Build a Community at The Auction Website Souq.com then Launch Your Own Site nahel.com on July 18th

15 Jul, 2009
Build a Community at The Auction Website Souq.com and Launch Your Own Site nahel.com on July 18th
In an email that landed to my mailbox today, Saeid Hejazi, founder of Dubai, UAE based nahel.com, told me that his team started their services as a seller on Souq.com, “while we built solid relationships with our suppliers, built an inventory and created a brand for ourselves within the online community. We feel that we are now prepared to offer online buyers an even better shopping experience through nahel.com””
In a follow up email he said, under the user name was http://souq.com/nahel  “ we were the biggest sellers on Souq.com with around 10,000 products available. From games, to perfumes, computers and accessories, electronics, watches, and much more.” said Hejazi, he added that they will be launching nahel.com the new retailer in the Middle East, on July 18th, 2009.
That sounds a good idea, is in it? Use an existing community, build a brand and then launch your own thing. Though Nahel inception was not a coincidence, as according to Nahel.com’s website its idea was originated in 2007,” the original business model of today’s Nahel.com was born as the first place winner in the University of Toronto’s Business Plan Competition.”
During its soft-launch Nahel.com will only offer perfumes for men and women, watches for both of them plus kids and video games. However Hejazi said ” We will be adding the rest of our products and categories on a daily basis. We just wanted to invite our previous buyers to come and test our website, and let us know what they think.”
The website offers what you would expect in any e-commerce site, but what I noted that you can create your own wish list and see video preview for games (embedded from Youtube.)
As Nahel launches, it will restrict its sales to the UAE and will be able to offer  delivery through-out the country. Hejazi said ”We will be offering a ‘Day After Tomorrow’ Delivery Guarantee, but most of the time, we will be having next day delivery. We believe in ‘under-promise, over deliver.”
Hejazi told me that the actual delivery process is outsourced, but they will be managing the full delivery operations themselves. As they have established a joint venture with one of the largest logistics companies in the UAE. “They will be wearing our uniforms, using our own issued AWB, and our packaging materials.” He added.
Though, at a later stage nahel.com plans to offer its services to other Gulf Corporate Council (GCC) countries and the rest of Middle East at a later stage.
As for payment, once it’s launched it will offer Cash-On-Delivery, PayPal and other online payment gateways will be added soon.
United Arab Emirates is the only Arab country that is listed under “Send. Receive. Withdraw to a U.S. Bank Account or a card” on PayPal international account https://www.paypal.com/worldwide/, which means according to PayPal, users can send and receive payments, withdraw from their PayPal account to a U.S. bank account. In addition, withdraw to a credit, debit, or prepaid card in countries marked with a ( ). All other Arab countries can only send.
Nahel.com has 11 employees. It got a seed funding from angel investor, Saeed Al Zubaidi who acts as a Chairman. Nahel.com website is currently in English and Arabic version will be available in couple more months.

In an email that landed to my mailbox today, Saeid Hejazi, founder of Dubai, UAE based nahel.com, told me that his team started their services as a seller on Souq.com, “while we built solid relationships with our suppliers, built an inventory and created a brand for ourselves within the online community. We feel that we are now prepared to offer online buyers an even better shopping experience through nahel.com”

In a follow up email he said, under the user name was souq.com/nahel “ we were the biggest sellers on Souq.com with around 10,000 products available. From games, to perfumes, computers and accessories, electronics, watches, and much more.” said Hejazi, he added that they will be launching nahel.com the new retailer in the Middle East, on July 18th, 2009.

That sounds a good idea, is in it? Use an existing community, build a brand and then launch your own thing. Though Nahel inception was not a coincidence, as according to Nahel.com’s website its idea was originated in 2007,” the original business model of today’s Nahel.com was born as the first place winner in the University of Toronto’s Business Plan Competition.”

During its soft-launch Nahel.com will only offer perfumes for men and women, watches for both of them plus kids and video games. However Hejazi said ” We will be adding the rest of our products and categories on a daily basis. We just wanted to invite our previous buyers to come and test our website, and let us know what they think.”

The website offers what you would expect in any e-commerce site, but what I noted that you can create your own wish list and see video preview for games (embedded from Youtube.)

As Nahel launches, it will restrict its sales to the UAE and will be able to offer  delivery through-out the country. Hejazi said ”We will be offering a ‘Day After Tomorrow’ Delivery Guarantee, but most of the time, we will be having next day delivery. We believe in ‘under-promise, over deliver.”

Hejazi told me that the actual delivery process is outsourced, but they will be managing the full delivery operations themselves. As they have established a joint venture with one of the largest logistics companies in the UAE. “They will be wearing our uniforms, using our own issued AWB, and our packaging materials.” He added.

Though, at a later stage nahel.com plans to offer its services to other Gulf Corporate Council (GCC) countries and the rest of Middle East at a later stage.

As for payment, once it’s launched it will offer Cash-On-Delivery, PayPal and other online payment gateways will be added soon.

United Arab Emirates is the only Arab country that is listed under “Send. Receive. Withdraw to a U.S. Bank Account or a card” on PayPal international accounts, which means according to PayPal, users can send and receive payments, withdraw from their PayPal account to a U.S. bank account. In addition, withdraw to a credit, debit, or prepaid card in countries marked with a ( ). All other Arab countries can only send.

Nahel.com has 11 employees. It got a seed funding from angel investor, Saeed Al Zubaidi who acts as a Chairman. Nahel.com website is currently in English and Arabic version will be available in couple more months.

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  1. Saeid M. Hejazi  |  July 15th, 2009 at 7:34 PM #

    Hi Ghaith,

    Thank you for writing that article about us on your blog. I was kind of surprised that you had published it so fast without getting all the facts from me.
    It seems to me that your article tries to make us look like the bad guys, who took advantage of Souq to build up customers and then steal them to our own website, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

    We started on Souq with the intention of building up our business there and grow with them and create something remarkable for the region, but for reasons which are still unknown to me, Souq wasn’t receptive to our business approaches to advance the relationship between us and to grow together. In fact, when we spoke to them regarding becoming their official Trading Assistants, helping business and individuals sell their products on Souq, they launched their own Trading Assistant service. When we spoke to them regarding offering our services to car dealerships in the UAE, they went ahead and offered the same exact service. Throughout our time on Souq, regardless of how many times we tried to find a way to work with them and do things together, they would try to marginalize us as much as possible. Even though we were the biggest sellers on Souq, they wouldn’t allow us to create a ‘store’, which basically was having a store within Souq. Having a ‘store’ would have significantly increased our sales. And despite our many requests for meetings with them to solve our issues out, they were non-responsive.

    And for your information we didn’t even leave Souq; they shut down our account when they found out we were planning to launch our own website. Even though our businesses doesn’t directly compete with them. Their marketplace is C2C based, while ours is B2C.
    We wouldn’t have started on Souq if we didn’t believe in them and their potential, but our relationship with them left a bad taste in our mouths, and we had to look for alternative solutions.

    Taking all of the above into account, we, at Nahel.com did what we had to, to survive. We have a great business, and our customers love our service, our 99.6% satisfaction rating proved that. We worked extremely hard at earning their respect and loyalty. And behaving like any sensible business would do (as you would agree), we saw that becoming independent and creating our own website; was the only way for us to grow without any restrictions. It was even suggested to us by dozens of our customers.

    Finally, regarding your opening sentence in your blog, my email did not land in your inbox. I filled out your “Submit A Start-Up” form believing that you and your website would help us meet other young entrepreneurs and experienced industry experts. I simply replied to all your questions honestly and transparently.

    But again, thank you for your article. :)

  2. Gaith Saqer  |  July 15th, 2009 at 8:08 PM #

    Thank you Saeid for your comment, it seems there was some confusion.

    1- I did not think I tried to make nahel look like bad guy, actually i liked your approach, this is optimizing social media to get publicity and credibility, that other startups can learn lessons from, even though souq is not really a social media website like facebook or twitter but it has a social aspect, and even though the work you did at souq is much more than using facebook or twitter (wish is also not an easy task) as it involve delivery and other logistics.

    2-when you or anyone fill the ” Submit A startup” form, it lands to my inbox, so ur email landed to my inbox :P on the form page http://arabcrunch.com/submit-startup it says “Please fill up the following form to tell us about your company and product(s)/Service(s). We will use this information to help us to profile/review your company on ArabCrunch.
    Some fields in the form are optional, share as much as you like. But we would like to get as much information as possible so we can provide more in depth profiling about your company”

    the startup submission form stats cleary that we will use the info that the startup sends to us so we write about it.

    For me it is very important to keep my trust with content sources, many people disclose info to me but tell me not to publish and I respect their wish 100%. you should have told me which info is for publishing and which is not.

    Thank you and all the best.

  3. Gaith Saqer  |  July 15th, 2009 at 8:10 PM #

    And again thank you for clarifying your past relationship with souq.com

  4. Saeid M. Hejazi  |  July 16th, 2009 at 9:47 AM #

    I just want to let everyone know, that Mr. Ghaith had full permission to publish everything he spoke about in his article. In no way had he used any information that I had asked him to keep confidential.

  5. mamod  |  July 16th, 2009 at 2:30 PM #

    @Saeid : take it from a reader who read the post before reading your comment, I didn’t feel that nahel is evil at all, in fact it was the opposite, I liked the way you guys started.

  6. syd  |  July 16th, 2009 at 3:58 PM #

    ONE HOUR DOWN… 8 HOURS TO GO!!!!! I SWEAR IM STAYING POSITIVE ALL DAY… IF I START TWITTING DOWN…. BUILD ME UP ASAP!!!

  7. Hiconomics  |  July 17th, 2009 at 2:49 AM #

    As an unbiased reader of this post and the comments… I thought the post was definitely leaning to the positive…

    I was actually quite impressed by the evolution and development of Nahel. It only makes sense to establish a community before embarking on a full operation of this sort. I also don’t see how this is competition to Souq.com… and think they may have over-reacted.

    All the best with the new Nahel site and platform..

  8. Saeid M. Hejazi  |  July 21st, 2009 at 5:16 PM #

    To Syd, Hiconomics & Ghaith,

    Thanks a lot for your comments! I guess I misinterpreted the whole article…

    Your comments are really motivating :)

    Hope you guys sign up!

    Thanks :)

  9. בלו ביי - קונים מוכרים - מכירות פומביות, מכירות רגילות, לוחות ובארטרים  |  January 16th, 2010 at 1:23 PM #

    בלו ביי – קונים מוכרים – מכירות פומביות, מכירות רגילות, לוחות ובארטרים…

    Domain Pagerank– Old Domain– Auction Domain What is Domain Name System And It’ s Use? Blog Domain Pagerank– Old Domain– Auction Domain What is Domain Name System And It’ s Use? Review Domain Pagerank– Old Domain– Auction Domain What is Domain Name Syst…

  10. Aramex Strikes an E-commerce Deal: Video Interview with Iyad Kamal COO Aramex.  |  April 4th, 2010 at 5:06 PM #

    [...] e-commerce presence with its recent partnership with United Arab Emirate e-commerce startup Nahel (launched at AC), providing complete end-to-end delivery service with plans for its own payment [...]

  11. splog service  |  April 29th, 2010 at 4:35 AM #

    I acn’treawd your website in Opera 5.7, I just thought I wwoyld tell oyu aboht it?

  12. Anas Alshanti  |  August 16th, 2010 at 10:32 PM #

    Dear Saied,

    Please keep up with the good work..

    I do believe that “growing together culture” is a bit of a disappointment in this region, probably it’s natural, who knows?! yet i do urge businesses to find a platform of trust to collaborate, hopefully soon we will see some change in this direction.

    To all the people out there, SMILE!

    By the way Saeid, good CNN Interview, liked it.. :)

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