First Person: The Impact The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Having On Our Startup, Our Customers, And Our MENA Region

The founder of fintech startup NOW Money reflects on what the business world will be reshaped for the coming years.

They are unprecedented times globally. Seldom in history has there been a meeting that affects everyone wherever they are on earth to quite the extent that the coronavirus pandemic already has, and can continue steadily to do so in the coming months and years. As a founder of a fintech startup, NOW Money, I’m having a distinctive perspective along the way in which folks are reacting, and the way the business world will be reshaped for the coming years.

Firstly, our customers. We offer makes up about low income migrant workers in the Gulf to get their salaries, and invite them to create remittances with their home country directly from a smartphone app. We’ve seen continued growth through the coronavirus pandemic and oil price crash- in the entire year to date, the trend towards using smartphone-based services, the problems at traditional remittance providers like UAE Exchange, and our continued product development and improvement have led us to see strong growth in remittances: 31% month-on-month growth in January, 46% in February, and 20% in March to date.

The majority of the impact of the pandemic for all of us, and all individuals in the Gulf, will begin to show through in the coming months. As businesses visit a slowdown, employees will be placed on unpaid leave or let go, that leads to reduced salaries, spending, and, for all of us at least, lower remittance volumes. This could have per month or two of lag before it starts showing, but when it can, it’ll be when the economic impact will really begin to bite, for all companies in your community. And the impact of the for the reduced income migrant workers and their own families, who depend on the flow of remittances, will be enormous.

The financial markets have reacted with sheer panic in early March. Such crashes are underpinned by human psychology instead of fundamentals, as shown again and again from the crashes observed in the united states in 1929, the dot-com bubble of 2000, the financial meltdown of 2007, the crypto bubble of 2017, and back to the Dutch tulip bubble of 1637. Check out graphs of asset prices in each- the pattern is remarkably similar.

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NOW Money is a capital raising funded business. These capital raising investors, while having a much longer-term view than stockbrokers and traders, aren’t immune from panic and worries about the near future uncertainty that the coronavirus crisis brings. Whilst our investors have already been supportive and attempting to help whenever we can, they have clearly been rattled by the marketplace turmoil.

Concurrently, our staff have already been amazing at NOW Money. Inside our hiring process, the values we search for most of all are grit, capability to do anything, and independence. As a nimble, fast-moving, and lean startup, we don’t have the budgets or the capability to have large, wide-reaching HR teams, and benefits packages- we need to depend on hiring responsible, mature individuals who we are able to pay well and let them support themselves a lot more when compared to a larger corporate would. While this narrows down the hiring options we’ve in the nice times, in adverse scenarios such as this, the policy really makes its own- our staff have calmly and diligently adapted to working at home, and turning their hands to different tasks. Our folks are exactly why we’ll emerge from the other side stronger, however that may look.

Finally, the spot as a whole- it’s fair to state that the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have will probably be massive and far-reaching. However, if there’s any region on earth that may bounce back quickly, and make the most of new ways of conducting business that may surely prevail, it’s the Middle East. We are part of a, tech-savvy, and ambitious population, and we’ve strong leadership which has acted decisively to aid the residents of their countries. At NOW Money, we are excited by the progress we can make whilst others slow down, and we believe the center East more widely will similarly capitalize on the opportunities as the world recovers.

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