Industry: Data, business information/professional information service providers
Project/Product: Economena User Station
Year of incorporation: 2011
Product launch: 2014
Employees: 10, and hiring
Board of directors: Not yet, board of advisors
Founders/shareholders: Tamim Akiki, Fadi Chahine, Gaby Moukarzel, Daniel Tomb and one silent partner
The big macroeconomic aim of Economena Analytics is to provide better access for investors to delve into Middle Eastern markets, by providing better access to economic data.
Besides the usual barriers such as the security and electricity situation, lack of access to centralized economic information is also a hurdle to investment. It goes without saying that Executive is particularly excited to see this push among the batch of Lebanese companies that was under our review.
The value proposition is to create a professional platform that provides economic data to economists, researchers, consultants, investment managers, media outlets and policy makers. This eliminates much of the labor intensive work of searching through reports and press releases for data, and leaves firm employees more time to analyze, find new business opportunities or advise clients.
The Middle East is not known for its availability of information, but Akiki is hoping that once they become trusted professional information service providers, there will be more willingness from different sources to share their information. Currently, 95 percent of their data is publicly available information — from official sources such as ministries and private associations — according to Akiki.
The original model started through working with global providers who wanted access to Middle Eastern data for their clients. Out of the world’s five largest data providers, they were dealing with three, according to Akiki. More recently they developed their own platform, a web-based user station that provides access to all of the information along with manipulable graphs, for an annual subscription fee and a two year contract. Subscriptions are offered for between $3,000 to $10,000 a year, depending on the size of the organization and the approximate number of people accessing Economena. As the company provides subscribers with both technical and analytical assistance, the subscription fee is correlated to how much they think the users will seek their team’s professional advice. In the couple of months since they entered into the market with this, their biggest successes so far have been with banks and media companies. They are currently trying to leverage the connections that their partners have through their professional experience in consulting, finance, economics and media.
Competition-wise, while their business overlaps with others, no professional data provider is operating in the same space. “I think our biggest competitor is Google,” says Akiki with a laugh, “because it makes people think that they can get whatever they want pretty easily.”
And looking to the future, “five years from today, I want every economist from the Middle East to be using Economena,” says Akiki.