Anghami is now the first home grown company to go public on Nasdaq since Aramex 24 years ago. This is a fantastic story that should be copied again and again for every aspiring, high growth company in the region. Going public allows startups to remain independent, access international markets for funding while showing global governance capabilities. For Anghami, it exposes the company to global investors who can look at this region as a place where there is talent, where there is scale and the ability to compete and maintain leadership in a very competitive market.
Anghami, like Aramex, competes with global giants in their industry – Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music have already established their presence locally. Similar to my time at Aramex in the 1990s, when, TNT, FedEx, DHL and others were here, it pushed us to innovate, focus on our clients, and stay nimble and agile and winning along the way. That is what Anghami is doing today. It is a 21st Century role model for every company in the region, a new way of thinking and a story that is both inspirational and achievable.
It also alerts founders and VCs that there are other ways to exit other than selling companies to their competitors or to other strategic investors. It also puts them on notice, that founders and CEOs of these high growth companies have alternatives and can access funding away from VCs and private equity firms. So, investors will need to shape up and stay competitive and constantly add value, not only with funding, but by helping these startups to build robust organisations that are sustainable and able to generate returns to shareholders and everyone involved, including the employees and founders.
Lastly this Anghami story puts the regulators and local stock exchanges on notice – if you do not change and allow our regional superstars to go public on your exchange, we have options, and the world is open to us. Local exchanges need to change, they need greater depth of liquidity and new ways of thinking to enable this digital revolution to stay in the region. We risk the damnation of seeing only the archaic and traditional companies listed on our stock exchanges and we will be too late to the digital party that is transforming our economies.
Anghami’s journey is one to celebrate and emulate. Congratulations to the fantastic founders and the people at Anghami, I met both Elie Habib and Eddie Maroun in their very early days and saw how they evolved, real entrepreneurs who have stayed the course and built such an inspiring company. So, I am celebrating today, every entrepreneur and investor in the region should do the same!