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Telr bullish on e-commerce in MENA Sirish Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder of Telr, says they have enabled small and medium-sized merchants to tap into the social networking phenomenon. media environment. We have seen numerous small and casual sellers tapping into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach out to their potential buyers. Mobile plus social media, we believe, will be crucial in driving e-commerce growth,” he said. The observation holds particular significance since out of the 135 million Internet users in 22 Arab countries, more than half or 71 million are active users of social networking technologies, according to the Arab World Online 2014 report published by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government. Not just a payment gateway

Sirish Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder of Telr.

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s far as emerging markets go, nowhere is e-commerce perhaps more promising than in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where Internet and smartphone penetration rates have skyrocketed in recent years. But another key factor that Sirish Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder of Telr, believes will serve as an important component of the e-commerce revolution in the region is the growing usage of social media platforms. “The MENA region has a predominantly young population and a thriving social

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Telr, which launched its regional presence in 2014 through its Dubai office, is capitalising on this phenomenon. More than a payment gateway, Telr provides services that are critical to the business growth of merchants – both those who have and do not have websites. “Merchants who do not have websites transact through social media platforms. We have the technology and expertise to allow them to carry out transactions securely and easily. In addition, we have several mobile solutions, which make it more convenient for buyers to fulfil a transaction without having to repeatedly enter their details,” Kumair said. Another innovation that Telr has brought to the MENA e-commerce table is the capability to allow merchants to adopt online payment processes in the currency of their choice. “Previously, there was a lack of option in as far as making payments in local currencies are concerned. By addressing this issue, we have increased customer conversion rates and allowed more transactions to be completed successfully,” he explained. But Telr seeks to go one step further and offer a one-stop solution to doing business by solving other merchant pain points like

logistics, for example. Soon, the company will also enable buyers to use their own online bank accounts to fund certain transactions in a merchant’s website. Telr is able to provide all these valueadded services because of its wide network of partners in the region, which include Aramex, Visa, MasterCard and major banks.

The MENA region has a predominantly young population and a thriving social media environment. We have seen numerous small and casual sellers tapping into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach out to their potential buyers. Mobile plus social media, we believe, will be crucial in driving e-commerce growth. SMEs to lift e-commerce Kumar, who prior to setting up Telr was Head of Finance at PayPal for Southeast Asia and India, said their business model remains focused on small and medium-sized merchants, which is relevant to MENA. According to the International Finance Corporation, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute around 64% to the GDP and 62% to employment creation in the region. “Start-ups’ entrepreneurial spirit is driving agility and innovation in the e-commerce space. And that is why we are very bullish about the e-commerce industry here. We see social media and the mobile platforms propelling consumers to go online and SMEs are behind this fresh wave,” he said.


Ceo Report: Gulf Leaders 2015