Please introduce yourself (any co-founders) and your startup?
My name is Wissam Sabbagh, 11 years ago i was majoring in Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame University in Lebanon when i realized that I hated circuits and electricity so i decided to launch a small agency that became successful very quickly.
8 years later after growing the agency into a network of 7 offices, 1500 clients, etc… I decided to leave and work on a different model which is SaaS by starting up my new company Mangomolo, that is basically a technology provider for publishers and broadcasters who want to launch an OTT platform and monetize their content / analyze their viewership etc in 4 weeks and for a fraction of a fraction of the cost.
One year later Mangomolo became a leader in streaming / VOD in the GCC / Mena regions with more than 35 publishers using our tech such as Dubai Media, Orange Telecom, Iqraa Satellite Networks, and others and have won several awards including young company of the year in 2016 and were featured in several sites.
How did you go from idea, to MVP and launch?
Through working with clients and agencies i have gathered a lot of knowledge about media and media research and content, and I realized that the way people access content is changing and a disruption is coming to the entire TV / Media industries where people have smaller attention spans, time is becoming a rare privilege and people want easier access to content wherever they are.
That being said, many publishers wanted to get onto this OTT bandwagon yet the traditional suppliers were very expensive and you had to bring together 6 or 7 different companies to create that OTT ecosystem. We put it all in one platform and allowed any publisher no matter how big or small to launch that entire OTT ecosystem in 4-8 weeks and for a small monthly fee.
This model helped us scale very quickly becoming the biggest OTT tech provider in the GCC/ MENA Regions in no time.
What challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome them?
We were a startup competing in an industry where you have giants and public companies all using their big names and influence.
Our approach was disruptive and relied heavily on AI and we put the publisher in mind first and created things the way they expect to have them and this allowed us to have a competitive edge between our competition and quickly attain a powerful presence in the market and a big market share.
During this journey to build and launch your startup what is one thing you look back on with a sense of achievement?
I think the most important factors in that journey were persistence and the ability to pivot. Nothing happens over night, and you need a lot of persistence to go through the tough times of starting up to stay encouraged and always have that passion about what you are selling to make it through. Being able to pivot is also very critical, you have to be prepared to be flexible and mold your business /business model which ever way the market drives you and ride on the waves of disruption happening instead of trying to impose your own way of doing things.
Offer us one insight, tip, marketing strategy or growth hack that has worked really well for you and your startup?
The traditional ways of marketing don’t work anymore. Don’t spend money in the wrong places, startups are extremely cash sensitive so save every penny you can and focus on the product and product only!
If you have an excellent product then your clients are going to be your sales people and this by itself is enough to get the word going.
I never spend my time preparing business plans, I create a product and go to the market and then write a business plan, don’t waste your time on traditional techniques just try to do things differently and establish an edge and a specific sexiness around the brand that makes it stand out as the new disruptor that’s changing the way things are traditionally done!
How is your startup going and what do you aim to achieve in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
At this point we are keen on expanding into different geographies such as Europe and the US, we have opened an office in San Francisco and we believe that even though we have a local product it can have a global impact and we can serve clients from all over the globe!