When he returned to Jordan from the Gulf, he went to pay the electricity bill and was shocked when the employee told him it was not possible for him to pay using his credit card. That situation prompted him to establish his company MadfooatCom. Our guest in the entrepreneurship segment is engineer Nasser Saleh, the founder and CEO of MadfooatCom.
The world of entrepreneurship is available to everybody but excelling in it depends on the base idea of the project. We will introduce you within this segment to an emerging Jordanian company which started with $15000 and is now worth 20 million US dollars.
Nasser Saleh: The idea of the project occurred to me when I first came back to Amman from the Gulf, where I was working. I went to pay my first electricity bill using my credit card and was told that I must pay with cash only. I stood in line then went to search for an ATM to withdraw money and return. That is when I realized this process is a waste of time, especially since many Western countries and some countries in the region already have electronic payment. So we had to solve this problem. Therefore, I founded MadfooatCom from Oasis 500 which is a business incubator.
After MadfooatCom started and tried to solve the problem of replacing cash with electronic payment, we proposed this project to the Central Bank, it was approved and we won the tender of eFAWATEERcom. It became a service for the whole country; most banks now are connected to it, in addition to more than 100 private and public Institutes, many ministries, e-government, Income Tax and Sales Department, and others. There is always confusion between eFAWATEERcomand MadfooatCom. MadfooatCom is a private shareholding company and eFAWATEERcomis the product, the service or brand, it is a service for the Jordanian Central Bank.
MadfooatCom won the tender and is responsible for building and managing this service, so today eFAWATEERcom is the service known to the people, banks and companies, while MadfooatCom built the service and is operating it under the supervision of the Central Bank.
Following the emergence of the project’s main idea and the adoption of a suitable business model, emerging companies often face funding obstacles regarding business incubators, investors and venture capital. The biggest challenge remains in answering the question of when will the company start making profits.
Nasser Saleh: The business model adopted by MadfooatComcompany doesn’t require the people to pay any extra fees, in particular when it comes to basic services. The Central Bank took on a really wise policy by requiring zero costs from the people, mainly for basic services such as electricity and telecommunication, because this motivates a larger number of people to use this service. Today, we acquire a small amount of commission per bill and we share this commission with the payment sources, such as banks and mobile wallets. This is the business model;we take a small amount of commission from the company we’re getting the bill for.
Investment is the most important stage for any company and of course the challenge is bigger in our area. We started a “seed fund” with Oasis 500, we also used “family and friends” and then we moved to “Angel Investors”, who had a big role in our arrival to “series A”, there were three banks involved from Jordan in this stage: Capital Bank and Bank Al Etihad. Now in Series B we are attracting investment companies from abroad, from the region in addition to America and Europe. Things are going very well, we are hoping to expand further. Of course now through our company, we are changing the payment culture from cash to electronic and thischallenge requires patience. Today we depend on investment because the cost here is high, at the same time, the commissions that we require are little and we are not adding cost to companies and people. However, the good thing is the more eFAWATEERcom is used, the faster we can break even. We are expecting at the beginning of next year to start receiving income equal to the expendituresthen we will start making profit. Luckily, our investors are patient and this is required for such a service.
It is very common in the world today to start digitizing economic activities instead of depending on classic means. This is what we realized at MadfooatComand was the base of the initial idea: electronic payment.
Nasser Saleh: Entrepreneurship is actually observing a problem in the society and work on solving it in a profitable way, for you and others around you, no one will lose in this case. One to one, as they say.You will hear many people saying that this is all going to waste it is irrational,don’t do that. Be sure that you are doing the right thing when you hear this kind of talk. Whoever has an idea has to start today and never procrastinate.