Joy Ajlouny has been an e-commerce industry professional whose business and fashion influence has spanned the globe. Joy is the Co-founder of Fetchr, a technology company based in Dubai, aimed at solving the no address problem of emerging markets with a priority app. Fetchr allows e-commerce companies and individuals to arrange delivery through the app using GPS coordinates on a customers mobile phone-no need for a physical address. Joy raised over 11 million dollars, making fetchr the Middle East’s first ever Silicon Valley-backed start up funded by a top venture capital firm.
Prior to Fetchr, Joy founded Bonfaire, an internet-based VC-backed discovery platform for luxury footwear and accessories. Bonfaire was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce giant Mode Operandi, owned by LVMH and Condé Nast. Joy Ajlouny took on the notoriously testosterone-filled world of venture capital. While only 2.7% of venture capital funds have been raised by women, Joy has successfully raised funds for two companies from some of the most prestigious Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
Joy has also been a strategic advisor to fashion startups, venture capital firms and major fashion publications. Joy’s personal style and keen sense of fashion is a product of her extensive travels.
AWP has the pleasure to feature her among our inspirational women this month,
Can you share with our readers a little bit about your upbringing, what drew you towards Finance & Economics and e-commerce?
I grew up in a Business family I remember endless breakfasts were everyone was buried in reading the New York Times and then discussing world events and business ideas. We never talked about sports and trivial things. We are a very serious family. It was always about business and politics,being the parents of Palestinian refugees I think this mentality of succeeding with education and hard work is part of the DNA,I believe of every Palestinian family. It just seemed natural to study finance in college. I guess the e-commerce part always came from my passion for fashion. I guess I thought of a way to combine them both.
Coming from a Finance and Economic background your previous ventures are related to fashion, what is the reason behind this?
I always had a passion for fashion I always found myself being drawn to it from an early age. I guess I found a way to be successful with this passion. I guess it stems from my favorite writer Khalil Gibran do what you love and the money will follow.
What encouraged you to make the move from the US to Dubai?
I never had any intention of leaving California. After I sold my first company I was mentoring new start up on how to raise money. I was at an invent for Arab entrepreneurs and was there listening to Idriss Alrifai my now partner. I loved what he had to say about solving the problem of no addresses. I was passionate about what he was saying as I experienced it myself. I immediately approached him and the next thing I knew we decided to join forces and the next thing I know Im living in Dubai. It is crazy how life takes you in different direction.
How did Fetchr come about?
It is such a frustrating experience to get a package delivered to you in the Middle East anyone who has experienced it will tell you it a never ending array of phone calls with language barriers asking fro directions. I knew there had to be a better way. I thought of Uber and thought to my self why cant we have uber fro package delivery and then Fetchr was born.
What is next for Joy?
To take this company to an IPO , that is the ultimate dream.
In your opinion is it really a challenge for women entrepreneurs to reach success in a so called “male dominant” market?
It is not easy for entrepreneurs to succeed period. It is a fact that of all funding only 2.7% go to women founders. I would love with fetchrs success to open the doors for other women to realize they can do this too.
What are some of the challenges that faced you in your career journey and how did you over come them?
Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. I believe my biggest challenge is overcoming the stereo type that if you are nto married and have children you are not complete. Over coming everyone idea of what is best for you and following my own dreams and ambitious without being apologetic about it.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs or start-ups when in the search for funding?
Number one advice never take no for an answer. To have the thickest skin where rejection doesn’t affect you in anyway. We are so driven by what everyone thinks. If you just truly believe in your vision and just not care what the world thinks. Your on a mission and the hell with whoever gets in your way.