Ahmed Hazem Dakroury

Ahmed Hazem


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CEO of Falak Startups

CEO of Falak Startups – Ahmed Hazem

“Do not give up, even if it seems like every door is shut in your face. This is not the end”


Experienced Investment Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the venture capital and private equity industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Risk Management, Business Planning and Financial Analysis. Strong Business Development professional with an academic background focused in Strategic Management and Innovation & Technology Management.



Ahmed Hazem

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to the supporters fund ask an investor I’m your host jeffrey potvin or jp and let’s please welcome Ahmed hazem as our investor for today from phallic startups welcome ahmed or what we’re going to be using today which is your real name pasm how are you sir thank you for joining us.

Hazem: Hey jeff how are you pleasure to be here thank you for having me and actually it’s the other way around my name is Ahmad hazem and yeah i usually go by hazem

Jeffery: I love it has a good name and I’m sure that’s a little bit easier for uh for myself to repeat and auto repeat so I’ll keep saying has them but uh we’re off to the races already so i love it and has them you’re calling it today from egypt

Hazem: correct yes from cairo

Jeffery: From cairo i love it i love cairo

Hazem: where it’s almost time to sleep

Jeffery: that’s true i think it’s probably six hours so you’re almost that quarter after ten right now is that right

Hazem: yeah

Jeffery: Uh brilliant well I’m a big fan of cairo i was there about a month ago so um well i guess I’m letting the audience know too because as i was doing podcasts i probably should have talked a little bit more about every country that i was touching down on but i really enjoyed and love the ecosystem that’s going on right now and you know across africa but mostly in what’s going on in egypt and cairo it’s very exciting uh so maybe what we’ll do is the way we like to start the show off is we want to dive right into everything so maybe have some you can give us a bit of a background on yourself you know where you started all the way from your financial analyst days to the startup you were part of and then of course where you’ve landed today and all the great things that you’re up to and then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Hazem: All right amazing i think that that’s where I’m going to struggle with but uh yeah let’s start and figure it out on the way um all right so early days back in uh university i went to the german university in cairo studied entrepreneurship and strategic management nobody actually knew what entrepreneurship was when i was studying it i was the first class to graduate that and yeah while i was there i started a little bit of an entrepreneurial experience with uh with my friend and we started one of the one of the first e-commerce businesses in in egypt actually and that didn’t go so well so everyone went ahead and tried tried something else i went ahead and learned about finance and economics and became a financial analyst in a couple of uh a couple of companies one of which is uh worked one of which worked in uh in the energy sector and then the building materials sector and then i shifted to real estate worked in a couple of companies real estate all into the the financial and investment and strategic planning uh functions of these of these companies learned a lot of things learned a lot of of models to to like extend this and and help founders think the way the way big corporates think and utilize these these frameworks and these models into their into their businesses and that’s what I’m doing today like i get a chance now at falux startups to to pretend like I’m a founder in all these companies that we work with so i got this satisfaction as well and uh try to help them with all the uh the knowledge i have accumulated across the different sectors on the different functions that I’ve worked in those in those past years. yeah you’re now you’re still waiting for something that nobody knows right yeah i had hoped you you’d forgot about that um i don’t know i uh i really hate bell peppers maybe that’s not something not.

Jeffery: Say uh again you you’re just like what’s the word.

Hazem: yeah about peppers

Jeffery: Bell peppers is that because they’re too hot i thought egyptians love hot

Hazem: No i like the hot i like the hot ones like like the red hot chili peppers both the real peppers and the band

Jeffery: Yeah

Hazem: But um yeah i don’t like the normal ones

Jeffery: Oh okay that’s all right so can you tell if it’s blended in with a good hot sauce can you pick those out and be like now I’m out of this no good

Hazem: Yeah

Jeffery: Wow that’s impressive yeah that’s all right man that’s impressive well you can say on my side I’m a huge hot sauce fan uh at any given moment i have hot sauce probably six to ten jars of it somewhere if not a stockpile of it all but i love hot sauce and everything i think hot sauce just is amazing no matter what i gotta try it i I’ve had the the one that’s probably the craziest and you’ll have to try this it’s something called the bomb and um oh my god it was on the hot shot hot sauce tv show it was the third hottest one ever and i literally had to keep trying this little dabs in like a bowl one dab bowl two dabs bowl three dabs and that’s how i had to grow on this stuff because it was so hot i would start crying my mouth was on fire and i just had to work my way into it i finished half a jar and i felt like a superhero and this took me like probably three months so you can imagine what it takes to do this all the time with hot sauce you gotta really get inclined in the market and really enjoy it and try it on everything until you get used to that uh real spicy uh picante sauce that uh builds up on it so i won’t beat that up any longer but man is hot sauce that’s all right maybe.

Hazem: Um i think you should come to uh to egypt back in november there’s a there’s a huge conference that happens every year there that’s called techni and it happens in alexandria not in cairo I’m not sure if you heard of it so um hopefully when you come in november I’ll take you somewhere and yeah i know you like it all because they they serve everything that’s hot as like as hell.

Jeffery: So i love it I’m sure yeah that’s great it sounds like it’s gonna happen because I’ll be going from web summit directly to egypt for the fourth so my goal is to try and make this all happen and coordinate this all so fingers crossed we can make it work.

Hazem: Amazing

Jeffery: So we’re going to kind of take a step back because i think there’s a lot of great things that you kind of shared there and there’s a few other things that I’ve learned and read and podcasts and all this great stuff about what you’ve done but the one thing that really kind of stands out of course well two things is the finance and then the second one is the fact that you’ve been a founder and that you’ve actually worked through and built a company and he spent a few years doing that so maybe the first thing we can talk about is diving into what your experience was in building a company especially back in the early onset of the internet and the in the world of uh in egypt as well because every country would have been a little bit different when the internet started to kind of take off so maybe share a little bit of what that experience was like and you said people came in and tried different things but you kind of looked at this as not being a success and i personally would look at this as being a huge success because i meant i manage success a little bit differently when it comes to working with founders and with with uh investors is that you’ve got a lot of valuable information that you’ve built up regardless of the payout but you did a lot of great things so maybe we can start with maybe describe a bit more about what the business was about and what you learned in that early onset of building this company.

Hazem: Well the business was a simple e-commerce business where we sold a bunch of uh electronics uh online it was uh it was really challenging because that um like we started really really early so that’s that’s the key takeaway of the thing because sometimes you’d have you’d have the good uh you’d have a good team you have a good product you have a good product market fit you’ll have everything that you need but you but you’re too early to the market like people wouldn’t at back in the day buying something online was was not something that common and in egypt at least and yeah to me that was the key uh key takeaway the other key takeaway also was to to know and to understand when when to give up because that’s that’s a question that really really pops up a lot of the time people sometimes take it as a challenge or they wouldn’t want to quit but i think it’s um it’s a key lesson to know when it’s not working or if it’s if it’s that early and you can’t keep pushing until it becomes the thing or until you you can teach the market and do this whole learning uh learning process like if you have the resources then well sure yeah go for it but uh you need to gauge that you need to manage your resources really really well and um like no if if it’s too early then we give it another shot maybe uh maybe a couple years later when the infrastructure is there when the culture is really going to accept it so as they say culture would eat a strategy for for breakfast lunch and dinner right so that’s that’s something that you wouldn’t want to uh to go head-to-head with.

Jeffery: when you’re not only early to market but gauging when it’s time to move away from a product fail a company or pivot i think there’s always this fear or stigma behind that and can you say that learning this or knowing when you did this how much of that was built off the principles that you learned in the financial sector because you’ve been a financial analyst a business analyst do those things really help you better understand the numbers how the business works so