Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
The winners of the Foodtech Innovation of the Year award at the 2022 Tech Innovation Awards staged by Entrepreneur Middle East, NextBite co-founders (and brothers) Mohammad and Abdulrahman Alhamdan clearly did not have much time to rest on their laurels as the Kuwaiti entrepreneurs have been keeping themselves busy fundraising for their venture. “We are currently securing a bridge fundraising round to achieve the second phase of our product development which will be a game-changing step where Nextbite will be targeting the B2C segment,” Mohammad reveals to me now in an interview.
It was Mohammad who spotted a gap in the restaurant dine-in industry and teamed up with his brother Abdulrahman to develop a cloud-based software-as-a-solution (SaaS) solution that can upscale the dining experience. “We invested time and resources into creating a product that would go on to change the face of dining experience in Kuwait and beyond,” Mohammad says. As for how NextBite has fared since it launched, the Alhamdan brothers point out that the startup has brought more than US$230,000 in extra revenue to restaurants. However, it is the context that gives more significance to these figures- Mohammad points out here that NextBite has been able to collect more than 2.2 millions orders in Kuwait, and then adds that one of the world’s biggest digital menu providers has collected only five million orders, although it operates on more than 50 million devices and in 70 countries.
“Our USP lies in our unique and seamless ordering experience from restaurant tables, and a strong table management base sets us apart from our competitors and allows us to run restaurant operations more efficiently,” Mohammad explains. “Following our vision and product development strategy, we set our niche product to the next level by integrating a high-end, all-in-one dining events management system. This model is completely new, unlike anything else on the market. Customers can buy their dining tickets, check in, be seated, place their order, tip, provide feedback, and pay- all using the same single ticket!”
In developing this solution, the Alhamdan brothers have come to learn that entrepreneurship is “much more than a job title.” Abdulrahman explains, “It allows you to follow your dreams, create, innovate, and develop unique products without limits. A passionate, committed, and measured risk-taker attitude are essential for success as an entrepreneur. Ultimately, having the courage to start your own business is an incredibly rewarding experience, and the journey of entrepreneurship comes with many risks but also limitless opportunities.”
The NextBite team at a gathering in Kuwait. Source: NextBite
The NextBite team is currently 11-strong, and Mohammad believes that “forming an exceptional team was the key to their success.” He adds, “We worked hard to find the right team members, although there were many trials and errors. Our team has a unique combination of diverse backgrounds and experiences, which brings a great deal of creativity and innovation to our projects, making us a powerhouse of potential that is sure to lead us to success.”
When it comes to funding their business, the Alhamdan brothers bootstrapped it until developing a minimum viable product for NextBite. “Then, we were able to secure a seed fund as a strategic partner, which was a huge push towards our vision, and, as a result, we have now reached our product market fit,” Abdulrahman adds. When raising funds, Abdulrahman prefers to focus on showcasing a good business concept, enjoying organic growth, and getting exposure to the public, but he adds that choosing the right investor is also equally important. “Startups must be certain to address the type of investors they want to attract, whether it is an angel, or a strategic investor, or a venture capitalist,” Abdulrahman explains. “They should also ensure that they have a solid network in the industry, and gain support from those who have gone through the same process. Connecting with other founders and learning from their experience is useful, as this can provide insights into how to navigate through the funding process.”
Looking forward to the future, the Alhamdan brothers plan to remain committed to enhancing their product in order to keep up with the ever-evolving market trends, which, as Mohammad explains, is one of the main challenges of building a tech business. “We always commit to rapid development and endure high R&D cost, especially when creating a non-existing model or product, but the demand in the market can flip at any time,” Mohammed says. “This makes it highly risky to anticipate and plan. However, despite the challenges, we still take a risk and invest in tech products, hoping that our efforts will pay off in the end.”
‘TREP TALK: NextBite co-founders Mohammad and Abdulrahman Alhamdan share their tips for entrepreneurs
1. Set a clear business plan for your company, and focus on organic growth “It is important to conduct market research, and hold multiple consultations to validate the concept before launching the business. It is also wise to start with an minimum viable product, in order to test the market response before investing more in the full version of your product. Quality should not be compromised in order to launch quickly, but do build the first version of your product with its main feature, because it will allow you to validate and adjust your business model.”
2. Hiring the right team is critical “Entrepreneurs need a team who should always be prepared to make pivots, and adopt resilient techniques in order to keep companies up and running.”
3. Start securing funds early on “Good entrepreneurs can convince investors to take part in the success of their companies, and to do this, you must have a firm understanding of your business plan, as well as a strong grasp of the market and its dynamics. Additionally, be sure to demonstrate your credibility and accomplishments to potential investors, as this will help build a sense of trust and confidence.”
Related: Five Of The Best Ways To Scale Your SME (With No Investment)