Philip Bahoshy, founder and CEO of MAGNiTT
Why did you start MAGNiTT?
MAGNiTT started as a connection platform for MBAs. The aim was to connect founders to potential investors, mentors and co-founders in a simple way.
However, at its core, MAGNiTT is based on data aggregation. In the opaque markets we operate in, specifically the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, access to reliable, consistent and insightful data is hard to come by. Inspired by the Zawya platform, later acquired by Tompson Reuters, MAGNiTT looked to solve for data transparency and accuracy in the Venture Capital space across Emerging Markets.
What is the most surprising challenge that you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
COVID. Definitely no MBA Lecture on how to overcome the immediate working from home environment.
Culture at early-stage startups and companies is so important to the success of the venture. Those brain storming sessions in the office, the team bonding and water cooler moments are essential to driving and building a team culture. Nothing can prepare for randomly being forced to work from home for a prolonged period of time.
The only way to overcome this was to continue to communicate. Using all channels of communication whether it be Slack, phone calls, WhatsApp or quick check-ins. You have to almost replicate a physical environment remotely.
But staying close to your team and being empathetic of their situation was key to getting through one of the most challenging periods for many people.
What is that one thing in your business that you are really proud of?
Our Client List. As an Enterprise SaaS solution which is of a high average client value, our focus has been on quantity and serving our clients over quantity. We have many of the leading Corporates, Government entities, Big Tech and Consulting firms who we can call our clients and service which the team are proud about.
If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Listen. So much can be learnt from listening. We tend to speak and be defensive. However, we learn more from listening to our clients, our team, our users – to improve our product, our culture and our business. It’s important not always to react and take stock.
What’s next for MAGNiTT?
As we continue to grow and scale, we look to develop MAGNiTT around three core areas:
Geography: We are looking to expand and further develop our data set to include Southeast Asia and then Eastern Europe.
Product: Many features that further strengthen the proposition for our clients. Launching Valuations, our API offering and advanced visualization tool on the platform.
Data set: While we continue to add data around Venture Capital as well as other metrics about company growth, we are exploring the idea of adding Private Equity to the platform as well.
What do you like to get up to outside of work?
I’m a keen runner and like to get at least 4/5 runs a week before going to work.
I also love the sunshine. You can often find me at the beach on weekends to unwind.
I’m also a lover and collector of good wines.
What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?
I have become a big fan of podcasts over the last couple of years. My top picks are:
All in Pod – Bible on a weekly basis.
Smartless – Great comedic conversation.
The Rest is Politics – Stay up to date with current affairs in the UK.
F1 Nation – I’m a BIG Formula 1 fan.
Which entrepreneur do you most admire and why?
Through MAGNITT I have had the chance to meet many of the successful Founders and CEOs from the region. I have learnt a lot from them and their journey. Many of whom have been very generous with their time and advice. All of whom I respect for their grit, determination and passion. I have been able to interview some at events and find this most fulfilling. Those I have had the chance to learn from include Fadi Ghandour, Ronaldo Mouchawer, Elie Habib and Magnus Olsson. I thank them all for their continued support.
If there is one thing in your career you would have done differently, what is it and why?
I remember in one of our first lectures at INSEAD, a professor mentioned a study of the characteristics and traits of the fortune 500 companies. He stated that the characteristic that featured the most for successful CEOs were those that had lived and or worked in more than 3 countries in their lifetime for a period greater than 6 months. While I have no regrets in my career, I would have liked to have lived in HK for a few years at the start of my career before moving and settling in the Middle East. While I got some experience at INSEAD studying out of Singapore, it would have been a good segway before moving to the UAE.