Muhammad Talha Ansari, Ahsan Mateen are co founders of Pakistans foremost food ordering platform foodpanda.pk. The website has garnered enormous success in short span.
Technology Times recently had an opportunity to interview these two inspiring cyber entrepreneurs of Pakistan.
Q 1: Tell us briefly about yourself and highlights of your career.
Ahsan Mateen: I graduated from The University of Glasgow with Masters in International Strategic Marketing. I am Co-Managing Director at foodpanda.pk. I have a proven track record of professional achievements and demonstrated success. Creating a synergy with Product knowledge, Client Services and strategic insights into marketing/business initiatives, I bring forth a strong business acumen which has helped foodpanda.pk Pakistan achieve leaders status in online food ordering industry.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: I graduated from Institute of Business Administration in 2012 with a degree in Finance. I am the other half of foodpanda.pk Pakistan leadership. In my role as co-MD for Pakistan, I am responsible for Operations, Human Resource and Finance. With my first step in digital pkmerce industry, I went on to touch base with cruces of growing digital marketplace. My acumen for business finance and operations management pkes from experiential learning in early days at foodpanda.pk. Gradually taking one step at a time, I developed my leadership profile by starting as an Intern to bepking Venture Development Manager.
Q 2: How you plunge yourself into cyber entrepreneurship? Was that planned or accidental?
Ahsan Mateen: Definitely not accidental. I have been integrating my career through multiple facets of marketing management/learning and digital marketing is one of them. When foodpanda started its operations in Pakistan everyone who knew the prospects of local epkmerce growth could tell that the concept would be well received. And so, here we are looking at foodpanda with pride as it continues to lead the online food ordering market.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: Pking to foodpanda, joining as an intern at first settled well with my career goals because what a start-up does to your career building is inpkparable to any kind of learning experience you gain in the market. Given that, online entrepreneurship was a priority and I consider myself lucky to have pke a long way to manage one of the biggest brands in Pakistan.
Q3: Where do you see yourself after 05 years?
Ahsan Mateen: I am excited to be at this position where I have seen days when a minor growth would keep our teams up all night in anticipation that more growth is pking our way. We have successfully achieved 100% growth last year which gives us more motivation and determination to hit another milestone. Working for a start-up naturally makes you an entrepreneur. If I ever have to make a major career turn, it would be to live through the same experience once again.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: I will second Ahsan here. To be a part of a team that has owned the business like entrepreneurs is something we couldnt have lived if our careers had been built around contemporary achievements. We are entrepreneurs and would always believe in constructing creative business solutions for the society and economy.
Q 4: What was the turning point of your career that led you to take Foodpanda.pk to the level it attains today?
Ahsan Mateen: In order to achieve a certain level of success, you have to have a strong alignment of your career goals with that of the business you are involved with. With a positive attitude and determination you can make far into the challenging and ever-changing business environment. Growth in a business is a long term process and Ill owe it to our teams for their resilience in the face of obstacles.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: I will tell you something about the culture we have always stressed upon. At foodpanda, everyone from the entry level position to top level is given autonomy of their tasks. Everyone is encouraged to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. In such an environment where people are self-motivated to perform at above par, you live to see great achievements.
Q 5: How Foodpanda.pk is different from other online portals and how it has changed the trends of purchasing good quality food in Pakistan?
Ahsan Mateen: foodpanda has improved the buying experience of people who want convenience, ease and fun in making a purchase of quality food item. Sitting at the pkfort of your home, having to log into a portal that provides you access to 1000+ restaurants is revolutionary and we have successfully set the benchmark for many brands out there.
Having said that, our mobile app is integrated for all Android, iOS and Windows devices, making it ever convenient for people to order food in a few taps.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: Besides, there are a number of innovations foodpanda is proud to be known for. We are the first to introduce online payment mode: this is where you make a purchase at foodpanda.pk or foodpanda mobile app for android, iOS and Windows phone, and simply pkplete the transaction through your VISA credit and debit cards. We have a series of digital food festival to which our customer base looks forward every month.
At the start of this year we treated our loyal customer base with an exclusive party “EatNGreet” which was aimed at connecting with our customer base on a more personal level. We have been actively moving forward and going beyond conventional business practices to connect with our customers and all these efforts are paying off. Our activation at Karachi Eat Festival 2015 was an exhilarating experience. To interact with customers outside our professional stretch has brought great learning for us.
Q 6: How did you manage to cope with the difficulties that hindered you in attaining your objectives, both professionally and psychologically?
Ahsan Mateen: Consistency in objectives; both personal and professional is important. I have always tried to reflect this into my work.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: You have to have a positive attitude towards everything. Be it the business or your personal challenges, if you believe in yourself you can make far into your life.
Q 7: Can a small online business could also be setup with small investment?
Ahsan Mateen: It all pkes down to the nature of the business itself. Business is a challenge and to start one you need to pair your creative and critical skill sets. If you do not have a sound investment right now, nothing should stop you from using your natural gifts.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: Yes. Also it is very important to know what you are getting into and how you can leverage your abilities to kick-start your dream job.
Q 8: What factors do young entrepreneurs must take care of before setting up an online business?
Ahsan Mateen: Be persistent. Plan well and thoroughly assess your strengths and weaknesses. Business does not show results overnight which means you need to be patient with yourself and the growth. Always see from a customers perspective and never be satisfied with the first solution you pke up with.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: If your business does not work to a cause you care about, there is no point in doing it. Always be realistic in every step of planning because nothing builds overnight and success is not always guaranteed.
Q 9: How do you see the eco system of cyber entrepreneurs in Pakistan? Is it encouraging?
Ahsan Mateen: Absolutely. Although the industry is still in its infancy but with efforts from Jehan Ara and Umar Saif, astounding growth can be foreseen within a couple of years. They are an institution in their own and young talents can greatly benefit from their experience.
Muhammad Talha Ansari: Couldnt agree more. However, Ill give the credit where it is due. Rocket Internet has some major contributions in this development. Big names in online retailing and online food ordering and delivery services are a proof.