An untimely electricity outage was the inspiration behind the innovative services company co-founded by Masdar Institute Class of 2013 MSc in Engineering Systems and Management graduate Mohamed Al Sharhan, called Servue.
“We had blackout at home and since it was Friday it took dozens of calls to find someone to fix the problem, and that too at double the usual rate. I realized this kind of situation often happens; where a service provider, be it a salon, a grocery store, a laundry service, etc., is not available or findable when you need it,” Al Sharhan shared
From that realization Al Sharhan and his friend Marzouq Al Zaabi established Servue in 2016 as a services provider that leverages Big Data analysis to provide all kinds of services at home, anywhere in the UAE, at any time. Servue is one of several companies established by alumni, faculty, and Young Future Energy Leaders program graduates, which are being highlighted as part of Masdar Institute’s ten year anniversary campaign to show the impact MI has had on the UAE and wider world since it was established in 2007.
“I wondered why customers have to suffer because a product or service is not easily available when and where they want it, when at the same time, there are lots of service providers and people who need customers and jobs? That is why I partnered with my friend Marzouq to set up Servue, which we hope will become the largest smart services provider in the UAE and one day, the world,” Al Sharhan said.
They launched Servue in 2016 and already its innovative novelty has been recognized with its selection for the Emirates Youth Award in the category of the Best Entrepreneurship Project in 2017.
Servue works through a mobile application, where buyers or sellers can review products and services in categories like baqala (grocery store), homemade products, cleaning, salons, maintenance, housemaid, laundry, carwash, and instructors.
Beyond providing a classic online shopping platform, Servue also enables workforce management, accounting, and even setting up one’s own business. Buyers and sellers can also communicate with each other through the app, send alerts, and rate service providers.
“The aim of Servue is to facilitate unemployment, better services providence, better quality of life, and happier and smarter communities,” the young Emirati said.
The app is already live, and the company is currently building up its registered service providers from the Abu Dhabi market to build a comprehensive platform to provide the best customer service to consumers in the UAE and beyond. The company currently is only servicing Abu Dhabi and is scheduled to expand outside of the emirate in the fourth quarter of 2017.
“In five years we see Servue as everyone’s personal assistant when it comes to requesting services, not only in UAE, but wherever there are people who need services,” Al Sharhan shared.
Al Sharhan credits the training he received at Masdar Institute for helping prepare him for the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
“MI equipped me with the necessary tools to be an innovative person. Studying at MI helped me develop my analytical and research skills, which now allows me to better assess situations, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues to be addressed in my community. Moreover, I became a flexible team player who thrives in environments requiring the ability to effectively prioritize and juggle multiple concurrent projects. I also took a course in entrepreneurship during my time at MI, which helped to equip me with the necessary skills to start Servue, which also helped us win support from the Khalifa Fund,” he said.
Al Sharhan also advises his fellow aspiring entrepreneurs who are considering developing and launching their own start-ups to put as much time in selecting their business partners as they do in developing their ideas.
“Partnering with my friend Marzouq was one of the best decisions I’ve made to start-up Servue. It’s very important to be selective in choosing your partners. You have to ask yourself ‘would you trust this individual with your personal bank account?’ If the answer is no, then think twice. You should have aligned goals, values and responsibilities. Don’t assume just because you get along as friends that they are the right business partner,” he said.
Al Zaabi also has a bachelor’s in electrical and electronics engineering degree and a Master’s in innovation management, and specializes in Big Data, which he leveraged to develop the Servue concept further, making it smarter in terms of service provision and data analysis.
Al Sharhan is looking forward to further developing the Servue concept, and has other business ideas that he may be developing soon in between his full-time work at the UAE Ministry of Interior Smart Traffic Center, where he is the Innovation Unit Team Leader.
“We are fortunate to live during the information revolution, because of which the sort of problems aspiring business owners commonly face are of a technical or informational nature. This presents many opportunities for innovative solutions. And we in the UAE are even more fortunate to live in this country, which, as His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said: ‘…is a country of vast opportunity; we aim to provide a tolerant environment that can nurture potential and support outstanding talent’,” Al Sharhan shared.
22 March 2017