Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority

Adwa Al-Dakheel, CEO of Direct Influence, at the ‘Youth in Business’ panel discussion at the Saudi-US CEO Forum in Riyadh Saturday.
Updated 20 May 2017
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Young Saudi CEO says making money shouldn’t be No. 1 priority

RIYADH: Disregarding the singular quest of making money when starting a business is the top advice offered to entrepreneurs by Adwa Al-Dakheel, the 25-year-old CEO of the Direct Influence media agency.

Society today needs businesses that can cater straight to its needs, the young Saudi executive said on the sidelines of the Saudi-US CEO Forum on Saturday.

“Today if you want to succeed; if you want your business to become a billion-dollar business, you need to think of the society first,” she told Arab News.

“I think the old theory of (starting) a business just to make a profit is over,” she added, adding that money will come eventually if you’re doing the right thing and if the idea is beneficial.

Al-Dakheel, who is also a stock analyst, triple majored in business management, entrepreneurship and psychology in Boston, Massachusetts. She said the educational infrastructure in Saudi Arabia is “booming and is becoming bigger and better,” something that calls for knowledge transfer between Saudi and foreign students.

“I think the idea and theory of knowledge transfer between Saudi Arabia and the US is extremely needed. In the past it has been one-sided, but in today’s age it is actually moving in both directions.”

She hopes to see more students coming to study in Saudi Arabia from the US. A current example of that are students coming from abroad to study at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal and Mohammed Bin Salman College (MBSC) in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

The young businesswoman, who became a CEO at the age of 23, said that Saudi Arabia needs to invest more in employment, job development, and education as well. “It’s not right for us to just employ people, get them a salary and just ask them to work. We should give them knowledge; we should educate them because a year later, we don’t want them to be the same people.”


Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

Updated 20 November 2018
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Careem looks to raise up to $200 million in China

  • Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized
  • Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors

HONG KONG: Careem, Uber’s main Middle East rival, is looking at raising between $100 million and $200 million from Chinese investors, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC) is advising Dubai-based Careem, but it was not immediately clear when or if a deal would be finalized, the source said, adding there was a lack of familiarity and interest among Chinese investors in Middle Eastern start-ups.
Beijing-based CICC and Careem both declined to comment.
Reuters reported on Monday that CICC and New York-based investment bank Jefferies were both advising Careem on potential investment options and capital raising, including a possible Middle East M&A deal with Uber.
Careem, which counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing among its other backers, competes head-to-head with Uber in most of the major cities in the Middle East.
Careem said in October it had secured $200 million in a new funding round from existing investors, and that it expected to raise more to finance expansion plans.
That investment, combined with previous fund raising and company growth into new markets and segments, gave Careem an estimated valuation of more than $2 billion.
Reuters reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500 million.