We talked to Mohamed Hawwas of ZeeMoe about their second fully automated sales channel and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mohamed Hawwas: So far, not too bad for staying almost all day long indoors. For myself, I might even be better than average days since I am more introverted.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ZeeMoe.
Mohamed Hawwas: I graduated from Med school in 2017 in Egypt. At the time, I started a side hustle with a friend selling products on Amazon US. It was great. I more than doubled the initial investment put in the project but stopped since the smiling Amazon logo that I knew as a customer started turning devilish in my head as a seller. As a non-US resident who’s incorporated a US-startup, it was very challenging creating a completely remote supply chain that was consistent, sufficient, and had our particular demands met. Then a light bulb lit up at the end of 2018, and I realized if I helped solve some of the eCommerce issues we already faced and tackled, we might be onto something. So I made a list of what would have been the perfect experience for me to start an Amazon business and what would have helped me make more money. I shifted to working full-time on my startup in January 2019, got the team together, and started working on a vast concept. Unfortunately, since our idea was too big, we had to focus only on limited parts of the picture, get funded, and move on to our more significant concept, the more we grow.
How does ZeeMoe innovate?
Mohamed Hawwas: Mostly, by using other products and services. I realized that most companies create new problems when they solve others. Looking at how each company functions, its users’ complaints, and its response to their demands makes me think about the next step.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mohamed Hawwas: During the lockdown, we had to pivot into education, as the demand was there. It has slowed down our progress and launch timeline. Right now, we are working on two projects that we hopefully see launching pretty soon.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mohamed Hawwas: Luckily, we started with everything remote. Remote team, ops, and tools. So we didn’t get that disrupted when the lockdown happened. To us, it was another day of work. However, with startups in general, we have to make multiple hard choices per day, and they never really get more comfortable. If I did learn anything, it is that building things take time. It would be way better for everything to be resolved or launched in 1 day, but the truth is: it’s a journey. Each step has obstacles met in the early stages than in the late stages.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Mohamed Hawwas: I don’t take anything in life seriously anymore, which helps a lot. I always ask myself, what is the worst that can happen with any given situation? As long as it is not severe hurt or injury, then why stress about it?
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mohamed Hawwas: eCommerce marketplaces in general, but in particular, there isn’t anyone taking our approach. We have a list of what we need to build in the next ten years, otherwise if (or when) we become a unicorn, we don’t lose innovation.