Every Thursday, ILQ features a different Qatari startup in our ‘Startup of the Week’ segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all across a variety of industries in Doha—from fashion and beauty, to food and dining, health, education, technology, and more!
This week our spotlight is on cWallet - a remittance platform created to help low-income migrant workers, domestic helpers and blue-collar workers by allowing them to access financial services that are currently unavailable to them at a low cost.
How does cWallet work, you ask!
Let’s tell you!
CWallet is a wallet and payment application with features to send money across borders with the integration of blockchain and traditional money transfer service providers. This indigenous application uses FINTECH (financial technology) to promote a cashless society, financial inclusion for everyone including the bottom of the pyramid. It also provides access to innovation/technology, and the WEB, specifically e-commerce, to drive a sustainable economic agenda set forward by Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
What cWallet is offering in Qatar is not just a cheaper product, but an alternative solution that is safe, secure, innovative, user-friendly, and has Shariah compliance that communicates in the native tongue of its users and partners.
Users can load balance into the wallet using multiple options including, debit card, banks, salary payouts, money vouchers or load credits through payments from another cWallet user. Users can also withdraw the money to their bank accounts, payout to cWallet users, cash out from cwallet human ATMs, send it across to their home country. Users can can also buy groceries, purchase bus and train tickets, top-up mobile credit, pay bills to their home country and access eCommerce. cWallet has crypto wallet feature to store cryptocurrency for users like a custodian as well.
cWallet is also tapping into a market (Qatar) that represents $600B in terms of remittance outflow and $4.88 trillion in terms of e-commerce sales worldwide. Financial inclusion for everyone that is unbanked and has access to e-commerce will definitely increase the buying power and generate revenue to the Qatari economy with a focus on creating more entrepreneurs, rather than just creating more job creation. This will be possible through partnership programmes that will enable individuals, mircoSMEs and bakalas (small supermarkets/stores) to generate additional income.
This FINTEH Startup powered by Eventive Software Design and Event Management Company was registered legally in May 2018 and had finalised all legal documents to operate including their bank account by December 2018. The company was officially launched last January 2019 in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronic Show 2019 under the Qatar Pavillion that was sponsored by Tasdeer of Qatar Development Bank.
In terms of history, this cohort was formed by seven friends (six Qataris and an expat who’s been living in Qatar for almost 15 years) during their HEC Paris (Qatar campus) Executive Master days. After two years of business school, a Europe study trip and numerous get-togethers, the group of friends recognised the demand for a world-class event support services management company here in Qatar and the region, and brought to life one of their thesis. The rest, as they say, is history.
When asked what set CWallet apart from similar applications in Qatar, CEO and Founder of cWallet Michael Javier, said:
“We believe that the company’s overall mission and vision separates us and our value creation within the business socio-economic system.”
So, what is that mission and vision? Read on to find out!
To digitally empower and enable individuals in the region by giving solutions to low-income and unbanked migrant workers, domestic helpers and blue collar workers allowing them to access financial services that are currently unavailable to them.
To become a premier FINTECH influencer creating fans in MENA and ASIAN region by providing services beyond digital wallets, remittance and payment solution in building a cashless society for all sectors including the bottom of the pyramid but not limited to unstable societies, unjust governments and even refugee camps in order to create jobs and micro entrepreneurs within the business ecosystem.
According to Michael, the response to cWallet in Qatar has been good, so far:
“As we start introducing the product to the market, there’s already potential demand, surprisingly, from B2B, SME and fellow startups to use the platform. We’re about to launch our BETA/Demo by 1 July and we’re really excited...we’re getting very positive feedback with individuals and entities that we’re targeting to partner with but, then again, the final product will validate its potential success in Qatar and the region. That’s why we are keeping our startup mindset of failing fast and learning fast to manage customer demand.”
Michael and the entire cWallet team are confident that their FINTECH startup will open doors to a cashless society that is needed to run smart cities, thus, benefitting Qatar’s economic growth, and could link this to the TASMU Initiative. To give it a boost, cWallet, is currently incubated in Digital Incubation Center under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and receives technical support, guidance and training, mentors who are helping avoid the typical start-up pitfalls and gain exposure, and public relations. As success follows, a start up like cWallet with abilities to grow and scale up will be hosted as a tenant in Qatar’s Digital Cluster in the Manateq Economic Zone. Cash
As we wrap up our conversation with Michael, he tells entrepreneurs who are interested in establishing startups that being an entrepreneur in Doha is somewhat different as compared to other countries due to capital requirement, sponsorship / partnership requirements and legal aspects, etc., and advises them not to stop trying.
"If you really believe in this, go and take the risk and jump. As Steve Harvey explained during his 'Family Feud' TV show, one thing every successful person has to do at some point is to jump. You can play it safe and deal without the cuts and the tears and you can stand on that cliff for life forever safe, but if you don't jump - your parachute will never open. You'll never know."
Sound advice, don't you think?
If you want to visit the cWallet team and learn more about the application, visit the 5th floor of Al Nasser Tower B, Opposite of QPOST signal on the Corniche. or check out their website and social media links below!
What are some of your favourite startups around Doha? Comment below! And also, don’t forget to give us a like and share - it keeps us going!
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