Name: Chris Tattarakis
Company: Laundry Portal
Position: General Manager
Tell us about the business. Why should people sign up?
Laundry Portal is a marketplace mobile app, which connects users to quality laundry companies. With the cultivation of a culture craving convenience, we ultimately bridge the gaps between expert laundry services, modern-day scheduling and execution. We make the process of selecting and settling all elements of the laundry experience seamless.
Users who sign up benefit from a wide selection of quality laundry companies who are being encouraged to compete for business by offering premium services and competitive rates. The introduction of a single platform with multiple vendors offers an environment, which stimulates healthier competition thus leading to more favourable outcomes for the consumer.
How did you initially create the platform? How did you learn and what advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to create an application for their concept?
Before working with mobile developers, I decided to create the user-interface (UI) and map the user-experience (UX) separately. Instead of employing a development team to provide this solution, I hired a designer specialised in mobile apps. Only once I was satisfied with the UI and UX, I hired a team of developers to transform my concept into a reality.
App development is a highly educational process, where an individual will continuously be learning new material. Mainly I saw my skills in people management grow exponentially. As a start-up with limited funding, working with freelancers and third parties is incredibly common. In relation to this, when reflecting on my own experiences, I would encourage those seeking a similar path to take careful consideration when drafting agreements with third parties. While it is impossible to pre-empt the numerous potential issues, you can significantly eliminate confusion, mitigate your risk and reduce your liability. My advice would be to carefully document your desired flow, features and expectations, whilst instituting clear deadlines and milestones.
What challenges have you faced whilst signing up third party vendors to a tech platform, and how have you found solutions?
At the forefront, operating in Dubai requires an openness and understanding to work with people from different cultures, backgrounds, and levels of education. For myself, communication was always consistent and I was able to sustain healthy relationships with those whom I worked with. However, when encountering individuals who could not navigate the new-age technological landscape, I found this to be more challenging. In my experience, it is essential to truly understand your audience. By outlining the details and explaining my concepts in a way that was well understood, clear and concise, I was able to achieve far better results. Ultimately one’s idea should be adding value to both the vendors and the industry. Therefore, learning to articulate these values to your relevant stakeholders will ensure your advances are met with little or no resistance.
‘Hassle pay’ is a big market in the ME, what other areas of ‘hassle pay’ do you feel are not being properly monetised?
‘Hassle pay’ is a large global market that witnesses significant success in the Middle Eastern region, largely due to the particular nature of its labour economics. I believe many untapped markets will stand to benefit from ‘hassle pay’ now and in the future. Without spilling too many secrets and compromising my prospective ventures, I see scope for the concept to reinvigorate the personal grooming, casual dining, and hospitality sectors. However, I would not limit it to just these. A keen eye combined with relevant market knowledge will reveal many areas where ‘hassle pay’ can be successfully implemented.
With consumers struggling to adjust to cashless payments, multinationals have reported that cash is still king in the region. Do you face the same issues and how do businesses overcome this problem?
I believe we are moving toward a cashless society and while cash dominates certain services, the transition to paperless is a real prospect. When one considers the nature of our markets, their demographics, and the technologies being exposed to our newer generations, it is easy to reason how cashless payments will eventually become preferred.
At Laundry Portal we provide a fundamentally flexible user-experience, which includes both cash and cashless payment options. Interestingly, the current consumer behaviours reveal an even split between the two payment methods. However, it will be telling how this trend evolves over time. Ironically, my cash is on cashless payments dethroning cash to ultimately become king.
UAE mobile penetration rate is the highest in the world. Even though it is not a developed market the demand is there. What traditional consumer sectors do you feel are ripe for disruption with technology?
I consider the integration of technology in business as necessary and a natural evolution to competing in the commercial environment. As technology inevitably advances, so too does its potential in business. Whether streamlining internal processes, maximizing marketing budgets or simplifying the customer journey, technology is critical and will constantly continue to disrupt all consumer sectors