masa Son’s Vision Fund. The tech city I will build inside Dubai might be the best location for the idea.

Jassim Mohammed Al Seddiqi: Renaissance Man In The Gulf
Grammarly 99
Construction Innovation
Remote Work Is Not Either Or
Silicon Valley And Dubai
To: The Crown Prince Of Dubai
No Techies In Dubai
Elon Musk's Giant Blind Spot: Human Beings
Dubai's Remarkable Economic Transformation

Turnaround Artist

Monday, October 07, 2019

Dubai's Remarkable Economic Transformation

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There are those who say Dubai is remarkable, but there are many cities like Dubai. I see Dubai in a league all its own. There are those who say Dubai is remarkable, but it is now downhill from here. I see that Dubai's best days are ahead still. It will not happen on its own. The effort will have to be made. But I am optimistic it will be made. Dubai is more than one chic city, beautiful to visit. Dubai can be to Pakistan what Hong Kong has been to China. Even today something like 60% of the FDI that goes into China goes through Hong Kong. Before the number was larger. There are things only governments can do. But once Pakistan can get its act straight on the basics like law and order, and infrastructure, I see Dubai playing an indispensable role in the rapid economic rise of Pakistan. For all its remarkable achievements I see Dubai ready for take-off. Dubai today is like China in 1990. I see that kind of graph ahead for the city. And it is dazzling as it is.

When I say Dubai is ready for take-off, that is not just a statement on Dubai the city, remarkable as it is, and the amazing transformation it has achieved in such a short period of time, but primarily a statement on where the world of technology is going. What will happen in tech in the next 25 years will be at least 100 times bigger than what has happened over the past 25 years. And Dubai is in a very good position to benefit from that. That positioning is a win-win for the world. Dubai will rise further and lift up the world with it.

I consider myself a student of Dubai's amazing transformation. I would like to know in great detail how it came to be.

As I see it, some of the future innovation in tech is going to be pretty capital intensive. And it might make sense for the various Gulf countries to channel their investments through Dubai. Dubai already has a reputation. Silicon Valley by now is many places. Silicon Valley always was an idea in the first place. And in thus channeling not only will Dubai rise to the next level, but it will also help every participating country follow its lead and similarly diversify. Diversification is survival at this point. It is diversify or decline for every country in the region. But in diversifying the region will lift the world. It will lift Africa. It will lift South Asia. It will lift the masses in the Middle East itself.

The Blockchain will do to money what the Internet has done to media. Money will be democratized. Look how easy it is to send messages and share photos and video clips today. The dollar a day people will get similar access to financial services. And places like Dubai that will facilitate all that will harvest rich dividends.

I am personally interested in making some moves. Today I had the good fortune to learn the wonderful people at Noor Almuna approved my loan application. And I am so very thankful. I have given to them in writing, I will give them first preference during phase two and phase three of my company. And I will.

But there is also a bigger picture. My real estate tech startup is going to be the first of several companies.

An entrepreneur like me is an artist who needs three buckets of paint. Human capital, financial capital, and physical capital (also known as technology). Indians powered the rise of Silicon Valley. And right now Dubai beats Silicon Valley on visa issues, although it could do even better. Dubai leads on the two buckets. And the third bucket is derivative. And Dubai is in an excellent geographic location. You have large masses in South Asia, and Africa nearby. Those are the next two Chinas.

I am itching to make moves in Dubai.

Dubai Economy
Here's how Dubai transformed from a fishing village to a global real estate hub
Dubai's the Very Model of a Modern Mideast Economy Saudi Arabia is trying to reduce its dependence on oil. A neighbor has already done it.
Dubai Economic Report 2018
How Dubai Became Dubai
Dubai – the future business capital of the world?

The Nation State In Peril
The Middle East Cold War
Dubai, Pakistan, Peace, Prosperity
Imran's Peace Gamble In Afghanistan
Dubai: Videos (6)
Dubai: Videos (5)
The Dubai Sheikh Is A Business School Case Study
The Impeachment Drama
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Dubai: Videos (2)
South Asians Working In The Gulf
Dubai: Videos (1)
Imran Khan: Education In Islam
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Dubai: Photos (3)
Masa, MBS, And The Broader Investment Climate
Dubai: Photos (2)
Dubai: Photos (1)
The Biggest Reason For Lifting The Curfew In Kashmir
The Importance Of Being Kind
MBS Is Right About The Possible War
I Am Rooting For Imran To Succeed In Pakistan
Formula For Peace: Iran-Saudi-US, Taliban-US, India-Pakistan
Imran Wants To Lift 100 Million Pakistanis Out Of Poverty
Imran Khan: India's Last Hope For Lasting Peace
Imran Is Playing A Very Difficult Game

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Shivani Siroya, Founder CEO Of Tala, A Revolutionary Fintech Company

Masa should put his money in Tala, not WeWork. Although WeWork is fine. But Tala is way more impactful. Masa needs to put $30 billion into this.

Shivani Siroya
The Founder Of Tala On Her Leap From Finance To Fundraising For Her Mission-Driven Startup
Shivani Siroya
With $65M, Tala Goes Global: Q&A With Shivani Siroya and Female Founders Fund
GE 193: How TEDTalk Speaker Shivani Siroya Built Financial App Tala That Has Dispersed $50M+ in Emerging Markets to 1M+ Global Customers (podcast)
Shivani Siroya Of Tala On What It Takes To Build Company Culture Across Time Zones
With loans of just $10, this startup has built a financial services powerhouse in emerging markets
Shivani Siroya
Tala, a Company That Offers Loans for as Little as $10, Just Raised $110 Million
A Tech Founder on Why Being an Outsider Is a Strength
Give People Some (Micro) Credit—and Transform Their Lives
Bringing financial services to emerging markets with Shivani Siroya the Founder and CEO of Tala

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Africa Is Mars

Mars is undoable. Mars is undesirable. There is this funny thing called gravity. The human body does not do well in the absence of gravity. Send robots. They are gravity neutral. But people? Africa is plenty undiscovered. Plant a trillion trees instead. Save this very planet instead.

When you plant the Australian eucalyptus in a new climate, there is havoc. Imagine a microbe from Mars coming over to earth. What could happen?

The best point for rockets are one step further and one step closer. I am all for robotic mining of the asteroid belt. Countries used to go to war over spices. Gold is the new spice. I am all for internet access on every point on earth through 10,000 or more satellites.

But I am all about Africa, not Mars. Ray Youssef has an edge over Elon Musk in that regard. Mars might be Elon Musk's masterstroke in marketing, not an actual place he wants to go to. Look, Mars! He says. And then builds boring tunnels and exciting cars.

Both Ray and Elon are immigration success stories. Both are out of Africa. Elon might look like he has white skin, but you just have to read his life story to realize the sickness that was apartheid also brutalized him. Elon grew up in South Africa. Ray's parents came from Africa. Ray is a New Yorker. And now Ray is America's gift to Africa. These two inspiring entrepreneurs are in stark contrast to the stupidity emanating out of Washington. So much garbage is being talked about immigration. To Ray I might say, go back to Africa. But looks like he is already there.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Underbanked And The Blockchain

The Blockchain: The Unavoidable Governance Issues

Why is it that despite the fact that the dollar a day people are much, much better at paying back their loans than the educated, rich people in a place like NYC that the banks have a history of ignoring the dollar a day people? I don't think it has been malice, for the most part. I think the processing costs for a loan has been just too high to take it to the dollar a day people. Now that has fundamentally changed. The costs are on their way to zero. Which is to say, the Blockchain will positively impact the close to two billion unbanked, and almost that many underbanked (a lot of whom are right here in the US), more than the other groups. For the same reason why drones are taking off in Rwanda like no place in the US or Europe, and why mobile phones penetrated India so fast.