[Startup Interview] Kareem Alkaseer, CEO, MentorLycon
MentorLycon is a tech startup headquartered in Russia with an active presence in Egypt and expanding to other African countries. It has tapped into Artificial intelligence to provide businesses with bespoke and customer-centric IT solutions. Its future work in Africa will be a mixture of the mother company and the Egyptian company.
The company’s CEO Kareem Alkaseer elaborates.
Tell us abit About MentorLycon and your role in it
MentorLycon aims to provide practical solutions to increase market efficiency based on collaboration instead of sole competition whilst increasing individual competitiveness, provide access to markets, remove barriers in fragmented markets, integrate disconnected markets and include people into the socioeconomic process more easily.
Moreover, we seek to contribute to societal development and reducing surplus carbon footprint produced due to market inefficiencies. To that end, we use artificial intelligence and decentralisation technologies to make it happen.
Our goal is to apply this to domestic markets as well as integrate the markets we operate in, namely, Africa, Middle East, Europe, Russia and Central Asia. So that business and trade can be conducted efficiently and can be more easily grown not just in a limited way through a handful of companies but through distributing the effect to large segments in each market.
I am the Founder and CEO, I am involved in shaping and executing the business in terms of development, partnerships, technology and strategy.
Why was it formed and to what extent has it achieved its purpose?
We believe that many markets have structural problems that maintain unfavourable conditions for large segments of both people and businesses. For example, unfavourable conditions to SMEs compared to corporates in terms of reach and competition. Unfavourable conditions for corporates in terms of efficiency of scale.
Unfavourable conditions for large less integrated people in terms of access to market and financial inclusion especially in emerging economies. On the other hand, with the current economic models, it is difficult to assume sustainability of both economic models and environment. We cannot just assume infinite supply and infinite growth.
Together with AtomZero, MentorLycon has been building a general-purpose decentralisation infrastructure powered by artificial intelligence capable of decentralising business models efficiently and of efficient governance. This infrastructure is called Atomflow. Using an inventive business model together with Atomflow, MentorLycon has built Atomflow Commerce, an artificial intelligence powered platform for direct-channels commerce and service provision that unifies multiple business channels together.
Atomflow Commerce is aimed at enabling businesses to reach markets more easily and execute their operations in an efficient and scalable manner. The platform aims to bring holistic solutions to different segments and sectors. The platform involves different kind of players, from financial institutions to corporates, SMEs and individual entrepreneurs.
As an artificial intelligence and decentralisation technology startup connecting players in different continents, what would you say have been the emerging issues and trends in the recent past?
Technology is taking some hard turns at disturbing the status quo, especially how a business can be modelled and decentralised differently and how it can be more capable through artificial intelligence. This does not set very well all along with current frameworks of some regulations and previously unchallenged business control of some players. It is evident now that with enough innovation things can be done in very different ways.
At the same time, artificial intelligence in specific poses a challenge to society at large when it comes to potential job categories losses and privacy as well as governance. Also, decentralisation technologies tend to emphasise putting a whole technology stack to individual tasks, for example building a whole crypto network for a single task which might be odd because it is like having an elephant in the background just to enjoy the shade.
Sure a network will fare much better if it can execute multiple use cases efficiently without enforcing alien models on the underlying business and it better be energy-efficient at doing that especially in the light of the current search for environmental sustainability.
How big is your reach?
We have effective access and strong relationships in the markets we are currently operating in and we either have the same for the markets we intend to operate in next or are developing them. As a multi-sided platform, reach means reach to these multiple sides. We are currently active in Egypt, one of the biggest markets in Africa and the Middle East, and expanding into more African markets with the final goal to connect these markets. We are also active in Russia, which is a regionally and globally influential market. We are actively building presence in Europe and the UK.
What is MentorLycon bringing to the market that isn’t present at the moment?
We bring multi-sided deep reach and penetration to the different players in the market in different sectors and segments. So that players who can hardly now reach other can easily collaborate and do business. We bring integration of different sectors, high efficiency operations, cost efficiency, high distribution and removing barriers between international markets. Moreover, we bring reliable information to the market. When it comes to people, especially, farmers and individual entrepreneurs providing business services and running micro-businesses, we provide sustainable means to empower and integrate them in the economies they operate in.
What is your contribution to the growth of artificial intelligence and decentralisation of technology for trade?
We are currently working on making artificial intelligence and decentralisation part of every business we serve.
What do you consider the biggest threat to your business?
Two things: 1) grow domestic and international business in traditional ways to repeat the success of more established examples without avoiding their mistakes at a time markets are being already disrupted and 2) we tackle a problem that is both different and difficult but is quite worthwhile.
For the first, take Africa as an example, it is a huge and rich market but it is also largely a fragmented market in terms of both continental integration and domestic operations in many sectors. We aim to involve many partners and mobilise resources to integrate these markets and to increase cross-border trade and business. If businesses and governments insists on competing each with everyone, huge resources are wasted that can instead be integrated in collaborative manner so the pie is larger for everyone.
What kind of collaborations do you expect and need for MentorLycon to succeed?
Collaborations with other businesses, society development organisations, financial institutions, logistics providers and governing bodies especially financial and regulatory bodies.
Where are your plans moving forward?
We are now focusing on the markets I previously mentioned and are developing strong partnerships with relevant businesses and bodies in these markets. We are currently focusing on the agricultural sector, food and drinks and retail.
What is the latest news from MentorLycon?
We are currently heavily involved in Egypt and Africa to develop the framework with which to go forward with outlook on related markets.
Who should contact your company, and why?
Businesses in our current focus, food and drinks, retail and farming to streamline their operations. Financial and insurance organisations and logistic providers as well as NGOs to scale their operations. Fellow entrepreneurs to discuss collaboration.
Africa Business Communities is conducting a series of interviews with startup businesses in Africa.
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