Changing the marketplace

Winner of the 2017 MIT Enterprise Forum Saudi Arabia in the Startup segment, Madad Services LLC, offers an e-commerce platform facilitating supply and demand in the HoReCa (hotel /restaurant/café) sector.

Increasingly, the service industry is looking to further leverage technology, capitalising on the growing strength of the globalised digital marketplace. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in connectivity.

By reducing the distance between stakeholders, the service industry can meet the needs of their customers faster and more efficiently, while simultaneously building on real-time client satisfaction.

This is the area in which Madad Services LLC has come into its own. The company was founded in 2016 with the aim of providing businesses in the hotel, restaurant, and café segment with an online platform to improve their connectivity with suppliers of goods and services to across Saudi Arabia. It is the first company of its kind within the country.

“Our concept is simple; we don’t sell products, instead, we offer a web platform that facilitates the exchange of goods. Our goal is to digitise the regional trading market and help businesses grow through internet technology”, said Faisal Alshareef
CEO, Madad Services.

Like so many great ideas, the inspiration for Madad Services was came from a chance conversation between friends. After deciding to look into the hospitality sector for potential business opportunities, Faisal Alshareef shadowed his friend – a restaurateur in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, to see where there could be room for a new idea.

“A few weeks into the process, I began to notice the agony that my friend seemed to go through every time he set about ordering his restaurant supplies. These issues ranged from the inconsistent pricing, the wasted time and effort in searching for a good price, stock unavailability, and overall limitations in access to suppliers.

“One day, a stock check alerted him that he was running out of cooking cream. He called his supplier to order more only to find out that he too was out of stock. He then called the backup supplier and the backup of the backup to find that they too had no supply. At this point he had exhausted the options available to him, as those were the only suppliers he knew. The result of this was that he had to drop five of the best-selling items from his menus for a few months. This affected his revenue severely.

“This got me thinking about creating a platform that connects suppliers and manufacturers with hotels, restaurants, and cafés where our aim was to empower buyers by offering them a competitive marketplace where the lowest possible price could be achieved. The platform could be a place where convenience is prioritised and customers could find a wide range of suppliers with the broadest selection of products.” However the company does not simply target improving the supply chain on behalf of the customers. “Our aim is also to add value to our partner suppliers. Our platform also services them by introducing them to the online marketplace, while increasing their market exposure and access, and reducing their operation costs,” Faisal Alshareef added.

Since its launch, Madad Services has aimed to offer a “seductively convenient” client-centric business-to-business experience that will effectively digitise what has traditionally been a face-to-face transaction. So successful was this model that Madad Services took first prize in the second annual MITEF Saudi Arabia Startup Competition, earning SR 100,000 in the process, and public exposure that has resulted in a wave of investment offers.

“It was a great honour to win such a prestigious competition and it was a privilege to meet like-minded people; entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors who are trying to revolutionise our ecosystem,” said Faisal Alshareef. “The knowledge that we gained in such a short time has been unbelievable. We now look to the future making sure to inspire others by making Madad Services a real success story for everyone.”

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