Middle East startups warned that AI obsession can damage growth prospects

Scalo Technologies' Rashit Makhat says founders should adopt wider ranging strategies - and apply human touch

As the ascent of artificial intelligence continues, Middle East startups are being cautioned against exclusively fixating on advanced technology, a trend that could potentially harm their chances of achieving sustained growth.

Rashit Makhat, the co-founder of Scalo Technologies, a tech venture company in Dubai, emphasizes that founders overly reliant on AI might overlook crucial business elements such as market research, customer feedback, and operational efficiency.

Makhat advocates for a broader approach, urging entrepreneurs to embrace more comprehensive strategies and infuse their businesses with a human touch.

"While AI holds immense potential for enhancing efficiency, fostering innovation, and sparking disruptive changes, the risk for startups lies in becoming excessively fixated on new tech," warns Makhat.

He stresses the necessity for founders to engage in critical thinking, adaptability to novel circumstances, effective problem-solving, navigating complexities, making tough decisions, and crafting strategies to accomplish objectives.

"In today's technology-driven business landscape, discussions often neglect human intelligence. However, the amalgamation of problem-solving prowess, emotional intelligence, and adaptability is crucial for the growth of startups," adds Makhat.

Research conducted by PwC indicates that AI's contribution to the Middle East economy is projected to grow annually by 20-34%, reaching a substantial US$320 billion by 2030.

"Everyone is in pursuit of the next groundbreaking solution," notes Makhat, who co-founded Scalo Technologies after accumulating 15 years of top-tier experience spanning telecommunications, mining, information technology, and asset management in banking and real estate.

"Yet, prosperous startups comprehend that technology represents just a fraction of the puzzle and realize the importance of maintaining a balanced approach in their business evolution."

Makhat underscores the risks linked to solely relying on cutting-edge AI technology. Unproven algorithms or inadequately understood models could jeopardize reputation and business sustainability.

"By customizing services to suit the region's distinct needs and emphasizing customer experience and localization, Middle East startups can adeptly navigate the tech landscape, ensuring their growth remains steady and sustainable," Makhat concludes.

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