The company participates in the famous Y Combinator support program, the Californian incubator that gave birth to Airbnb and Dropbox. Interview with Mehdi Cherif Alami, co-founder of Freterium, a collaborative platform for managing and tracking transportation and logistics.
Finance News Weekly: What were the steps involved in your selection for the Y Combinator program?
Mehdi Cherif Alami: Applications are made online and are open to start-ups from all over the world. Once the online application phase is over, about 500 startups are invited for an interview lasting exactly 10 minutes, and no more.
Of course, you have to prepare for this moment, because these few minutes go by quickly and there is no second chance. Y Combinator places great importance on brevity. The answer is given the same day by a phone call for the lucky ones, and a rejection email for the others.
Every year, more and more start-ups from all over the world apply, but very few are selected. Out of more than 20,000 applications, only 1.5% are selected. So we are very proud of the attention Y Combinator is giving us and honored to have been accepted.
F.N.H.: Concretely, what is your objective through your participation in this program?
M. Ch. A.: This is a great opportunity for us, knowing that we are in an acceleration phase at the international level. We will be able to benefit from the enormous experience of the founders and be challenged on the future directions to take.
We have access to a million dollars worth of free tools as well as the possibility of getting in touch with the network, the founders of Dropbox and Airbnb. The second thing we like about Y Combinator's approach is that we're going to be shadowed by the best entrepreneurs, and be able to talk to investors.
At the end of the program, we will be able to pitch in front of an audience of 1,000 investors! The fact that Y Combinator is an established player in start-up acceleration and bootstrapping is also an interesting factor to take into account...
The reputation of the Californian incubator is such that potential investors are particularly interested in the participants of the program. With this visibility, we hope to inspire young people and help make Morocco the next start-up nation on the continent.
F.N.H.: How is the market for logistics and transport services and tools in Morocco? And what is your outlook for this market?
M. Ch. A.: The market in Morocco is not yet mature. However, the health crisis has highlighted the failures in the supply chains and accelerated the challenges of our customers' supply chains.
The digitalization efforts that have been dictated by this difficult situation are bound to continue and be consolidated. It is now clear in everyone's mind that the future of the logistics sector lies in digitalization.
The transport and logistics sectors are on the verge of a major transformation, as advances in artificial intelligence and autonomous technology allow them to reduce costs, optimize delivery routes and automate tedious tasks.
Start-ups are now the cornerstone of this transformation. They identify archaic processes and replace them with new technologies, thus changing the entire value chain.
F.N.H.: Coming back to Freterium, what are the projects you are currently working on? And what is your medium-term objective?
M. Ch. A.: We are continuously looking to improve our product, by investing in research and development, in order to be able to address all the challenges and issues of transportation in emerging markets.
We have projects that could be revolutionary for the transport sector and we need to grow to continue recruiting, especially engineers for the R&D side.
Our wish is to accompany a maximum of players in Morocco (small or large), but also to develop internationally, in the MENA region at first.