Abdellatif “Tino” Waked, Uber’s enthusiastic young Head of Operations in Egypt, fits well with the company that has shaken the car ride industry globally. This brilliant young businessman believes that to achieve success, you have to be a step ahead of the competition at every turn. eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry and Jasmine Abouelata sat down with Tino to find out more about Uber Egypt’s success and the challenges it faces.
With his affable personality and an amazing knowledge of all aspects of doing business in Egypt, it’s not hard to see the secret behind Tino’s success. He believes in Uber’s innovative strategy and is proud of the tangible difference that the company is having on the lives of thousands throughout the globe. For Egypt, he visualizes a congestion-free future as Uber’s ideal destination. Tino is unperturbed by the challenges at hand, knowing full well the need to maintain a steady hand to overcome any difficulties.
Before joining Uber, Tino hadn’t really envisioned a future for himself in Egypt. Having studied abroad, earning an Economics BA from Rutgers University and an MBA from INSEAD, he went on to work for one of the biggest consulting firms in the world, McKinsey and Co., for over two years. When Uber decided that it was time to penetrate the enormous Egyptian market, Tino was an easy choice to head Uber’s Egypt team. He was named the company’s Head of Operations in the country in February 2015.
Since then, Tino and the Uber team have almost effortlessly dominated the country’s car ride industry. He attributes the ease with which they gained this position to three factors: the notoriously awful Egyptian traffic, the safer transportation option that the company provides, and the visible need for flexible jobs in the flailing Egyptian economy. According to Tino, in just over a year and a half, Uber has provided over 30 thousand jobs for Egyptians from all demographics across the country. In his mind, a huge factor behind this has been the flexible working hours provided to drivers, who can switch on the application and work whenever they like, a major advantage, compared to other routine jobs.
Nevertheless, the road to Uber’s success has obviously not been without its bumps. The company has had to endure angry cab drivers, bureaucratic local authorities, and competition from similar companies, such as Careem. Tino and his team have had to fight their way through numerous roadblocks throughout their Uber journey. They’ve managed to maintain their success through a continued emphasis on quality service and the use of innovative tactics, tailoring the global brand to the wonderful maze that is Egypt. According to Tino, it’s really the small things that count. Unthinkable projects, such as incorporating ‘Tok Tok’ drivers under their company’s wings or admirably helping out the less privileged in Ramadan promotions, have allowed the company to assimilate into the country’s fierce business ecosystem.
Thanks to Tino and his team, Egypt now posts one of the highest profit margins of all Uber branches worldwide. Looking ahead, Tino still isn’t content. He wants to use the company’s success as a platform to educate the market on the importance of innovation and on the positive effects that carpooling has on both traffic and the environment. A perfectionist at heart, he’s also continuously looking for new ways to improve Uber’s rides, both on the passenger and driver sides.
And in case you were wondering, no, he doesn’t actually own a car himself, and relies on Uber rides to move around the country.