Squadio partners to accelerate cloud talent

RIYADH: Technology is the core of any business these days, and managing technology teams can be a terrible headache for executives who want to focus on building market share and generating revenue.

Squadio, a Riyadh-based startup founded in July 2018, solved this problem with its cloud offering called Team as a Service, or TaaS offering. This means that managers can attract artistic talent wherever they are.

“It is much better for any founder or entrepreneur to have an employable team to get rid of the hassle of hiring, salary and retention,” Khaled Al-Sanawi, CEO of Squadio, told Arab News.

Plug-in means you can scale up or down your team at any time, depending on your plans and business needs, ”he added.

“We allow our clients to choose from a large pool of talent spread across eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We have more than 800 selected engineers, designers, laboratories, quality controllers, product managers and data scientists.

They speak different languages ​​and are middle managers, CEOs, leaders or even CTOs, who can help founders and entrepreneurs create their products no matter what industry they are in.

The goal is to increase that number to 10,000 by the end of 2022.

Reverse brain drain

Al-Sanawi, a Yemeni citizen who has lived in Saudi Arabia for most of his life, understands the challenge of managing technology since he was a serial technology entrepreneur.

While still a communications engineering student at Alexandria University in Egypt, El-Sanawy co-founded Ethics Technology Services, which pioneered the development of mobile applications in the Kingdom. He then created iBaloot, an online card game platform with over four million users, followed by Ole.zone, a social media app for football fans.

Senawi designed Squadio when he noted as CEO of Ethics that “many beginners struggle to improve their product features, manage backlogs and introduce sub-products. They needed a long-term partnership to focus more on growing their business and taking the burden of hiring and managing technology to another entity. »

strength point

• Squadio, a Riyadh-based start-up founded in July 2018, solved this problem with its cloud offering called Team as a Service, or TaaS. This means that managers can attract artistic talent wherever they are.

“It is much better for any founder or entrepreneur to have a busy team to take the hassle of hiring, salary and retention,” says the CEO. “Plug-in means you can grow or downsize your team at any time, depending on your plans and business needs.”

Three years after the founding of Squadio, this concept has borne fruit with more than 145 customers, who have mainly benefited from the company’s services in the Kingdom, UAE and Kuwait.

Squadio now has 45 full-time employees across the Middle East and North Africa who manage operations, marketing and talent recruitment.

El Sanawy notes that “TaaS differs from traditional recruitment services.”

“We prefer to call it the talent cloud,” he said. “It’s really about creating dynamic and flexible teams online to help companies build their digital products.”

He added: “These are all project-based contracts. And when the contract expires, we either transfer the talent to another team or give it back to our talent pool.

Outsourcing talent

But outsourcing talent online is nothing new. In addition, many works can be performed remotely and are often cheaper in India and the Philippines. So what gives Squadio an edge over direct competition?

“Three factors separate us,” Sanawy said. “The first is our portal, which makes the team-building experience as easy and smart as possible for talent and clients.

Second, the continuous improvement of our screening process, subjecting potential talent to numerous technical and psychometric assessments.

“The third thing is our flexibility and competitive pricing.”

Squadio’s business model attracted $ 800,000 worth of seed financing from Seedra Ventures, announced in January 2022 from Riyadh-based.

“We’re seeing a greater demand for remote engineering teams, and we believe that Squadio is well positioned to provide start-ups with access to the best working software engineers,” said Haitham Al-Fraih, co-founder and CEO of Seedra, in a press release said. . To build amazing platforms. ”

Squadio will soon be raising a second round of funding.

Al-Sanawi intends to distribute these funds to expand its client base within and outside the GCC. He wants to enter the US and European markets with the understanding that talent-seeking companies can be found everywhere, just like technology talent.

Senawi is ashamed at this early stage about Squadio’s earnings so far.

“We were six figures in US dollars, and now we will be seven figures,” he said. “We currently see four times income growth year-on-year. Based on our expectations and market research, we aim to be the unicorn of TaaS within four years.

Al-Sanawi attributes this opportunity for expansion in part to the ongoing economic and social reforms that the kingdom has undergone in recent years.

“I see Saudi Arabia as the next Silicon Valley,” he said. The government fueled the founders’ ambition to build the next unicorn through acceleration programs, a venture capital movement and the breadth of talent here.

“And by talent I mean entrepreneurs, product specialists and marketers who have traveled overseas and come back and reflect on what they have learned to benefit from their country’s ecosystem.”

The team itself is the result of this almost limitless ambition.

“What we have built today is related to our vision, which is to be the first choice for any company to build a technical team,” Al-Sanawi said.

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