This week's entrepreneur of the week is Ala'a AlSallal, who has a unique story. When he started Jamalon, an online bookstore selling English and Arabic books in the Arab World, he also became the primary breadwinner in his family, and created a company that his mother, brothers, and sisters all joined and helped with.
Today, the startup has successfully graduated from Jordanian incubator Oasis500, secured $400,000 in funding from 4 angel investors in Jordan, and has worked to source books from Lebanon and Egypt, selling predominantly to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
AlSallal discusses the ins and outs of the online book seller sector, from how he handles logistics and shares revenue with publishers to how he differentiates himself from competitors. The platform recently launched Sofia Translation to encourage translation from other languages into Arabic, to increase the amount of readable content available in Arabic.
When it comes to starting up an e-commerce company in general, "You have to move all over the region," he advises potential entrepreneurs. "Where people have good purchase power, and where people are spending on e-commerce, especially as we see right now, Saudi Arabia is a big market, and the Gulf is a hot market."