Nazdeeq.com is a startup that works out of Kickstart and aims to unlock global e-commerce for Pakistani market. Community manager of Kickstart, Saad Riaz, sat with the co-founder of Nazdeeq.com, Madiha Nasrullah, to know more about Nazdeeq.
What is Nazdeeq?
We are an eCommerce technology company that provides emerging markets with a direct access to buy from international online stores that currently do not operate in their geographies. The first online store that we are bringing to Pakistan is Amazon.com.
How was this idea conceived?
During my MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management, I took an entrepreneurship course where we analyzed different case studies about successful and failed businesses – all founded by young entrepreneurs. That’s when it struck me! What am I waiting for? I realized that I didn’t need to wait for any more professional experience before having my own start-up – the time to do something was now, while I was free from any personal commitments, could take financial hits and just simply learn on the way.
That’s what lead me to start brainstorming about different business ideas and my MBA school was the perfect hub for planning my business; the campus provided all the resources: professors, literature, and students with diverse professional backgrounds. I was exposed to 70 different cultures and networks. I began filtering out different business models that we had been learning about and started researching on the ones that could potentially work in Pakistan and that’s what finally lead to Nazdeeq.
Who are the founders and how did you find each other?
It was during my days at business school when I was discussing different business ideas with friends when Muhammad suggested a solution like Nazdeeq because he had seen a similar model implemented in his home country, Jordan. This is how we teamed up to start working on Nazdeeq.
During your market research, you must have come across other ventures in Pakistan who claim to do the same. Do you think Nazdeeq.com is different? If yes, in what aspects are you doing things differently?
Yes! I have come across a plethora of ventures who claim to be doing this but Nazdeeq.com is considerably different. None of the ventures I have come across allow the consumers to browse the products on Amazon.com from their website. That’s why I say that we are a technology company because our website is integrated with Amazon.com allowing for a seamless shopping experience. Additionally, after checking out, we give the complete breakdown of all the costs involved in real time – other companies do this work manually and as a side business. Moreover, they do not promise the ‘final price’ – our price on the website is final, there are no hidden fees. If the customs ends up charging a higher price, we pay the difference – not the customer.
You have mentioned that users can browse and order the products on Amazon directly from your website. What do you think about the legality of it?
Our system is integrated through the API! The API was provided by Amazon.com. So basically Amazon is aware of our operations…in fact, this business model was presented to Jeff Bezoz, the CEO of Amazon, last November – so on the legality front, we are good!
Would you like to tell our readers about your business model? (More detail of business model?
Our company acts as an integration technology company where we connect the points amongst Amazon, payment gateways, international shipping, the customs department and the customer.
Hence, we do not have warehouses. Everything that the consumers order from Amazon.com is shipped after the order is placed. Once the order is placed, we will collect cash from the user’s door and process the order.
We have partnered with the global shipping and transportation giant, Aramex. The delivery time is 10 – 14 business days. Our IT partner is CashBasha in Jordan, and our local logistics partners are BlueEx & TCS.
What are a few of the biggest issues you have faced before launch?
There is very little publicly available information regarding taxation, customs, and financial transactions to and from Pakistan. Figuring out all these details involved a lot of physical work and took a lot of our time. We would have launched much earlier had there been proper channels of information!
Which one of the issues you could have avoided had you been launching in another country?
I think, all of the issues that we have faced are specific to Pakistan and maybe to other developing countries. Businesses especially involving customs would be particularly difficult as it is usually very unpredictable. The business environment for start-ups is very challenging but certain incubation centers such as Plan 9 and LCE provide a much-needed relief to young entrepreneurs.
Where do you see yourself in a two years’ time?
We want to unlock global e-commerce for Pakistan and give Pakistanis consumers access to the international brands. In two-year time we see ourselves providing consumers all across Pakistan access to the global e-commerce giants and international brands. By “unlocking global e-commerce” we also mean that we will venture into creating avenues for Pakistani products in the global markets.