Shifting the Core to Scale: Nour Shawky, CEO of Softec Technologies

In pursuit of his love for technology, Endeavor Entrepreneur Nour Shawky had initially planned his career as an academic. It wasn’t until he worked with Ali Baghdadi, a pioneer in the IT sector, following his studies that Nour ventured into entrepreneurship and channeled his passion towards co-founding Softec Technologies.

The Launch of Softec Technologies

After studying computer science at the University of Passau in Germany with top grade of his class and acquiring a postgraduate degree in Software Systems Engineering from University College London (UCL) with Distinction in 2006, Nour began working as a freelancer for Ali’s business to manage software development projects. 

“We didn’t start the usual, traditional way of how startups do business by putting together a business plan and having a long-term strategy. It was actually the other way around,” shared Nour. “We started working together, discovered opportunities and without any specific long-term strategy, we decided to start a company together.”

The duo realized this growth potential of evolving their work into a separate software development company as more and more project requests began flooding in. Nour took a leap of faith with Ali and co-founded Softec Technologies in 2008 exclusively to build innovative software solutions to help businesses and organizations transform their operations.

Pivoting to New Markets

Softec Technologies began by offering customizable services for diverse businesses across the world before making its first pivot towards a more product-oriented approach: producing cloud-based enterprise software for data-driven hardware utilized in public safety, transportation and agriculture sectors to build smarter cities.

From vehicle tracking and maintenance management to fleet scheduling and building command and control centers, Softec Technologies’ solutions helped improve response time to emergencies of ambulances, police, and civil defense, as well as advance public safety in various regional markets.

Following successful projects in fleet management that enabled the company to acquire substantial market share in that space across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Nour is now shifting the focus of the business to the next big opportunity in the global logistics sector.

“We’re continuously investing in new ideas,” reflected Nour. “That is why we are shifting a lot of focus into building AI capabilities for the logistics sector - to create a scalable product that will take the company to a global and international level.”

Introducing Norma

Norma, Softec Technologies’ AI engine for logistics companies, powers this pivot to the logistics sector.

Finding a planning gap in the region, the team is utilizing AI to build a full logistics planning solution that helps companies optimize their day-to-day logistics plans; offering an easy-to-use, cost-efficient solution that can be easily plugged into a company’s existing infrastructure.

“It uses a prediction and an optimization technique to help companies automatically calculate their daily delivery plans in a way that reduces costs, makes delivery more efficient, reduces the amount of mileage driven per day and minimizes the amount of misdeliveries and delays,” explained Nour.

While Softec Technologies launched Norma months ago, it is continuously working on advancing and developing the product further. “I don’t think Norma will ever have a finish line. We have a big roadmap and big ambitions behind it so it’s not the end of the game,” he continued. Today, Softec Technologies is working on same-day deliveries and on creating an auto-pilot solution that will automatically reroute all the vehicles throughout the day.

The Talent Behind Tech

As part of Softec Technologies’ shift, the team started focusing on creating a culture and attracting talent that are in alignment with the company’s values and promise to enable its aim of scaling up. 

“There is no point in hiring highly-skilled people that have a low culture fit because they adversely impact productivity,” said Nour. “We try to keep the DNA of the company compact.” Softec Technologies’ key goals are clearly portrayed across the office to emphasize the vision and direction of the company. Highlighting the overall objectives of the company also motivates Softec Technologies’ team by serving as a reminder that the impact of their work is substantial and tangible.

“To retain our culture of self-motivation, flexibility and adaptability, we’ve adopted a crossover function, which means that everyone on the team is expected to not only focus on their work, but also be involved in the work of their peers,” added Nour.

Essentially, the crossover function eliminates people taking ownership of only a particular aspect of Softec Technologies’ work and fosters an engaging work environment. “We’re trying to make sure that the goal is unified across everybody.”

In addition to company culture, Nour split Softec Technologies’ team into two departments - the scientific and development departments. The scientists work on research, developing and testing algorithms, while the development team works on executing and developing the software.

“The scientific team requires people that have a passion for science and the development team requires software development skills and software engineers,” explained Nour. By dividing the team on the basis of focus, the management team instills innovation in the company structure while also ensuring the development of the right product, delivering on the company’s promise.

Reflections on Entrepreneurship

As an entrepreneur, Nour also faced challenges as an individual. By connecting him with relevant industry experts and mentors and through facilitating networking opportunities, Endeavor helped Nour self-reflect and relate to the experiences of other entrepreneurs, contributing to his personal development as well as entrepreneurial journey.

“After joining Endeavor, I became a little more self-confident because it makes you realize that the kind of troubles and dark days you experience as an entrepreneur are shared with other entrepreneurs. Knowing that you are not alone gives you the confidence to approach problems and crises more calmly,” reflected Nour.

With Nour’s self-reflection came a reevaluation of his key goals and priorities as an entrepreneur, which cemented Softec Technologies’ transition to the logistics sector.

“Joining Endeavor was like looking at the mirror and reflecting on who we really are and what we’re doing. Ultimately, a lot of the changes we’ve made over the past couple of years are related to the visibility we got through Endeavor,” added Nour.

While Softec Technologies started shifting and making changes to its model years ago, its scale-up journey is ongoing. Nour is continuing to invest in new ideas and new directions as Softec Technologies simultaneously inches closer to its primary goals and aspirations.

“We want to be the number one AI for Logistics company worldwide. We want to become a unicorn and we want to be one of the top five players in the US market and the number one in the Middle East market. We want to completely dominate that field,” reflected Nour.

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