Jibrel: July Update
Monthly Project Update — July 2019
In addition to our ongoing product buildout, July was highly focused on finalizing the necessary regulatory and legal infrastructure for enabling equity tokenization. This regulatory and legal focus is paving the way for a full traditional asset tokenization framework.
Overall Project Status
The overarching theme this month has been the alignment of tech and regulation to maximize the potential of blockchain technology in redefining equity ownership. In parallel to regulatory and legal buildout, the tech team has been working on optimizing Jibrel’s asset tokenization solution based on the requirements from the regulator. This multistakeholder approach is solidifying the foundation of our equity tokenization framework while ensuring its long term scalability.
Tech: In parallel with regulatory and legal buildout, our technical and product team has been working closely with the business development team on optimizing the asset tokenization solution based on the requirements from the regulator. This collaboration has shifted the main focus from core-product development, but overall timelines remain the same.
Marketing: Tech and marketing have been collaborating on initiatives related to Jibrel’s acquisition goals.
- Blog Launch: We will be releasing 1–2 blog posts a week for our new on-site blog, with the long-term goals of incremental increases in site visits and overall domain authority. This approach will assist in raising brand awareness and driving customer acquisition for our cryptocurrency offerings. As marketing research shows, blogs on average give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links, generating an average of 1,200+ new qualified leads per month.
- Chinese Site Localization: Aside from being the single largest population on the planet, the Chinese-speaking population has historically been among the largest demand bases for Jibrel’s set of core cryptocurrency offerings. To engage and retain existing Chinese-speaking users, as well as to drive additional qualified leads, we have translated the main Jibrel.Network website into Chinese. Further, we hope to introduce other Chinese content in the future.
- Upcoming Q3 Announcement: Lastly, the marketing team has prepping brand strategy and a pilot awareness campaigns for a major upcoming product. We look forward to sharing more with you on this topic soon.
Business Development: One of our key achievements has been serving as a bridge in the conversation in the Middle East between technology, regulators, and lawyers to form a cohesive infrastructure that enables the tokenization of equity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). One such recent and public-facing example is Jibrel’s COO, Talal Tabbaa, discussing Middle East Blockchain adoption alongside Mohamed Damak of S&P Global Ratings, Khalid Howladar of Acreditus, François Tilly of Euroclear, Gregory Man of Norton Rose Fulbright, and Evans Munyuki of Emirates NBD (see above photo). The seminar examined the potential benefits and challenges involved in transforming the lifecycle of debt securities using blockchain technology. In bringing together such legal, regulatory, technology, and private sector players, we are building a robust legal and regulatory foundation. This foundation will allow us to scale with ease in the future — irrespective of the type of asset that we are tokenizing.
Achievements, Challenges & Limitations
Internal & External Communication; Resourcing
Jibrel is a multifaceted company. We have several offices — each in different countries. Relatedly, we have several products and services split across two different core offerings (cryptocurrency vs. traditional asset tokenization).
On the one hand, being a multi-national, multi-product company has many advantages. We have been able to hire for the optimal kind of talent in the most appropriate locations and market conditions. This approach has allowed us to keep skill quality high while keeping administrative and personnel costs reasonable. Further, providing multiple products and services has proved to be an overall competitive advantage in the unpredictable emerging market of blockchain and cryptocurrency. This market is one where use cases have yet to be fully ironed out, and where many projects have locked their doors and shuttered their windows.
On the other hand, as VC firm FirstMark Capital explains, there are also hallmark challenges that typically need addressing in the context of such a multifaceted approach:
“Customers suddenly have to choose which product to buy and whether or not they want a bundled package. Your website needs to convey significantly more information. Marketing campaigns are run against multiple, overlapping audiences with messaging that is tailored to a matrix of personas and subscription states. Product releases need to be coordinated across a broadening infrastructure and growing set of teams.”
Jibrel’s tech, product, and marketing teams are acutely aware of these challenges. We continue to focus on optimizing our multi-product resourcing, product releases, brand messaging, and internal communication (especially across continents/offices).
Jibrel focuses on meeting its resourcing needs in an efficient and long-term sustainable manner. With that in mind, in July, the company has hired a full-time front-end web developer, as well as part-time contractors for Korean community moderation and English community moderation.
Front-End Web Development: Jibrel is first and foremost a tech company, and is hard at work “BUIDL-ing” crypto products and digital asset solutions. Additionally, the team is gearing up for a major product that we plan to announce later this quarter. With that in mind, we continue to selectively hire full-time members in areas where our needs exceed our team capacity.
Korean Community: With JNT seeing robust trades on UpBit (a major Korean exchange), Jibrel is exploring how better to foster and grow its Korean community base. Related tasks will include additional hours spent engaging with the existing community, as well as more efficiently localizing content into Korean.
English Community: As core full-time members become increasingly pulled into high-level strategic initiatives, Jibrel is seeking to maintain sustained day-to-day interaction with its community.
The MENA Startup Environment
Startups play a significant role in driving economic growth in emerging economies. They foster a spirit of innovation and create the jobs that push their countries forward. If a country truly wants its startups to be successful, it needs to create the right infrastructure and ecosystem to attract and develop its entrepreneurs. The Middle East has proven to understand this quite well. Across the region, hundreds of startups have launched in the past few years. While most may fail, some have already become unicorns with billion-dollar valuations. The combination of talent, hustle, and support from the government has turned the region into a thriving tech hub.
How Are Governments Helping?
MENA countries understand that government support is vital to nurture the startup ecosystem successfully. In September 2014, the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation was established to stimulate the culture of innovation within the government sector. This trailblazing move sparked several other initiatives such as:
Free Zones: Established geographical areas where certain business restrictions, taxes, and employment conditions do not apply. For example, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) offers 0% corporate and personal tax for 50 years.
Khalifa Fund: This organization is a not-for-profit SME development agency set up by the Government of Abu Dhabi to spread freelance culture and encourage business innovation in the UAE. Funding is available for all UAE nationals, and the agency has launched more than 800 awareness campaigns that cater to college students.
Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO): This institution recently launched the Dh535 million Ghadan Ventures Fund. The goal of this fund is to support Abu Dhabi’s growing Venture Capital (VC) and startup ecosystem. The fund’s objective is to ensure local startups have access to more investors with programs designed to increase the availability of capital for Abu Dhabi based startups. They are also allowing new fund managers seeking to establish themselves within this sphere.
4 Startups Thriving in the Middle East
With such abundant support from the government, various startups have already grown to multi-billion dollar corporations. Furthermore, many have managed to attract foreign investment and gain recognition on the same playing field as some of their Silicon Valley counterparts.
Souq: Known as the Amazon of the Middle East, this online marketplace offers a platform for sellers to own a shop online instead of having a physical presence. It is enabling customers in the UAE to access one million products directly on the Souq site and pay via credit card or cash on delivery. In 2017, Amazon acquired the online retailer for $580 million, sunsetting the Souq brand in favor of promoting www.Amazon.ae as an extension of the overall Amazon brand.
Fetchr: This international express, mail delivery, and logistics services company has received significant funding from US investors. The young startup tackles delivery challenges in Arab countries, where streets often lack formal addresses. Customers can download the app and pinpoint their location on a Google map, allowing Fetchr drivers to rely on GPS to deliver packages.
Careem: The ride-sharing behemoth, Uber, has recently acquired its biggest regional rival, Careem, for $3.1billion. This transaction marks the highest-valued tech deal ever to take place in the region. Careem has over 30 million users, over one million drivers and operates in 90 cities across 15 countries. It has also branched out into food and package deliveries, bus services, scheduled rides, and credit transfers — in several instances launching services ahead of Uber.
Dubizzle: Launched in 2005, this has become the leading classifieds website platform for peer-to-peer buying and selling of products. On Dubizzle, goods, skills, and money are exchanged and traded in new ways that don’t require centralized institutions or intermediaries.
With the UAE seeking to diversify its oil-based economies, young and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are starting new businesses and getting investor backing. Ultimately, this type of environment is why Jibrel chose the UAE to fulfill our vision of bringing financial assets on-chain. We are proud to be one of the startups to call the UAE home and are excited about what the future holds!
- Achievements for the month include (A.) the rollout of an SEO blog, (B.) hiring a frontend dev along with part-time Korean and English community moderation contractors, and (C.) continued talks with MENA regulators.
- Challenges and limitations include (A.) communication, (B.) multi-product marketing, (C.) resource allocation, and (D.) regulatory timelines.
- With ample support from the government, several MENA startups have already grown to multi-billion dollar corporations. Furthermore, many have managed to attract foreign investment and gain recognition on the same playing field as some of their Silicon Valley counterparts.
- Jibrel’s tech, marketing, and business development teams are planning for a product announcement. More info will be provided later in Q3.
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