Ayman Hariri, the person worth a fortune of $1.3 billion as estimated by Forbes, created a social media app, not for making money, but for the sake of his dreams. Although seemingly paradoxical, his strive for success garlanded him with a surprise this February. Within one week in February 2018, Vero went from being a virtually unknown social media network to becoming a download trend in google play servives and apple os. Number of users reached 4 million.
Son of Rafik Hariri, the founder of one of the largest construction company Oger& brother of Saad, the prime minister of Lebanon, Ayman Hariri has always tried to avoid the spotlight unsuccessfully yet consistently. Born in golden spoon, he grew up in Riyadh, moving to Paris at age 12. His father wanted him to join family company. But this computer lover had some secret desire, he wanted to pursue his passion for technology. He got his expectations fulfilled when his parents allowed him to take computer science as major and he graduated in it from Georgetown University, Washington D.C. and went on to chase his dreams.
After college, he created a data exchange network with Scott Birnbaum, his school friend. But after the assassination of his father they had to abandon it in 2005. Ayman ,afther this incident returned to Riyadh and with his other two brothers managed the company his father founded .
His desire to create a better app originated from the arrival of facebook. He observed that there was no strong anti-privacy framework and users lacked the ability to categorize levels of friendships and acquaintances and decide what to show to whom. Then he conceived the idea of a social media platform that would address those issues. He suggested his plan to his Dubai-based cousin MotazNabulsi, who studied filmmaking, and Birnbaum, who was by then a venture capitalist in New York.
Unfortunately during that time oil prices were beginning to slide and his company went bankrupt. At last in 2013, he quit. He devoted himself fully to his work.
His fortunes did wonders here. Without worrying about fundraising Hariri invested his money in Vero. He is the majority owner and other family and friends own rest of it.
As a start-up it performed exemplarily. Ayman Hariri’s own ideas are realised in this app. He never wanted to monetize his app’s data and that is why it has no option of selling it or using ads to earn revenue.The sudden surge in its users can be dedicated to Vero’s promise to its first million users that they don’t need to pay the service charge. And in an unprecedented step the one million limit is being extended, although unknown to how much number. Being a business it needs profit. Although uncertain, it plans to charge members an annual subscription fee. With pressure on facebook rising, for being less than vigilant with user data, Vero decides to make some money by getting a percentage on sales, when a user buys a product after finding those on its sitebased on a song or movie recommendation from others.
Still some glitches are there and its team is trying to resolve the issues as soon as possible. Vero’s lack of own algorithm has emboldened its critics to question its sustainability, especially in the backdrop of Vero’s crashed servers due to overload. This New York registered company functioned under a team of 30 people dispersed over 5 different countries. Different view point and perspectives can acquired from minds working at different places, but creates communication problems.
Ayman Hariri became successful in fulfilling his dream as well his father’s, whom he still sees as his role model.
For More Information: https://www.forbesmiddleeast.com/en/breaking-away/
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