The as-a-Service business model has made great strides in the past decade or so. Enabled by developments in technology and connectivity, we began to see the power of this business model with companies like Netflix, Uber, Salesforce and Microsoft, among many others. This business model also saw an increase in popularity due to shifting consumer demands, primarily among millennials and Generation Z, who are seeking experiences and flexibility over large payments, ownership and commitment.
By today’s standards, Mobility-as-a-Service, Banking-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service are pretty commonplace in 2022, even in MENA. However, there are many companies today innovating the Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) business model, truly harnessing its limitless potential.
Here are 5 interesting startups in the UAE experimenting with the Everything-as-a-Service concept.
The Scalable CFO (CFO-as-a-Service)
The Scalable CFO is an Abu Dhabi-based startup that enables small businesses to get the benefits of a CFO without the inhibiting costs of actually hiring one.
Managing finances is a challenge for any business, especially so for a cash-strapped small company or startup. The Scalable CFO has created a solution under the XaaS model, which for the sake of staying on theme with this article we’ll label Financial-Consultant-as-a-Service.
Essentially, customers can leverage The Scalable CFO’s team of finance consultants across a wide range of strategic and operational expertise. They are matched with a consultant based on the financial service or expertise they are looking for, who then can deal with their monetary needs and tailor custom solutions for their business.
You’ve heard of the Hospitality-as-a-Service model utilised by Airbnb, but have you perhaps heard of Furniture-as-a-Service? This is the business model on offer by MAKAN.
MAKAN makes it easy to furnish your home or office by allowing you to lease entire furniture sets, or just a few pieces, according to your needs. Leasing periods can be booked in 6-month blocks and upwards, but customers are able to cancel their subscription or swap furniture at any time for a fee, to ensure they are matched with the furniture that best suits their needs and tastes.
MAKAN handles everything from delivery to assembly, and ensures that the prices you are paying will never exceed what you would have paid at retail stores. Additionally, after 24 months, your subscription ends and you can claim ownership of your selected furniture.
Sure, food delivery and cloud kitchens are all the rage today, but have you heard of the Chef-as-a-Service business model? Dubai-based startup HeyChef offers just that.
The concept of hiring a personal chef is not too foreign in the UAE, a country known for its lavish parties and big gatherings. However, what’s never been available is a digital, on-demand platform that made requesting a personal chef as simple as ordering an Uber or putting in an order via Talabat.
Customers can pick from a selection of chefs that specialise in different cuisines, and book them for a one-off engagement or on a subscription basis. Customers have the option to use their own ingredients or to pay for the chefs to bring their own for an extra charge, and can also request that the chefs cook meals according to particular personal or dietary preferences.
In a post-pandemic world, Healthcare-as-a-Service concepts such as telemedicine are as widely available as ever. However, it’s not often that you hear about the same model applied to genomics, the field of science that concerns the study of genes.
Predictiv, a US-headquartered startup that recently expanded to Abu Dhabi, is offering what we are dubbing Genomics-as-a-Service. Essentially, after receiving a DNA sample from a patient, Predictiv is able to create a digital genetic twin of them, and in combination with their medical history, family history and lifestyle habits, is able to identify if the individual in question is prone to one or more diseases and conditions from a database of over 22,000, and if they are likely to suffer from complications from using a certain medicinal drug out of a possible 780+.
Results are relayed via a digital dashboard that clients can review and refer to in the future. Patients can also speak with a counsellor who offers them custom-tailored advice to suit their particular needs, and answers any questions.
Banking-as-a-Service is one of the most popular variants of the XaaS model in MENA, owing to a strong regional banking sector that has been trying to embrace digital transformation.
However, Aster, an Abu Dhabi-based fintech, has created a new platform that is addressing a notable gap in the market.
The MENA region, and especially the GCC, is known for hosting and attracting a significantly large amount of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). As such, Aster has created the first digital wealth management platform designed for these individuals, within what we’ll label Wealth-Management-as-a-Service.
Aster’s platform provides an actionable, holistic view of users’ bankable and non-bankable assets at any time, anywhere. Designed with banking-grade security & privacy in mind, the platform helps investors manage their assets through timely price-, position- and portfolio composition updates, enabling data-driven investment decision-making and a proactive approach to managing wealth.
The startup focuses on delivering pricing and reporting simplicity, reducing the average time it takes to report an individual's wealth to minutes instead of days or weeks.