This company is part of Executive’s Top 20 for 2015. Read more stories from our entrepreneurship in Lebanon section, for the latest analysis on the country’s ecosystem.
Industry: Technology and analytics
Product: Solutions using IoT sensors and analytics
Product launch: 2015
Founders: Elias El-Khoury and Fadwa Mohanna
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected objects – to the internet and to each other – which through embedded sensors share information across a network and allow for the collection of data, and the ability for those selfsame objects to be controlled remotely. For example, a smart fridge that knows when a door is left ajar, can subsequently be closed through an app after alerting a user.
Markelligent, a startup founded at the end of 2014 by Fadwa Mohanna and Elias el-Khoury, aims to harness the IoT through collecting data from the sensors and providing companies with services relating to data analytics. Their intention is to offer IoT solution packages to citizens’ pre-existing problems, generating revenue for Markelligent and improving the quality of collective lives. Once a challenge has been identified, Markelligent develops the needed sensors to measure the readings related to that challenge and start collecting all kinds of data generated by those sensors on their cloud. Then, they start analyzing the data which can be displayed in a dashboard format, enabling the management of the client to track the progress and take the relevant actions accordingly. Their target markets are corporations, municipalities and large entities, and their expansion plans eye the Gulf and Europe as regional areas for future operations. At the end of its first year, Markelligent is cash positive, has organic growth fuelled by customers, has projects on the back of initial self funding, and has seven employees in Lebanon and three outside.
Examples include one of their current projects ‘Smart Parking’, which enables people to find the nearest empty parking location within Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This IoT implementation is one example of using such innovation in a ‘smart city’ context, which has a wide applicability that extends beyond traffic congestion. These cities have electronic hardware embedded throughout multiple objects, which work to improve city efficiency by connecting the infrastructure to the behaviour of people, and translating it into data analytics, such as notifying councils when garbage bins are overflowing which is currently done in Milton Keynes in the UK. Though the trash analogy will doubtless take time to be rolled out across Lebanon, the wider scalability and applicability is large, especially as cities become more energy aware and environmentally conscious across the globe. Markelligent is working both with Bluetooth and low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology for entities with limited connectivity capabilities, thus increasing their market attractiveness.
Markelligent is determined to remain in Lebanon, and ultimately rejected plans to relocate to Dubai. Instead, they have chosen to recruit local talent in Lebanon, with most of their staff located in Beirut. Whilst they cannot release financials, Mohanna stresses that they expect to double in size by mid 2016, and aim to employ individuals in research and development, software and quality control.