Hi Neamat, thanks for taking the time, can you tell us about your background?
Hi, I’m Neamat, the co-founder and chief operating officer at AbuErdan. I am coming from a technology background. I had my Ph.D. in data management and data analytics jointly from Cairo University and the University of Michigan.
I strive to help people fix their business problems using technology and see the joy in their eyes while using the solutions we build. I am also an associate professor in the faculty of Computers and Artificial Intelligence at Cairo University where I always try to reduce the gap between academia and industry.
What problem are you solving with AbuErdan, and how did you first encounter it?
Our team has been working together in the software services industry for more than 9 years. We worked with large clients such as the World Bank, American Electric Power Grid, Telecommunication companies, international organizations, and governments. We decided to capitalize on our competencies in business intelligence, data analytics, cloud services, and machine learning in developing a product in an industry that is technology underserved where we can make an impact, which is why we chose the poultry industry.
Poultry companies suffer from a lot of inefficiencies in the operations of the whole value chain due to the lack of proper control and visibility over their in-field operations. The industry lacks the tools that help in identifying such inefficiencies. The aim is to empower poultry farmers to increase their profitability and reduce their waste.
What part of your product was the hardest to build, and how did you overcome it?
I guess every single part of the product was hard to build.
While building the solution, we were making sure that all the poultry operations complexity can be managed easily using our tools. Building an easy-to-use, easy to roll out and easy to adopt solution was not an easy task for us. You are working with poultry farmers in the field and you want to really make sure that the solution is easy for them to adapt so that it will not be a barrier to manage their farms with. Every single functionality was implemented multiple times while getting feedback from the farmers in order to make sure it’s usable without any burden.
The solution was built in cooperation with poultry experts from different countries in the world (Ireland, Holland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Egypt). Our system is built is comprehensively cover business processes including their variations between different countries.
One of the main difficulties that we encountered is having farms in remote areas without good internet connectivity. We implemented the solution so that it can switch to offline mode enabling the farmer to manage his farm and then the data can be synced automatically once the connection is back up again. Without this feature, we couldn’t have deployed our solution anywhere.
As the founder, how close does this version of AbuErdan match the one in your mind? How far along is AbuErdan on its journey?
AbuErdan is a robust solution that spans all modules of the poultry value chain. Even though our product is very mature, and it is being extensively used by companies in the market and is delivering great value, we still are even more ambitious. We have planned a roadmap that includes delivering even more value through more extensive use of machine learning, predictive analytics, planning
How do you grow
More profits, less waste, and more efficiency: this is the promise AbuErdan gives to poultry farmers in addition to greater food safety, security, governance, and transparency.
Our growth strategy is based on referrals and direct relationships with the poultry industry network in poultry trade fairs and conferences. For instance, we have been selected as one of the innovators that disrupt the poultry industry in the world in the Poultry Tech Summit in Atlanta.
Any insights on where your industry is heading?
The poultry market is rapidly growing. According to the FAO, poultry is overtaking beef as the primary source of protein in the world.
Poultry companies are becoming more aware that investing in technology will increase their profits and will make their processes more efficient.
How did you come with your company name?
AbuErdan is simply the water egret. It’s known in the Egyptian culture that water egret is the friend of the farmer. We chose that name mainly to be the “electronic friend of the farmer”.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like playing Kickboxing for fun. I don’t fight, I just practice shadow kickboxing. I feel it’s very important to do some challenging activities that help you focus on things other than work and brings more positive energy into your life. I do have two kids as well whom I love spending time with. I also like traveling. I travel a lot for work and I always try to do some sightseeing.