August 26th, The Finance Monthly
He saw it happen. Ashraf Sabry envisioned Egyptians seamlessly pressing thebuttons of electronic payment methods, spared the agonies of traffic and long payment queues, before anyone in the country. That is what sets Sabry apart, his ability to envision his dreams vividly and to translate them into viable business models. Out of Sabry’s vision, Fawry was born and became Egypt’s first electronic bill payment and presentation network, attracting over 10 million regular users nationwide.
In a country where over-crowdedness and complex procedures are the main concerns consumers have when it comes to making payments, Fawry offers a convenient and reliable way to pay bills in multiple channels (online, using ATMs or retail points) based on their preference.
For the majority of the population; customers who do not use technology or have bank accounts, Fawry offers bill payment in any shop around the corner. Fawry’s network of retailers reached 30,000 points (including small groceries, pharmacies and stationeries, bank ATMs and 1300 post-offices) all equipped with point-of-sale machines – the same ones used for credit card payments.
To startup Fawry, Sabry garnered the trust and faith of big investors like Raya Holding, Technology Development Fund (Ideavelopers), Arab African International Bank, HSBC, Alex bank and recently joined International Finance Cooperation (IFC). Fawry’s management team joined the most experienced financial and information & communications technology (ICT) executives with extensive experience that stems from decades of senior management expertise at top Egyptian organizations and Fortune 500 companies.
The scene inside the of Fawry offices, is another clue to the secret of Ashraf’s solid success: a young company spirit with an engaged, buzzing team of enthusiastic professionals, think tanks, and vibrant mood. It seems Ashraf’s passion is highly contagious and a key factor to keeping the team involved and working around the clock.
In October 2012, Fawry made news in the Financial Times which quoted,” Fawry, which employs 250 people, is expected to start making profits next year. The company receives payments on behalf of all Egypt’s phone companies, fixed-line and mobile, and the big internet providers. So far 70-80 per cent of its business is in the telecoms sector. However, other clients include electricity distributors, banks, charities, airlines and e-commerce websites. Mr. Sabry points out proudly that the software underpinning Fawry’s complicated system linking clients, billers and banks is Egyptian and designed in-house.”
Less than a year later, Fawry is collecting at a run-rate recording a phenomenal (3.5) billion EGP worth of transactions, and is being recognized as one of the fastest startup technology companies in Africa, according to Mashable (June 2013).
With his 20 years of experience in the Egyptian ITC industry, Sabry is known amongst his peers, the regional industry leaders as a passionate executive and innovator. Prior to creating Fawry, Ashraf spent 10 years leading sales at IBM Egypt and later was key to the success of Raya Holding, Egypt’s leading ICT company where he directed the operations, finance, and business development for years before he eventually led the whole IT line of business for the group.
In a country that faced a revolution in 2011, and has remained in the heat of political and economic reform to date, Fawry’s steady success is a true achievement. Needless to say attracting international news and interest promises more visions and ventures for Ashraf Sabry, who now sets his eyes on equally exciting and demanding regional markets.
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