Sector: technology, retail
Internet Entrepreneur, Paul Kenny, founded Cobone.com in 2010 at the age of just 25.
Having successfully securing seed funding from Jabbar Internet Group, the business began by offering online, daily deal ‘coupons’ to consumers within the United Arab Emirates for products and services offered by spas, restaurants, and a range of other leisure activities.
From the outset, Cobone.com grew rapidly, and over the past 13 months, has achieved phenomenal growth of 30% m/m, becoming the leading daily deal website and breaking all e-commerce records in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The company was originally established with the premise of helping to move the Middle East consumer market online.
The region presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and the majority of consumer spend is still conducted within the huge shopping malls that are dotted throughout the region.
By capitalising on the expansion of broadband services to households and businesses, and ever-increasing access to smart-phone and web-based technology, Cobone.com has been at the vanguard of this online revolution.
Cobone.com has expanded the business model to focus on many new areas including Fashion, Electronics, Products and Travel and it currently ranks at number one or two in each category it operates in on an e-Commerce level and has become one of the most recognised and visited brand sites within the region, holding a 50-65% monthly market share against its international competitive set.
To date, Cobone.com has 120 employees, comprising 26 nationalities, and six regional offices based in three countries that include the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Having diversified the business to also focus on a pure e-Commerce model, Mastercard released a survey where Cobone.com was announced as the second most popular website for purchasing online in the region.
In 2011, Cobone.com won the ‘Best e-Commerce Website of the Year’ award at the Internet Show, Middle East and continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Its e-commerce mobile application – the first of its kind in the region - is available in both Arabic and English and is now the most popular downloaded app’ in its category within MENA.
As of April 2012, Cobone.com had saved its customers over $50 million and sold almost one million coupons.
Kenny believes that the future looks bright for the firm and anticipates that geographical expansion across the region, in addition to development of the business into more vertical areas of e-commerce, lie ahead.Services:
The primary objective of Cobone.com was to consistently offer the best available online deals to consumers within the Middle East by offering a minimum discount of 50% or more on activities and ‘experiences’ across the region.
Having achieved rapid success, the company has developed its business model and is now also the brand leader in a host of other retail areas, such as electronics, fashion, travel, and products for mums and kids.
Cobone.com has sold everything from billboards to new cars and continues to innovate the way in which Middle Eastern consumers are purchasing online.Customers:
In the 19 months since its inception, Cobone.com has signed-up over 1.5 million customers and achieved almost 600,000 followers on social media – figures that are continuing to grow by the day.Has your Irish-ness contributed to your success?
Being Irish has definitely contributed to my success.
Unfortunately, Irish people can often underestimate how respected we are internationally.
It has been a great door-opener for me and I believe that it has been a key driver of my success to-date.How do you recharge your batteries?
I love to travel and my wife and I frequently spend weekends discovering new destinations around the world.
Taking time away from my hectic schedule is critical to maintaining a focused and balanced lifestyle.