Ghassan Muradwij and Riyaz Alambath: The Driving Force And The Sturdy Leaders Of An Eminent Mobility Service

Travel agencies face intense pressure in the field. They are expected to satisfy countless service requests from busy customers who want to secure their flights, buses, taxis, travel plans, hotel reservations and holiday packages. At the same time, they are expected to realize a seamless booking experience online and punctually provide on-the-ground transportation. But they can only deliver these through a special technological support system.

When serial entrepreneurs Ghassan Muradwij and Riyaz Alambath first saw this limitation in the global mobility industry, they took time to study and really understand the challenges faced by today’s travel agencies. They learnt that most online travel agencies (OTA’s) failed to provide an effective on-the-ground transportation service because of poor quality technology and outdated methods. This meant low visibility and an increasing number of service errors. So, the two entrepreneurs took full responsibility to find an answer. They built a new Business-to-Business (B2B) technological platform for the mobility industry, especially for OTA’s, from scratch. They co-founded ‘KOI’ in Dubai in 2015. 

Ghassan and Royaz
Ghassan Muradwij & Riyaz Alambath
Founders, KOI

Guiding KOI’s Origin, Growth and Transformation through Dynamic Leadership

Ghassan and Riyaz, however, did not know each another in the past. Since childhood, Ghassan cultivated a passion for entrepreneurship seeing it as a challenge requiring grit, drive, and perseverance to achieve goals. On the other hand, Riyaz was practically immersed in the field. He had been working in the travel industry for many years and had a solid understanding of how traditional businesses function. 

When they first met, Riyaz was running his former company. But after only a few short discussions, they saw that they shared a similar drive, desire, and an entrepreneurial spirit. They both wanted to apply technology to simplify the complexities in traditional systems, improve the lives of people and help the community through effective leadership. So, they knew that they could be effective business partners and leaders. They set out to make the world a better place by helping people, businesses, and society, through KOI. 

But when KOI entered the mobility market space originally, it did so as a simple Business-to-Customer ride-sharing service. Today, newer models of business such as KOI’s ride-sharing services and on-demand mobility are overpowering traditional services and are dominating market spaces worldwide. In its first 18 months, KOI excelled in the field, employing over 700 loyal drivers, and serving over 100,000 passengers. Soon however, the company confronted stiff competition from industry leaders like Uber. As KOI faced an uncertain future, Ghassan and Riyaz took some time to visualize the best way to proceed. 

The co-founders revised their original business model and identified a new and better way to create value for the mobility business ecosystem. “We realized the gap in the ground transport segment within global online travel industry. After a few discussions we knew that we had a great opportunity on our hands, something that interested the both of us and allowed us to disrupt the ground transport and create greater customer experience,” Ghassan sheds some light. This was the turning-point. Over the next three years, KOI re-invented itself to become the first proven B2B technology business in the global mobility industry. 

Supporting the Mobility Business Ecosystem Strategically

“Our technology is built to increase visibility in service that was lacking in the ground transport within the travel industry. We built an auto algorithm for driver dispatch which improved the efficiency in the drivers 12 hours shifts, this allowed us to help drivers earn more and at the same time deliver highly competitive prices to our customers,” Ghassan explains. Re-inventing KOI’s identity was an immense success. The service shifted its focus to a completely new market by providing personalized and luxury rides, thus, exiting a competitive environment. Its service quickly gained repute for safety, affordability, and comfort. 

Moreover, participants of the mobility ecosystem such as OTA’s, corporations and luxury car service providers began networking through its end-to-end B2B technological platform. Various travel businesses began working together towards the broader goal of serving customers. The service also made drivers’ jobs easier by allowing them to plan days in advance and earn much more. Customers as well could access driver details, track route and even schedule rides with the same driver – a unique service that only KOI provides.

“Initially, our biggest challenge was convincing large travel companies about how we can help them minimize the errors they faced from conventional ground transport providers and help them increase profits using our technology,” Ghassan recollects. However, in the past 2 years, the company partnered up with 20 of the leading OTA’s including Expedia, and large hotel groups around the world. The service has successfully reduced the rate of service errors to less than 0.5 %. 

In Pursuit of Greater Success 

KOI serviced over 150,000 passengers in 2019 and is targeting to hit 1 million passengers over the next 12 month. “We believe we haven’t even scratched the surface on what KOI can bring to the ground transport segment. We are eager to expand geographically, and we want to offer our services to customers in various key cities around the world,” Ghassan says. 

Ghassan and Riyaz are continuously improving their technological solutions. They are working on improving KOI’s client interface and driver’s application now, to realize a seamless experience for drivers and customers. At the same time, the company has planned strategic entries into five new cities by 2021 and already, they are setting up the service in three new cities in Europe now. “Our vision is to become the number one global end-to-end ground transport provider and it is that vision that makes us work harder each day,” Ghassan says. Guided by passionate, versatile, and proficient leaders, KOI wants to continuously grow and realize the highest standards of professional ground transport services.