Lebanon is emerging as a hub for companies to set up their businesses and a country to outsource tech solutions to, as per recent trends. Both businesses and professional providers are being met with growing incentives to set up their operations in Lebanon, to fuel their professional goals both locally and across the Middle East. Access to qualified talent, lower costs to run operations, optimized servicing and networking opportunities are just a few of the reasons that Lebanon is now being eyed as an optimal location to run a business.
Take the case of MATIC, a company initially founded in the UAE, but is now run out of Lebanon. Their story began by analyzing social, economic and demographic developments. Busy schedules, shifting demographics and growing household cleaning needs were just three of the factors that the founders of MATIC sought to cater to through technology. By further analyzing the market, they realized that there was a need for home cleaning services on an hourly and part-time basis. With growing demand on one end, supply was limited. MATIC was committed to fill that gap.
Together, the founders of MATIC, Mohamed Samad, Co-Founder and CEO and Rashed Al Rashed, Co-Founder, created a simple cleaning company model in the UAE, with family and friends being the early adopters. However, as operations grew, more efficient systems to monitor, report and coordinate activities were needed. They shifted their business model into an efficient technology company with the help of SE Factory.
Today, MATIC is the GCC’s fastest growing platform for booking cleaning services. In numbers, that translates to 150,000 bookings per month, across all 12 cities.
The BDD team sat with the founders of MATIC to uncover how to build solid SaaS models, why seamless technology is vital for their growth and how they sought SE Factory’s expertise, a professional technology-centered bootcamp, to fuel their tech capabilities.
BDD: What differentiates you from local market offerings? And what gap did you seek to fill?
MATIC: The key difference that we have over other players in the market, is primarily that MATIC is a technology company offering a SaaS (software as a service) to cleaning companies. MATIC links the user and supplier on the platform, ultimately improving the provision of the service rather than providing the service itself.
Given the business-centered lifestyle of most residents of the GCC countries, predominantly being expats, they often need assistance balancing between their professional and personal lives. The specificity of needing an “hourly” service stems from both rising economic and lifestyle modern behaviors.
BDD: How did you make your first sale / transaction on the App?
MATIC: Family and friends were the first adopters when MATIC was solely a cleaning company - stemming from an actual need and not only support. After the shift of the company to being a technologically powered App, the existing clients’ data was already available for reuse.
BDD: Being a tech company at your core, how did you source your team?
MATIC’s CTO, Issam Najm chimes in: As a fast-growing startup, MATIC needed to double its tech team a couple of times in the past two years. Finding ambitious dedicated software engineers is always a challenge in the region, however, SE Factory made it much easier to recruit the top graduating developers, given that their graduates have accomplished an intensive training program on the basic development tools and workflows which universities don’t usually focus on. This reduced our usual on-boarding process by a couple of weeks.
Eyeing the potential of Lebanon as an outsourcing hub, BDD has been a strategic partner of SE Factory since the very beginning. To gain additional insights into the role of SE Factory in contributing to the growth trajectory of technology-based companies, we sat with Fadi Bizri, Co-Founder & Program Manager at SE Factory (SF).
BDD: Why was it integral for MATIC to go through SE Factory?
SF: When MATIC approached us, they were a growing startup looking to enhance their technological offering and hire a whole team of software developers. They joined SE Factory's network of ‘Recruitment Partners’, tailored for companies that have a need to hire competent software developers. The experience proved to be successful, and they ended up hiring around 20 software developers that graduated from the SE Factory bootcamp.
BDD: What is your ultimate aspiration driving the work you do at SE Factory?
SF: We see the potential in Lebanese talent, where companies can have an entire web team based in Lebanon. Our aim is to attract companies, in the GCC, Europe or even the US, to build their tech teams locally for a multitude of reasons.
Lebanon is a great place to set up shop and build at least part of the tech team Lebanese talent is highly competent, they are close to markets (either the GCC or Europe from a time zone perspective) and are deemed more affordable technical talent. Lebanon’s fiber optic connectivity will also aid us in better servicing international markets.
We have a huge potential to empower thousands of digital workers and keep them in Lebanon, to serve the outside world. This is what SE Factory advocates.
BDD: What does SE Factory offer companies to help speed up their technological development?
SF: The Full-Stack Web development program that we offer at SE Factory is intensive and equivalent to 2 years of work experience. We focus on critical thinking, self-learning and best practices, along with the technical expertise that aids in transforming candidates into productive and highly competent employees. The curriculum has been devised to ensure that graduates of the program can go on to support and transform companies’ technological offerings.
With only a 15 to 20% acceptance rate, it is a rigorous program. Our careful selection process serves companies, and we are able to better serve their recruitment needs. We also inform companies of the upcoming graduation date to prepare for recruitment. Within 2 to 3 hours, companies are able to meet with high potential candidates, interview them at our premises, and benefit from the efficiency of the system we have designed. This process also saves them time and money required to recruit skilled candidates.
If companies are able to hire successfully, they pay a fee. BDD residents get a discount!
BDD: What are the core skills a team needs to set up and run an online servicing / web-based company?
SF: When building a tech focused company, we always advise for there to be a senior developer or CTO on board. That person with strategic tech insights can build the team, hire junior developers and develop products to achieve the set goals. We work closely with CTOs to understand their needs and help them hire junior developers.
*SF refers to SE Factory in the article.