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“Well, our business has been losing money for the past decade, our unit economics are never going to make any sense, and we’re running out of cash. What do we do?” one executive asked. “Everything,” the prominent chief financial officer (CFO) responded.
Everyone in the room looked at him as if he had just discovered fire.
“But how do we market it to investors?” the senior executive’s question. “It’s super … it’s a super app. It’s like WeChat in China,” the CFO responded.
The above story is an approximation of how my idea of a super application might be generated in the MEA region. Basically, allowing more money and more hypothetical profits in the future, completely ignoring user behavior, is a huge idea.
Not surprisingly, the premise of trying to do all sorts of things by forcing user behavior turned out to be a complete failure. For example, you’ll see taxi apps trying to offer healthcare services, and food platform apps trying to offer neo-banking services.
Businesses are jumping from one product to another, chasing the idea that they can force users into a profitable unit economic behavior that, as a concept, is doomed to fail if the fundamentals are flawed in the first place .
So it’s no surprise that the continued bankruptcies and devaluations of distressed unit-economy companies, and investors have taken notice. They are already starting to see that super app rhetoric is nothing more than a false promise of future profitability. That’s what makes Astra Tech’s hyperplatform different.
I’m co-founder and CEO Astra Technology, a UAE-based development and investment group, is building the first super platform in the MEA region. The company intends to create a profitable business model that serves everyone who uses its ecosystem, including end consumers, businesses and suppliers. It will be a platform that will not be biased towards one side of the market, but aims to create value for all stakeholders. In short, the ultra platform will revolutionize the way users and businesses interact, engage and transact, making it more seamless, fast and intuitive.
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Unlike super apps, Astra’s super platform doesn’t rely on rental growth or jumping from one line of business to another. The way the platform is structured will avoid unnecessary and unnatural changes in user behavior, which often lead to platform fatigue. Instead, it will help users reimagine the possibilities and create value of an infinitely connected digital ecosystem. Furthermore, the platform’s partners and suppliers are not overwhelmed by unrealistic and unsustainable commission structures.
We have a clear vision and goals for what this super platform needs and what it needs to provide. Our vision for this platform is that innovation and experience are at the center of everything. Our goal is to reduce the cognitive dissonance they face in their daily lives by simplifying the way they communicate, shop, pay and transact with each other.
We will remove complexity for our users, giving them an ultra-seamless, fast and intuitive experience, while supporting the business ambitions of suppliers and businesses in a sustainable and healthy way. As such, Astra’s Ultra platform will not be a platform with a link and compound commission structure that will burden both suppliers and buyers from a financial and experiential standpoint.
We at Astra Tech have announced the acquisition of some very powerful user-centric consumer platforms. These acquisitions will provide the super platform with state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence systems in an incredibly intelligent way that will make the platform smart and super fast from day one. The future is really exciting. Super Platform > Super Apps.
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