Launched in November 2014, Beehive is the first regulated peer to peer (P2P) lending platform in the UAE. It has rapidly grown into a leading disruptor in the fintech industry, providing an alternative finance solution for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The brainchild of serial entrepreneur Craig Moore, supported by Rick Pudner, former Group CEO of Emirates NBD, Beehive is a cloud-based, scalable online lending platform that directly connects businesses looking for finance with investors that can invest and support their growth.
As Founder and CEO, Craig is responsible for overseeing the overall strategic direction and managing the day-to-day operations of Beehive. Before founding Beehive, Craig was a founder and COO of Butterfly Software, a UK based data analytics and migration software company, acquired by IBM in September 2012.
Prior to Butterfly, his experience includes sales, consulting and finance roles at various multinational companies such as Dell, EMC, Hitachi and HSBC with an emphasis on shaping effective go to market and value propositions.
What prompted you to launch Beehive?
After selling my software business to IBM in 2012, I became very interested in the development of peer to peer (P2P) lending in the UK. As a regular visitor to the UAE, I could see small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) here were facing similar challenges in securing reasonable credit terms in a timely manner. Having seen the considerable success and growth of the P2P model in the US and UK, I thought there was huge opportunity for SMEs in the UAE to really benefit from this too, so I started researching the prospect. The research validated my early assumptions, and the timing for this kind of concept felt right, so I started building the team and the platform in 2013, ultimately launching Beehive in November 2014. The response from businesses and investors has been fantastic and Beehive recently became the first peer to peer lending platform in MENA to become regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which is a landmark achievement for the team and the wider fintech industry in the region.
What’s your key message to an entrepreneur starting a business venture in the Middle East?
I think when entering any territory, it’s critical to do thorough research of the market and the potential consumers to understand if your product or service truly delivers against a real need, and if it can be effectively commercialized. Good research is fundamental and helps an entrepreneur scope out a solid business plan, founded on genuine insights. It’s important to maintain a clear focus on what your value proposition is and how it can benefit your customers or users. Once you’ve identified a clear and viable opportunity, look to identify the key people with the right experience and complimentary skills that can help you execute in market.
This is part of the cover feature that appeared in the April 2017 issue of Gulf Marketing Review. To subscribe please call: +971 4 369 7573