Kashif Thakkur is the CEO of Middle East & Africa for NEXXO. He is a seasoned industry professional with high expertise. He has been achieving immense business growth objectives in several markets. Kashif Thakkur is also a board member for several leading Private Equity firms in the region.
He is a strategic planner who has exceptional experience in creating and implementing business strategies for enhanced sales volume, market penetration, and business growth. Furthermore, Kashif Thakkur holds a degree of MBA in marketing and a post-graduate diploma in computer sciences. He also has experience in digitization, fintech, payments and banking solutions, etc.
Kashif Thakkur is a certified Fintech and Blockchain professional with exceptional knowledge in providing financial solutions. As the CEO of Middle East & Africa for NEXXO, he is helping customers get reliable solutions with his team. Kashif Thakkur and his team at NEXXO helps businesses to fulfill their financial needs in emerging markets globally. NEXXO is also visible on social media platforms at Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Let’s learn more about Kashif Thakkur, his business journey, and his strategies through our interview below.
Explain the background of you and the company in detail.
I am a seasoned banker with over 22 years of experience in the banking and fintech industry. Mainly, my professional career spans around banks like ABN AMRO Bank, Citibank, Credit Agricole, etc. I have served as a C Level executive for over 7 years with multinational and local banks in the GCC region and the United Kingdom. Currently, I hold the position of CEO, Middle East & Africa for NEXXO and also serve as an Advisory Board Member for a few prominent Private Equity firms in the region.
NEXXO is a multinational financial services company that serves the financial needs of small and micro business entities in emerging markets across the globe. Our presence in Qatar is the most visible. We are already established as the largest fintech in the market, with approximately a quarter of a million individual customers and 25,000 SMEs. We process over 4.3 Billion Qatari Riyals in payments volume annually.
What are your goals?
My plan for the region includes going live in strategic markets within MEA this year, and the countries in focus now are UAE, KSA, Egypt, and Oman.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of yourself/company right now?
Ever since the pandemic, consumer behavior has taken a significant turn towards digital and contactless payments. As a result, the payments landscape in the region and especially in UAE has witnessed several new players in this space. Most of these fintechs have done a really good job of polishing a product or a solution, and their business model seems to be revolving around pushing that idea into the market.
On the other hand, we have an entirely different approach and, in principle, are against being a product pusher. Instead, our value proposition revolves around creating solutions targeted towards small businesses’ pain points and unmet needs. As a result, we end up surrounding our customers with an array of financial solutions that not only helps them digitize payments but also, with the deployment of our cutting-edge indigenous technology, make their day-to-day life a lot easier.
What was the path you/your company took to get to where you are today?
I feel that the success of our company could be attributed to our inherent principle of outcome-driven innovation. This principle is at the core of our efforts towards the development of new products and solutions.
Why did you start (or want to be the head of) this company?
Most of my career span in banking revolved around consumer business, and I have been heading consumer banking for banks like Credit Agricole (BSF) and local banks in UAE for the last 7 years. As you would understand, consumer banking is probably the most tech-intensive vertical within the banking industry. Reviewing the analytics and consumer behavior patterns year over year, I could easily see how the skew towards technology and digitization is going to affect this business.
With the rapid evolution of technology-focused towards payments and finance, most of the excitement was in the financial technology space, hence the switch from banking to fintech.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We as a company work hand in hand with our banking partners and are in full compliance with the local central bank regulations. Our lead time to go live in most markets has been our primary challenge. However, I am very optimistic about how things are evolving both from a technology and regulatory perspective. In addition, that would certainly have a very positive impact on the growth of fintech across emerging markets.
Give us one word that describes you the best.
What makes you excited about Mondays?
Crossing new milestones and overcoming various challenges week after week.
Coming closer to achieving business goals and objectives throughout the Middle East & Africa region.
What do you value most about your culture and vision?
Our company’s culture focuses on developing technologies and meaningful solutions that help small business owners and operators grow their businesses. As a result, they have a better life for themselves, their families, and their employees. This vision is the primary component of our growth strategy, and when this vision is realized, the SME segment flourishes, and the local economies grow.
Tell us about a project that forced you to be innovative and creative?
Innovation in our line of business is not a choice but a matter of survival. In this constantly evolving world of technology, we would go irrelevant if we did not innovate in time. Therefore, our lives revolve around the constant pursuit of outcome-driven innovation.
What are your company’s strategies, and how do they stand unique from your competitors?
Our approach to providing services to the client is entirely different from others. We don’t support being a product pusher. Instead, we focus on targeting our clients’ requirements, pain points, and other specifications to develop effective and efficient solutions.
Thus, we surround our clients with a plethora of financial solutions that help them digitize payments and make their day-to-day lives easier by implementing our indigenous cutting-edge technology.
What are the key values that helped you overcome the roadblocks/challenges in your career? Tell us something about your memorable incident in your leadership?
I personally believe that your core values define your path in life. I was able to overcome various roadblocks in my career by staying true to my purpose and making sure that the means to the end are always ethical. Besides that, more often than not, true success is a result of perseverance and being humane and empathetic in your approach, both personally and professionally.
How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
The next two years will see a rapid expansion of our business into multiple new emerging markets. Personally, I see myself identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing new opportunities constantly.
Where is your leadership going? What benefits are your clients getting from your company in this competitive world?
Our leadership team is committed to creating an ecosystem of value-laden financial services for small business owners and operators. We aim to bring cutting-edge technology at the doorstep of this largely underserved and underbanked segment.
What services/solutions or products are offered by your company at par with the current industry standards? Tell us something about your upcoming products or services?
Our suite of financial services aims to provide our customers with an ecosystem where they can solve most of their financial issues on a single platform. We enable our customers to accept digital payments, help them manage their finances efficiently, and provide them with the payment options to make their financial obligations in a timely manner. We are also working towards providing them with financing and insurance products in the near future.
Find Kashif Thakkur at LinkedIn!