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Abdulaziz Al Jouf

CEO & Founder, PayTabs

Paul Melotto

CEO, AlRaedah Finance

Offering targeted products and services that are in demand, these fintech companies have seen great success and a rapid uptake in just a few years.
How is the company currently positioned?

ABDULAZIZ AL JOUF PayTabs has completed multiple acquisitions in the last two years. We have noticed that payment services are becoming a commodity, so we have started to expand both in a horizontal and vertical manner. PayTabs SwitchOn will enable us to penetrate into the orchestration and infrastructure of payments, and we are working on becoming an end-to-end payment platform. There has been a great deal of development with the point-of-sale concept, which is now in demand. We are offering an ecosystem, platform, product, and even an extension. It enables merchants as they need something that is easy to use and available online, even when pandemics occur. There has been a shift toward being more agile and quicker in project turnaround, which is why we are putting in more effort into core the foundations of payments and building products.

PAUL MELOTTO We currently supporting SMEs as a platform, not just with financing but also with payments and digital payments and increasing support through some government programs as well as indirect lending programs within the SME section of the government. Everyone wants to say they support SMEs in some shape or form; however, they often overlook the value chain and what is valuable to SMEs. We decided a long time ago that even though we have lending licenses for individuals, car leasing, and so on, we want the entire organization to focus on SMEs. It is extremely focused. SMEs receive a better experience and enhanced offerings when a company is specifically focused on them.

How has the regulatory space for fintech companies in the Kingdom changed in the last few years?

AAJ Our strategy is completely different for Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is extremely dynamic, and there has been significant progress. Not many private companies have caught up with it. Our landscape has changed, and there are many entities that recently emerged. In 2015, there were only a handful of companies, one of which was ours. This shows how rapidly the market has developed, and we had an early mover advantage. There are many companies, but they only cover a fraction of the population with their products. In two years, we will see the true number, as many of them will have to consolidate. Many of the companies launch without a real problem-solving product. From our perspective, it is all about consolidation and acquisition. We want to introduce these newcomers to the PayTabs ecosystem and make acquisitions over time.

How does the company leverage big data and smart technologies to boost its operations?

PM We were one of the first ones in the Kingdom to adopt AI machine learning in 2017. We adopted an automated AI machine learning platform that allows us to build tasks and deploy models quickly. We took a brief break during COVID-19 because the data was skewed, and we have since reintroduced this model. We model everything such as expected credit losses, which is the probability of default and recovery from customers, to the amount of time it would take a customer to pay off their loan. In addition, we use it to predict how fast or slow a customer in the pipeline will close or originate. We were far ahead of the curve regarding the adoption of AI machinery.

What are your global ambitions?

AAJ Currently, we are targeting MENA markets, or the MENA-T, because Turkey is included as well. This is where we are laying our groundwork. In Africa, we are entering the market through partnerships and collaborations. In a market such as Zimbabwe, which has nothing of this kind, you need to first make people understand the concept and implement it gradually. Even though we have been invited to some countries by banks, we decided not to enter because we want to enter a market where we can worry less about competition and more about how to build market share, expand, and change people’s transactions in their daily lives.

How do you ensure you have a competitive, skilled human capital?

PM Before COVID-19 hit, the company was small, with 40 employees. Now, we have close to 200. We are expanding exponentially in terms of our sales volume, digital transformation, and digital experience. We have imported talent from around the world to support us in this endeavor. However, we have also invested heavily in the local job market. About 85% of our company as a whole are Saudis, and this drives us forward. It is challenging from a retention perspective; however, we have a unique offering that gives employees experiences that they might not otherwise get from somewhere else. 



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