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Billed as Latin America’s most valuable startup, Mexico-based Kavak made a grand entry into the GCC in 2022 with an announcement in October that the vertically integrated used car e-commerce player founded in 2016 had merged with Oman-founded Carzaty to kick off its operations in the region.
A disruptor in its own right, Carzaty was founded in 2017 by Hassan Jaffar Al-Lawati and Marwan Chaar as “a technology-driven omnichannel automo- tive retailer,” and its acquisition by Kavak -which currently has a valuation of US$8.7 billion and a presence in 10 countries- can be seen as an indication of the depth of local market knowledge it will bring to the latter’s global playbook.
Al-Lawati and Chaar are now co-CEOs of Kavak’s operations in the GCC, and their excitement about this next chapter of their entrepreneurial journeys is clearly palpable. “When we launched Carzaty in Oman, we were problem-solving for immediate market needs; now, the merger has now allowed us to shift focus from startup to scale-up, growing the team, and building the size of our inventory,” Al-Lawati and Chaar say. “We also launched our game-changing retail hub, which is a whole new way of buying and selling used cars in the UAE. The launch has allowed us to disrupt the market from two sides, and it is set to revolutionize the pre-owned car industry in the GCC. For customers selling their cars, Kavak provides the highest instant cash offering with same-day purchases and the convenience of home service. For customers purchasing cars, we provide a wide selection of high-quality cars at transparent fixed prices. We look forward to ongoing growth while we continue to provide consistency and reliability, so that customers can feel trust and reassurance in the car they are buying.”
The retail hub that Al-Lawati and Chaar are referring to here is the 17,000 sq. m. space Kavak has to its name in Dubai’s Festival Plaza mall, which has been described as “a redefined retail experience, and a one-stop-shop for the entire buying and selling process” for cars in the UAE. The hub is part of Kavak’s commitment to invest $130 million into the GCC over the next two years- that figure shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given that founder and Global CEO Carlos Garcia Ottati has already declared that the region is “a massive untapped opportunity” for his company.
But while such prospects bode well for Kavak’s future in the GCC, Al-Lawati and Chaar are clear that their leadership of the enterprise will remain centered on the basic elements that make a business successful in the long run. “As we enter the new year, we are excited about the continued growth of our sales, but more importantly, of our team,” the co-CEOs say. “We are building a strong culture of entrepreneurship within the firm, where we challenge the status quo, and have both a happy and productive workplace. We also look forward to a continuous flow of positive feedback from our customers. We expect more traffic to the hub, and an increase of inventory throughout 2023, as we continue our journey.”
Reflections 2022: Hassan Jaffar Al-Lawati And Marwan Chaar, co-CEOs of Kavak
Get the right people around you from the start
“You are only as strong as your team. Building and retaining the best talent for the role is vital for longevity and continued success.”
Build (and maintain) customer trust
“Build a trustworthy brand, and live up to those expectations to ensure credibility in the long run.”
Look toward the long-term wins
“Focus on a sustainable business model, and avoid all the hype about growth at all costs.”
Hassan Jaffar Al-Lawati And Marwan Chaar, co-CEOs of Kavak. Source: Kavak
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