Artificial Intelligence

Startup Spotlight: UAE-Based Uktob Is Ensuring Arabic-Speaking Businesses Have Easier Access To Artificial Intelligence

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In the conversations that revolve around the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on businesses worldwide, one aspect that most stakeholders would agree upon is its ability to reduce mundane and repetitive tasks. But while AI has seeped into innumerable elements of the business ecosystem, the use of this technology is still relatively nascent within Arabic-speaking entities. It was in a bid to rectify this that Kareem Ayyad and Emad Ayyad came up with the idea for Uktob, a generative AI startup that deploys AI-driven solutions to help businesses boost their operational efficiencies.

“Uktob offers a cutting-edge transformative solution that enables businesses to create and deploy AI agents that augment key business functions such as sales and customer service,” Kareem explains. “For example, our AI agents significantly improve median email response times -from the standard 45 minutes, to just one minute- and reduce operational costs by over 80% for our customers. This results not only in cost efficiency, but also in superior performance outcomes for business teams. But particularly for the MENA region, our models are multilingual, excelling and outperforming any other solution in Arabic.”

Among the AI agents that Kareem alludes to, there is one that is named Faheem, an AI-powered personal assistant that offers a range of productivity tools and services for day-to-day tasks. It is through Faheem that Uktob users can not only cut down their email time by 80% through auto-generating draft responses, but they can also receive text personalized to one’s writing style and tone. “Our approach is a blend of superior AI infrastructure -think proprietary datasets and deep learning models- with a keen insight into the Arabic language and the MENA’s business ethos,” Kareem adds. “We see this unified value being unique; a purple goat in a field of the ordinary. And at the heart of our uniqueness is our commitment to the MENA region, addressing the largely untapped market of Arabic-speaking businesses and consumers, focusing on a demographic that has been historically underserved in the AI space. Our solution isn’t just about the technology; it’s about bridging a crucial gap, and bringing the cutting-edge advantages of AI to the Arab world.”

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But while Uktob oversees a wide range of business-related operational tasks, it appears to pay keen attention towards the processes of team building as well. “As such, addresses the universal challenge businesses face in talent acquisition, management, and scaling,” Kareem says. “The conventional process of building and managing a team is resource-intensive, and it is often a bottleneck for growth. Our AI agents offer a solution to this problem by enabling businesses to scale efficiently with minimal headcount. In fact, the inspiration for first came from observing these persistent challenges across industries, and recognizing the potential of AI to empower each team member to significantly achieve more with less.”

Launched in February 2023, Uktob has already onboarded more than 350,000 users at a zero-dollar customer acquisition cost- the startup’s client acquisition process has been “purely organic,” Kareem emphasizes. “Operating as an enterprise software as a service (SaaS) model, our revenue is generated by offering customizable AI solutions that businesses can deploy and embed into their teams, enhancing their operational capabilities,” he adds. “This model allows us to adapt to diverse business needs, creating a scalable revenue stream. We are now expanding our team, and we’re continuously enhancing our product offerings. Having also raised a pre-seed round, we are well-positioned to expand our market presence, especially in the MENA region. Our long-term potential is anchored in our unique AI solutions, and our deep understanding of the local market, with specialized models that outperform in Arabic across any dialect.”

That vision is certainly being supported by the startup’s enrollment in the MBRIF Accelerator Program as well. “The decision to apply to MBRIF was a no-brainer for us!” Kareem says. “The MBRIF is rare in the way that it tailors its program and support system in a customized way, to each startup’s specific needs by connecting us with customers, capital, mentors, and a network of likeminded founders that we can rely on. So far, the value that we got out of the program has been incredible, and we’re excited and grateful to be part of this amazing community.”

As Kareem and his team now move swiftly towards their future goals, he notes that his startup’s vision is rooted not just in the technology it leverages, but also in the journey of the clients it works with. “Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Uktob, especially in the fast-paced realm of AI, where change is the only constant,” Kareem says. “Our team culture and operational strategies are deeply embedded in staying ahead of technological trends and executing swiftly. Understanding and adapting to these rapid advancements is not just a part of our strategy; it’s integral to our DNA. But we are also committed to being a supportive partner to our enterprise customers, prioritizing their success, and walking alongside them at every step. This balance of cutting-edge innovation and human-centered service is what, I believe, positions for future success in a dynamically evolving AI landscape.”

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