Star Tech: FOO Empowers Companies Across Various Industries Through Digital Transformation – News
The company provides innovative, entirely in-house built solutions that optimize digital capabilities
FOO is an award-winning business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, serving customers across the MENA region. The company specializes in empowering businesses through digital transformation. FOO provides innovative solutions, entirely designed in-house, that optimize digital capabilities for customers in various sectors.
Ghady Rayess, co-founder and managing director (MD) of FOO, explained how he came up with this great idea in 2009.
“True innovation is born as a solution to a problem. The key to making a great idea work is to identify your challenge, find your niche, and focus on creating an attractive value proposition that makes you unique. We launched FOO with this approach in mind. My partner and I started coding from my grandmother’s house before the startup ecosystem even really existed, creating an app that provided digital solutions on the Nokia platform. This was long before app downloads were monetized, pre-existing the creation of Apple or Android app stores,” he said.
The technology industry started to explode in the new millennium. The massive penetration of smartphones in the market and the integration of technology in financial services have opened up new growth opportunities. Existing technology companies have begun to evolve to meet this growing demand.
“Eventually, we pivoted to focus more on fintech-related projects. However, as we delved deeper into this digital space, we noticed that many fintech companies are focused on functionality, rather than delivering a holistic experience. from start to finish. With this valuable insight, we established our edge. We were committed to ensuring that we could deliver the highest quality in both functionality and design, all in one place.” he added.
He said, “Clients no longer needed to search multiple vendors to create a single solution; we could do it all in-house.
What does the name FOO mean?
“I’m a coder at heart. The name FOO was inspired by the coding term FOO_. This term is used by programmers as a placeholder for a value that can change, depending on its conditions and location – like the variable x in algebra,” Ghady said.
Much like the name, FOO, Ghady said, is constantly evolving, “a product of our environment.”
He wants to create an impact at the national level to offer new customer experiences focused on financial inclusion and create new opportunities for businesses and individuals.
He cited a paradigm shift among consumers that encourages companies to innovate and offer fintech solutions in sectors such as banking, telecommunications, retail and insurance.
“We want to use our expertise in software design and functionality to deliver an enhanced digital experience through various channels. Our goal is to add value to businesses by creating innovative digital products that ultimately improve end-user experience,” he added.
Does the UAE and the wider Persian Gulf region have a big market for SaaS?
Globally, the SaaS market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28% between 2021 and 2028. With a thriving SaaS market in the region, the Middle East is well positioned to support this global demand .
There are a few key factors driving the growth of SaaS in the region. Growing government initiatives for digital transformation in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia) and Kuwait, in both private and public sectors, have driven the demand for SaaS in recent years. years.
Ghady said, “With SaaS, businesses don’t have to invest in large amounts of hardware, increased security, or overhead. This enables the organization to reduce total cost of ownership, while increasing return on investment, improving security and providing continuous accessibility to users. As the adoption of cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) accelerates in the region, we are seeing a shift towards the SaaS model.
In the United Arab Emirates, for example, SaaS supports the use of popular digital programs such as eInvoice, UAE pass app, Smart Abu Dhabi, Smart Dubai and Smart Sharjah. In Saudi Arabia, a key part of Vision 2030 is to drive digital transformation across all sectors. SaaS can be integrated into various sectors, from government services to telecommunications, opening new doors for its market share growth in terms of revenue. There is huge market potential for SaaS in the region which is being increasingly adopted to support digitalization in various industries.
FOO diversified into fintech and banking in 2015.
“With strong expertise in software design and integration, we saw a great opportunity in tokenization. As Near Field Communication (NFC) payments grew in popularity around the world, we were convinced that our digital products could accelerate adoption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
We became one of the first companies to offer tokenization in the region, strategically partnering with Visa to offer NFC payments. This marked our entry into the banking sector,” he added.
Ghady saw a huge business opportunity in the rise of e-commerce, the cryptocurrency boom and the emergence of neo-banks. He realized that banks and financial services needed to quickly pivot and adapt to deliver increased digitalization.
“We had the know-how and experience to meet these needs, leveraging our expertise to break into the banking industry and deliver digital solutions. These include products and services such as digital banking platforms, digital onboarding including electronic know-your-customer (KYC) and virtual card issuance, cross-border funds transfers and micro-loans. .
FOO can deliver personalized digital products within 12 weeks. The company focuses on the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Plans are underway to develop key products this year. Products include digital banking in a box, white label digital wallet, virtual card for business, merchant platforms and tokenization. There is a concerted offer to expand strategic partnerships to include technology, card processing and consulting partners, and top up with Series B funding to support growth initiatives.
FOO quickly expanded its client portfolio, forging strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard, and creating solutions for clients in industries such as Zain Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Majid Al Futtaim (MAF).
Key products include solutions for digital banking, virtual card issuance, digital onboarding, tokenization, central bank digital currency, and stablecoin offering on the blockchain.
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