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Abdulaziz B. Al Loghani Chairman & CEO, Floward

KUWAIT - Telecoms & IT

Abdulaziz B. Al Loghani

Chairman & CEO, Floward

Bio

Abdulaziz B. Al Loughani is the Chairman & CEO of Floward. He is also Managing Partner at Faith Capital as is a member of Endeavor, the first Kuwaiti to be selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Previously, Al Loughani was the founding executive vice chairman of the Kuwait National Fund for SMEs Development. Prior to this, he was a co-founder & CEO of Talabat.com. He also previously served as director at Global Capital Management. Al Loughani has served as an executive and member of board on a number of companies within the MENA region. He holds a bachelor’s degree with a double major in information systems and e-commerce from the University of Toledo and an MBA degree from London Business School.

The preferred online flowers and gifts destination in MENA and UK, Floward has become one of the largest e-commerce players in the Arab world. What is the story behind Floward, […]
The preferred online flowers and gifts destination in MENA and UK, Floward has become one of the largest e-commerce players in the Arab world.
What is the story behind Floward, and how did it all begin?

Five years ago, we saw an opportunity in the gifting industry in the MENA region. I have been investing and operating in consumer internet for the past 16 years, and we had decided to explore this niche after realizing there is no real market leader in the region. The flowers vertical was a USD1.5-billion market in the Gulf, with 99.9% of it being offline, traditional, brick-and-mortar businesses all around. There was no company bringing it all together or brand royalty and recognition. The first question for us was the business model, and we chose pure-play e-commerce for two key reasons. The first was unit economics. Flowers and gifts are not something that consumers procure every day and were clear that we didn’t want to buy growth for ever. We were conscious of the need to build a sustainable business. The second reason was user experience; given the thousands of shops available in the region, significant upgrades were required to provide a great online experience for customers. We wanted to develop a brand and provide that experience to customers, rather than work with multiple providers and wait for them to step up their game. We handled the basics in terms of user experience extremely well and enhanced our advantage in comparison to other flower stores in the market by creating true variety and value for money in terms of our products. Our goal was to provide the best value for money and a quick turnaround time along with the right variety of products and customer experience. Today, we operate in nine countries to service 37 cities, and customers receive the same turnaround time and experience everywhere they are. We usually deliver within 90 minutes.

What is Floward’s strategy and approach to leveraging its success with ESG initiatives and solutions in mind?

Within our overall vision and strategy, ESG is an important element, and we address its different aspects, whether it is the environment, social responsibility, or governance. On the environmental side, given the nature of our business, we only sell fresh-cut flowers. We do our best to avoid any artificial flowers or artificial plants. Our printing, packaging, and delivery materials are all also moving toward environmentally friendly solutions. We are extremely creative with our designs, though we recognize the limits of our capacity, which is why we have started involving members of the community to create designs. We launched Floward Community, a crowdsourcing space, in summer 2022. Anyone can come up with a certain arrangement or design, upload it onto our platform, and describe it with a few photos. If we like their arrangement designs and are accepted, we will push the design on our website, and whenever the item is sold, they get a royalty for their design. We also dedicate a portion of our revenue to social causes, and we have averaged one CSR initiative per week over the past year. It is important to us to remain close to our community. This is something close to our hearts. We take social responsibility seriously and often organize sponsorship for initiatives such as conferences or campaigns with many NGOs. The last piece of our ESG participation is governance. Floward is a start-up; today, we are one of the largest e-commerce players in the Arab world. In Kuwait, for example, we generate more revenue than 95% of listed companies. This is how powerful of an engine we have built and brand we have created. We have since institutionalized our practice and added more governance to it. We started a board with representation from our shareholders and partners. Earlier in 2022, we also installed an independent director as part of our board. We already plan to go public in 2024. In addition, we plan to launch our ESG reports soon.

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