Running a Startup During A Revolution with Ahmed Shabana of Agzakhana
This week we speak with Ahmed Shabana who, in 2006, founded Agzakhana, the Middle East’s first online pharmacy serving the Egyptian market. He’s now the lead at Parkpine Capital – a medical tech venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. They focus on businesses that create value impact with validated technology products in Healthcare, Commerce, Payments, and Wearables.
I met Ahmed as he was passing through Bali a few week’s ago and invited him to share his story with us. Ahmed will talk about how he went from pharmacist to entrepreneur to VC guy and what it was like operating during the Arab spring, earning him the title of “Egyptian Revolution Entrepreneur” by the Wall street Journal.
Aside from making deliveries during civil unrest, Ahmed disrupted the pharmaceutical business model in Egypt, which previously left almost all of the profit to manufacturers and very little for the retailers. Ahmed led Agzakhana to develop their own private label brands in order to recoup more of the profits and ensure provide better service to their customers.
They were also the first business in Egypt to leverage the marketing power of social media, first growing their business through dropping posts in Facebook groups (which were just opening up to Egypt at the time).
Now he’s on the flip-side, searching the world for innovative startups that will help solve the world’s health problems. Take a listen to find out what he and other VC’s are looking for.
Key Learnings From This Episode:
- How to operate a business in a war zone
- The Power of Private Label
- What happens to your ecommerce business when the government shuts the internet down
- When you know it’s time to exit
- How to identify an investor that has the right skills and resources for your business
- What any startup needs to focus on to become investor-ready
Links And Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
An accomplished entrepreneur, Ahmed is recognized as the Egyptian revolution entrepreneur by the Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. Ahmed has founded the Middle East’s first online pharmacy, Agzakhana.com, generating millions in sales turnover while overcoming the economic obstacles of the region during the Arab Spring. Moreover, Ahmed was able to raise capital from Vodafone Ventures and grow the business during Egypt’s political turmoil. Ahmed is currently finishing his International IBEAR MBA program at USC Marshall School of Business before he embarks on his next international venture capital investment endeavors.
About Parkpine Capital
Parkpine Capital focuses on creating value impact with validated technology products in Healthcare, Commerce, Payments, and Wearables. Their team has commercialized Google products, Healthcare mobile monitoring devices and launched Mobile Commerce projects across the globe.
Parkpine aims to change the world through validated disrupting models by offering growth hacking financial, technical, and distribution resources. Parkpine handpicks the best teams to inspire, add value, and manage their growth. Their mission is to scale profitable high impact technologies that can be consolidated, replicated and cloned in developing markets.
Thanks for Listening!
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Thanks again to Ahmed for sharing her story. Until next week, go forth and get it done!
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