A to Z of shopping and services

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A to Z of shopping and services
Syed Sarfraz, chief executive and cofounder of A2Zarabia.com, is on a mission to make life easy for users with a one-stop portal for online needs.

dubai - A2Zarabia.com is a one-stop portal for properties, motors, jobs, deals, events and other categories

By Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Mon 16 Jan 2017, 7:15 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 Jan 2017, 9:31 PM

Online ecosystems are gaining momentum across the globe and the UAE and Dubai are no exception. Dubai has become a centre for launching new online projects and A2Zarabia is the latest to make a foray into this segment. It aims to expand its reach to the Middle East and other international markets in the next five years.

Syed Sarfraz, chief executive and cofounder of A2Zarabia.com, is on a mission to make life easy for users with a one-stop portal for online needs by launching the UAE's first online ecosystem for properties, motors, jobs, deals, events and other categories.

The Dubai-based entrepreneur has combined the functionality of different website categories in a single website and attracted 300,000-plus unique users in a span of two months since its launch in October.

"A2Zarabia.com provides a single online platform to users for finding a new job, searching for a new home, buying or selling their cars or laptops, going for a concert, exploring family getaways, looking out for afterschool activities and much more. This is all available at one place without the need to shift between multiple websites or using different logins and passwords," Sarfraz told Khaleej Times.

Explaining main features of the portal, he said that each category in A2Zarabia.com has been built as a different customer interface to satisfy individual user requirements. For example: the jobs category is built differently than the properties category so that it becomes easy to adapt to different user needs in a single website brand.

"We aim to be the most transparent and ethical hub for user transactions in the Middle East online space," he said, adding that the website has grown fast with more than 300 per cent user signups on a month-on-month basis and continues to do so.

Investors in A2Zarabia.com are part of a UAE-based conglomerate including the Dr Michael Group.

"A2Zarabia.com shows tremendous potential to take services to the next level within the online business space in the UAE and the Middle East," said one of the investors seeking anonymity.

"We saw a great business plan, astute and successful entrepreneurs driving the project and a great team across divisions, before deciding to invest in it. We are confident that A2Zarabia.com will become a driving force for online user decisions in the Middle East," he said.
Successful journey
Sarfraz termed the startup journey till date a success and said the growth of Dubai as an economic hub influenced him to create an online equivalent of the business ecosystem in the emirate.

"We definitely, feel that today's environment provides the right conditions for startups to flourish in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular. Numerous initiatives and incubation schemes by the government and private sector have made it possible for innovative startups to set up shop and grow," he said.

To a question about expansion plans, he said the startup is currently well placed in the UAE and set to expand in the Middle East within two years. "We would like to have a strong position in India, South Asian countries and the United States in the next five years," he said.

In reply to a question, he said the startup has raised $10 million in funds so far and will prefer to remain in private sector. "We currently would like to continue running the company as a privately-owned enterprise with 100 per cent equity funding," he said.

The cofounder said his startup is heading in the right direction and it will add more services to expand its customer base in the months to come.
"Yes, the high customer interest in signups and daily engagement strongly indicates that A2Zarabia.com will increase the levels of customer experience in the Middle East, and is heading in the right direction. We are planning to introduce direct buy/sell operations and add shopping to our services."

To a question, he said the startup will collaborate with major brands in the UAE. "We plan to tie up with major brands in the UAE. Virgin being the first one, to provide them additional services at their convenient locations, on store visits, travels etc."

Khaleel Farooki, who is commercial head at A2Zarabia.com and leads the business operations, said users will soon be able to buy new products from the startup portal with the launch of shopping category in near future.

"We are glad that A2Zarabia.com has been received with unprecedented engagement. We plan to add new modules for shopping to the portal and expect a surge in onsite purchases," he said.

- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com

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