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30 Seconds On The Business Of… App Development In The GCC

30 Seconds On The Business Of… App Development In The GCC

Gulf Business speaks to Dinesh Lalvani, founder and CEO at Growl Media.

Does the GCC have a strong local app development industry?

The region’s app development industry is still at a nascent stage. While there is great talent in the region, the infrastructure to support collaboration between developers is still lacking.

What are the main areas for growth within the industry?

The health, education and retail sectors. There’s still a long way to go and a lot more investment to be made in the adoption of mobile technology in these sectors to match the infrastructure capabilities that already exist.

What are the key challenges that regional app developers face?

In addition to a lack of infrastructure to support collaboration, another key challenge is access to capital. The cost of starting up in the UAE has increased significantly. There are a lot of startups that need growth capital to move to the next level. Without that growth capital in place, the app industry is forced to think of short-term gains to survive, which leads to a lack of innovative solutions and products.

Investment in the sector is far behind what it should be. We need to promote and encourage innovation in the region. There are some really great ideas springing up, but we lack an investment community that can back it up.

How was your experience setting up Growl Media?

A startup by its very definition is not easy to set up. It poses several challenges, from raising funding to incorporation, finding talent and then training them, and, most importantly, building the core product and experience. It’s an arduous and sometimes difficult process, but, if you love what you do, it can be extremely rewarding. Having founded and successfully grown Flip Media, the region’s largest digital interactive agency, it was familiar territory, but challenging nonetheless.

Lastly, what’s the future of the local app development sector?

The future is in bridging the physical and virtual. The internet of things is a very exciting area that could offer great opportunities, the bounds of which still need to be explored.

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