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TAS ICONS: Meet Majid Al Amri, the man who created Oman’s first e-payment platform

TAS News Service
November 21, 2020 10:27 am

This is a tale of sensing the need and possibilities of an innovative business and putting in tireless efforts to realise that dream for a bit of time. Ten long, had years, in fact, but the pain and struggle has “paid off” in the end — not just for him but the businesses and their customers in the Sultanate too.

From his early years Majid Al Amri has been inspired by the limitless possibilities offered by computers, innovative software platforms and emerging technologies. Guided by his spirit of innovation he enrolled with Sultan Qaboos University and graduated as a computer engineer in 2003.
He has since then been using technology to improve every facet of his daily life, be it personal or in the workplace. From the very beginning of his career Majid quickly earned a reputation as the “go-to” person for tech advice and how to best implement new systems and solutions.

With vast experience gained in roles across numerous sectors, Majid has been involved in the start-up and establishment of few businesses prior to setting up Thawani as Oman’s first mobile payment platform and one of the few in the region, taking up his position as Chief Executive Officer at the company.

Citing his personal motto “Challenges are the real opportunities”, Majid has continued to push his limits at every opportunity.

The idea of having his own project has been on his mind throughout his years of work, but many challenges have stood before him. He did not have the money to implement the idea and the limitation of resources was one of the biggest obstacles. It was difficult to secure early investment as, at the time, the laws and regulations were not flexible in dealing with ideas centred on electronic transactions.

“Stakeholder analysis is very important to the success of any project. If you do your stakeholder analysis properly you will get your success from the first head,” Al Amri says.

Finally, after 10 years of planning, Thawani Technologies LLC was established in March 2016 and the app was released in March 2018. Since then it has been successfully providing smart, innovative payment solutions through mobile phones and other electronic channels.

According to Majid, the Thawani platform is the most advanced and innovative solution to facilitate payments for merchants and consumers alike. The technology utilised for the Thawani platform is among the most advanced in the world.

“The concept of Thawani started very early in 2006 and many people think it’s a new idea but in reality it goes back to 2008 when the term financial technology and mobile technology was not common. That’s when I thought about a payment link and honestly I am not a banker and engineering is my background. In 2008 I put up a study and I tried to convince the investors at that time but I realised that time was not right,” he recalls.

“Back in 2011, when the smart phone era started to pick up, we had some hope. We shifted the concept to a mobile app. In 2012 we started to think seriously and changed our business model on how to get the investors and get the nod from the regulators because it was not an easy task. I had already spent a good four years by then,” he says.

The Thawani app, the new e-payment solution, offers a smart, simple and highly secure payment method as an alternative to cash, credit and debit cards. It is set to take the process of cash management and digital transaction to a higher level of flexibility. “Today we have more than 25,000 active users. Numbers are still small but the good news is we received the first-ever licence for a fintech company in Oman,” he informs.

Users can download the Thawani app from Apple Store or Google Play. “Everything from its set-up to creating an account to using the app on a day-to-day basis has been designed around simplicity,” Majid stresses.

Majid is a learner and he has the best advice to upcoming entrepreneurs. “They always say if you fail to build a right team you will fail to build a product.”

“I always ask people for suggestions and you shouldn’t be shy to ask, be it a younger or an older person, because technology is advancing and you cannot be always right.”

Majid Al Amri

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