By: Dany El Eid, Founder & Managing Partner of pixelbug
pixelbug is a global pioneer in augmented reality technology, providing technology driven marketing solutions. Established in Dubai in 2012, and founded by Dany El Eid, a seasoned tech entrepreneur, they have the objective of making the world a more interactive place by fusing the digital with the physical world. pixelbug have an impressive client list, working with multinational companies such as Nestle, Atlantis hotel, Sony and Procter and Gamble. However, every business needs funding at some stage and regardless of the client list, all businesses can face hurdles in this area. Dany explains more.
As a company, pixelbug has seen continued growth and when they changed their strategy, moving from being a project based business model, to a product lead model; this affected operations. They found that as a business, they had to become more selective with their clients and realised the need to move quickly to secure business funding to support their new strategy.
“We inquired about loans from banks in the UAE and found the interest rates highly unattractive and repayment terms inflexible. There’s also a lot of red tape and criteria that make the process even more unappealing,” Dany elucidates. He was offered rates between 20-26% in terms of repayment over 12 months, “There were penalties that also had to be considered for early repayment too, not to mention that I was asked for an insane amount of documents…”
As a result, the company started searching for an alternative finance solution. They were introduced to Beehive by a financier during a key period of fundraising when negotiations with traditional sources of finance were making slow progress, “Which was fortunate as Beehive had just launched at that time – just as we were being confronted by banks’ red tape and high rates.”
Beehive is the region’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) online lending platform, offering a new funding alternative for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). They use innovative online technology to host a marketplace that directly connects established businesses with smart investors, so that SMEs get faster access to lower cost finance, at the same time as enabling investors to get better returns and manage risk by diversifying their investments.
“pixelbug is always at the forefront of technology and we are ready to collaborate with like-minded companies and people who are ready to disrupt an industry. Beehive in particular has the potential to disrupt the banking industry; this is very exciting for founders of our generation,” says Dany.
Flexible Funding Solutions
“The benefits of using Beehive from my perspective are the lower interest rates, flexible repayment terms an accessible platform and personnel,” Dany explains. He found the flexible funding solutions were of most interest to him. This is no real surprise when you look at the facts; SMEs represent 90% of total businesses in the UAE, but are facing difficulties gaining access to credit, as banks generally reject between 50-70% of SME loan applications. This hampers growth. As SMEs in the UAE are major drivers of employment and GDP growth, this lack of available funding it is a critically important factor. It is this scarcity of capital that is hampering the growth of the UAE, and in particular Dubai. This fact has led more and more people to review the options that alternative finance solutions can provide to help fill this funding gap in this area.
Craig Moore – Founder & CEO of Beehive, confirmed that the platform is most suited to established creditworthy SME businesses seeking finance of between AED 100,000 and AED 500,000 for up to 3 years. “Individual investors can invest from as little as AED 100 into each business listed on the platform and receive monthly repayments at target rates ranging between 8% p.a. and 20% p.a.” He continues to explain that they undertake thorough due diligence on each business listed on the platform, whilst facilitating the finance agreement between the business and investors, “Charging a small percentage fee of the finance amount.”
What is next for pixelbug?
Having set a new record on Beehive by becoming the first business on the platform to see their finance request funded in less than 24 hours, the money is certainly being put to good use. They are currently venturing into the ‘edutainment’ space with a groundbreaking augmented reality app called colorbug.
“We believe colorbug will disrupt the education space through trailblazing augmented reality techniques. In the future we see a world where augmented reality has the potential to replace smartphones and tablets by enabling digital content to be seamlessly integrated in our everyday lives; pixelbug will be at the forefront of this paradigm shift,” says Dany excitedly.
“Having access to finance at better rates than banks was crucial to maintaining a healthy cash flow. I would definitely recommend for other SMEs to consider alternative financing options and of course I would recommend Beehive. Companies have the opportunity to get much lower interest rates and no loss of equity, investors have the potential to make money and the platform is very user friendly. It’s a win-win scenario for everyone,” he concludes with a smile.