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What it takes to achieve entrepreneurial success

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Javed Khattak

Javed Khattak is a successful serial entrepreneur, an established C-suite executive and an award-winning CFO. However, the young entrepreneur’s path to success hasn’t always been easy. Javed reveals exclusively to Global Banking and Finance Review how he is leading the property market with flexible investments and profitable outcomes.

Property markets are slow to evolve, opaque and inefficient. While some countries like the UK are better than others, there is still significant scope to innovate and improve. Zisk Properties was founded in 2016 by two brothers, Javed and Zafer, with the aim to help solve the challenges that exist in buying and investing in the property market.

Javed, who has a strong corporate background leading multi-billion dollar projects, identified several areas that needed consideration when investing in the property market. These challenges included making transactions more efficient, faster, increasing security, reducing the number of parties involved in a transaction, and most importantly, reducing costs.

In addition, there are a considerable number of challenges associated with purchasing an investment property including requiring large capital, access to good property deals through a strong network within the property market and successfully managing all stakeholders involved (such as sellers, estate agents, lawyers and surveyors). Property investment is currently a complicated and daunting process that is extremely time-consuming. A property transaction can easily take up to 6 months or even longer. Furthermore, managing a property effectively not only requires time but also relevant skills and experience.

Zisk Properties was founded precisely to tackle these challenges, with the aim to innovate while helping everyone (who qualifies) to invest in properties with ease and convenience. The use of latest technologies and data analytics combined with the crowdfunding business concept and an FCA registered fund structure are the key elements that Zisk Properties utilises to enable it to become a leader in the property market and pave a way for a better future.

Javed left his corporate career unsure of the rocky road that lay ahead. A mere 3 years later, Javed has created a new company, completed an extremely successful pilot which helped families in Pakistan to get on the property ladder and just recently launched in the UK, ready to revolutionise the property investment industry. Javed was invited to be part of on an internal panel by Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation with total assets of US$1 trillion, ING, to discuss and explore the future of PropTech.

Within a year of entering the startup space, Javed was named CFO of the Year by Wealth and Finance Magazine, securing his rightful place in the PropTech industry. Javed states:

“Reinventing myself as an entrepreneur in the tech industry has been a steep but great learning curve. My deep technical knowledge in the field has allowed me to create a business that not only gives the property investment sector a much needed overhaul, but also allows ordinary people, like you and me, to invest in property. Something that has previously been challenging, to say the least.”

Coming into the entrepreneurial world was initially extremely challenging and Javed found himself learning some very expensive lessons. One of the most important lessons was that one’s team is not only one of the most important contributors to a successful business but also one of the most difficult assets to develop. Everyone knows the former but under-appreciates the challenge of the latter, noting the impact of both are significantly more for startups and new companies.

When launching Zisk Properties, it was difficult to find and recruit the right people, having the required mindset, skills and experience. As a startup, limited resources and restricted budgets make this process that much harder. However, perseverance is key. It is important to be open to new taking chances, going with one’s gut and, having the patience to train employees who show the qualities and passion that resonate with you and your business. Equally, it is crucial to protect your business and therefore have the strength and responsiveness to let go of employees who don’t match your company’s culture or needs.

Launching a business is like getting on a roller coaster; there are a variety of highs and lows. Coming from a corporate background, it is important to understand that there are key differences between large organisations and startups, including the availability of and ability to attract quality resources, readily available access to expertise, brand awareness and credibility, technology and systems, governance structures and processes, big budgets and the list goes on. As an entrepreneur, you must learn to walk before you run – with most of the aforementioned items needed to be built from scratch.

Even if you have the financial support to “go big”, it’s not a good idea. Another costly lesson for Javed. Now, Javed’s approach is much more experiment based. Have a view, vision or opinion; create a hypothesis around it and define an experiment to test it with clear KPIs and metrics; undertake them in a very systematic manner understanding your constraints and going with high value potentials and/or low hanging fruit first (doing the usual cost-benefit analysis overlaid with a risk matrix). The final step – this data-driven approach is only as good as the time taken to analyse and interpret the results.

Your clients are absolutely crucial to your business – this can’t be emphasised enough. It is important to talk to your clients and potential clients as part of the experimentation. It is also worth bearing in mind that most likely, your clients won’t know their needs and wants accurately themselves, let alone being able to differentiate between them. So Javed prefers quantitative approaches more than qualitative – not undermining the value of qualitative ones of course. So, it is worthwhile building these processes into your experiments. Only once you have completed these initial steps and verified what your customers need or want, then should one start to scale up whilst still focusing on refining and iterating as is necessary using similar experimentation. Building goodwill with your initial clients and having them on your side goes a long way for a young company. Always aim to help them when the opportunity presents itself and ensure you are consistently providing and creating value for them. We all know “word of mouth is indeed very powerful!”

This is just the beginning of Javed’s success story. Today, he is also supporting various other ventures including creating his own software house to support Zisk Properties and even other technology oriented projects. Through all of his ventures, he wants to continue his father’s legacy of giving back to society, which is very important to him. With Javed’s areas of interest and expertise in combination with his vision and passion to truly make a difference, there is no doubt that much greater things lie ahead.

Javed Khattak

Javed Khattak

Javed Khattak is a qualified actuary (FIA), an LSE graduate, is currently on various boards and regularly advises companies on risk management, strategy, finance, technology (incl FinTech and PropTech), real estate, blockchain/DLT, AI and innovation. His clients range from startups to organisations with a market cap of over £60bn, and include respectable household global brands including HSBC, Thomson Reuters, GSK, M&S, Aviva, PwC and PA Consulting Group, to name a few. Javed is the co-founder of Zisk Properties, which uses the latest technologies and data analytics, combined with a crowdfunding business concept and an FCA registered fund structure to lead the property market.

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Exclusive: AstraZeneca to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half – EU official

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Exclusive: AstraZeneca to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half - EU official 1

By Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – AstraZeneca expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply the European Union in the second quarter, an EU official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, comes after a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by the summer.

The EU official, who is directly involved in talks with the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, said the company had told the bloc during internal meetings that it “would deliver less than 90 million doses in the second quarter”.

AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was leaked last week, showed the company had committed to delivering 180 million doses to the 27-nation bloc in the second quarter.

“Because we are working incredibly hard to increase the productivity of our EU supply chain, and doing everything possible to make use of our global supply chain, we are hopeful that we will be able to bring our deliveries closer in line with the advance purchase agreement,” a spokesman for AstraZeneca said, declining to comment on specific figures.

A spokesman for the European Commission, which coordinates talks with vaccine manufacturers, said it could not comment on the discussions as they were confidential.

He said the EU should have more than enough shots to hit its vaccination targets if the expected and agreed deliveries from other suppliers are met, regardless of the situation with AstraZeneca.

The EU official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed that AstraZeneca planned to deliver about 40 million doses in the first quarter, again less than half the 90 million shots it was supposed to supply.

AstraZeneca warned the EU in January that it would fall short of its first-quarter commitments due to production issues. It was also due to deliver 30 million doses in the last quarter of 2020 but did not supply any shots last year as its vaccine had yet to be approved by the EU.

All told, AstraZeneca’s total supply to the EU could be about 130 million doses by the end of June, well below the 300 million it committed to deliver to the bloc by then.

The EU has also faced delays in deliveries of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech as well as Moderna’s shot. So far they are the only vaccines approved for use by the EU’s drug regulator.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine was authorised in late January and some EU member states such as Hungary are also using COVID-19 shots developed in China and Russia.

OUTPUT BOOST DOWN THE LINE?

While drugmakers developed COVID-19 vaccines at breakneck speed, many have struggled with manufacturing delays due to complex production processes, limited facilities and bottlenecks in the supply of vaccine ingredients.

According to a German health ministry document dated Feb. 22, AstraZeneca is forecast to make up all of the shortfalls in deliveries by the end of September.

The document seen by Reuters shows Germany expects to receive 34 million doses in the third quarter, taking its total to 56 million shots, which is in line with its full share of the 300 million doses AstraZeneca is due to supply to the EU.

The German health ministry was not immediately available for a comment.

If AstraZeneca does ramp up its output in the third quarter, that could help the EU meet its vaccination target, though the EU official said the bloc’s negotiators were wary because the company had not clarified where the extra doses would come from.”Closing the gap in supplies in the third quarter might be unrealistic,” the official said, adding that figures on deliveries had been changed by the company many times.

The EU contracts stipulates that AstraZeneca will commit to its “best reasonable efforts” to deliver by a set timetable.

“We are continuously revising our delivery schedule and informing the European Commission on a weekly basis of our plans to bring more vaccines to Europe,” the AstraZeneca spokesman said.

Under the EU contract leaked last week, AstraZeneca committed to producing vaccines for the bloc at two plants in the United Kingdom, one in Belgium and one in the Netherlands.

However, the company is not currently exporting vaccines made in the United Kingdom, in line with its separate contract with the British government, EU officials said.

AstraZeneca also has vaccine plants in other sites around the world and it has told the EU it could provide more doses from its global supply chain, including from India and the United States, an EU official told Reuters last week.

Earlier this month, AstraZeneca said it expected to make more than 200 million doses per month globally by April, double February’s level, as it works to expand global capacity and productivity.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke and Sabine Siebold; Editing by David Clarke)

 

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Facebook ‘refriends’ Australia after changes to media laws

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Facebook 'refriends' Australia after changes to media laws 2

By Byron Kaye and Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Facebook will restore Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented week-long blackout after wringing concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content.

Both sides claimed victory in the clash, which has drawn global attention as countries including Canada and Britain consider similar steps to rein in the dominant tech platforms and preserve media diversity.

While some analysts said Facebook had defended its lucrative model of collecting ad money for clicks on news it shows, others said the compromise – which includes a deal on how to resolve disputes – could pay off for the media industry, or at least for publishers with reach and political clout.

“Facebook has scored a big win,” said independent British technology analyst Richard Windsor, adding the concessions it made “virtually guarantee that it will be business as usual from here on.”

Australia and the social media group had been locked in a standoff after the government introduced legislation that challenged Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google’s dominance in the news content market.

Facebook blocked Australian users on Feb. 17 from sharing and viewing news content on its popular social media platform, drawing criticism from publishers and the government.

But after talks between Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a concession deal was struck, with Australian news expected to return to the social media site in coming days.

“Facebook has refriended Australia, and Australian news will be restored to the Facebook platform,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.

Frydenberg said Australia had been a “proxy battle for the world” as other jurisdictions engage with tech companies over a range of issues around news and content.

Australia will offer four amendments, which include a change to the proposed mandatory arbitration mechanism used when the tech giants cannot reach a deal with publishers over fair payment for displaying news content.

‘UNTESTED’

Facebook said it was satisfied with the revisions, which will need to be implemented in legislation currently before the parliament.

“Going forward, the government has clarified we will retain the ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so that we won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation,” Facebook Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement online.

The company would continue to invest in news globally but also “resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook.”

Analysts said while the concessions marked some progress for tech platforms, the government and the media, there remained many uncertainties about how the law would work.

“Retaining unilateral control over which publishers they do cash deals with as well as control over if and how news appears on Facebook surely looks more attractive to Menlo Park than the alternative,” said Rasmus Nielsen, head of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, referring to Facebook headquarters.

Any deals that Facebook strikes are likely to benefit the bottom line of News Corp and a few other big Australian publishers, added Nielsen, but whether smaller outlets win such deals remains to be seen.

Tama Leaver, professor of internet studies at Australia’s Curtin University, said Facebook’s negotiating tactics had dented its reputation, although it was too early to say how the proposed law would work.

“It’s like a gun that sits in the Treasurer’s desk that hasn’t been used or tested,” said Leaver.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD

The amendments include an additional two-month mediation period before the government-appointed arbitrator intervenes, giving the parties more time to reach a private deal.

It also inserts a rule that an internet company’s existing media deals be taken into account before the rules take effect, a measure that Frydenberg said would encourage internet companies to strike deals with smaller outlets.

The so-called Media Bargaining Code has been designed by the government and competition regulator to address a power imbalance between the social media giants and publishers when negotiating payment for news content used on the tech firms’ sites.

Media companies have argued that they should be compensated for the links that drive audiences, and advertising dollars, to the internet companies’ platforms.

A spokesman for Australian publisher and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Ltd welcomed the government’s compromise, which it said moved “Facebook back into the negotiations with Australian media organisations.”

Major television broadcaster and newspaper publisher Seven West Media Ltd said it had signed a letter of intent to strike a content supply deal with Facebook within 60 days.

A representative of News Corp, which has a major presence in Australia’s news industry and last week announced a global licensing deal with Google, was not immediately available for comment.

Frydenberg said Google had welcomed the changes. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Google also previously threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia but later struck a series of deals with publishers.

The government will introduce the amendments to Australia’s parliament on Tuesday, Frydenberg said. The country’s two houses of parliament will need to approve the amended proposal before it becomes law.

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Byron Kaye; additional reporting by Renju Jose, Kate Holton and Douglas Busvine; Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter)

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart

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Oil rises on positive forecasts, slow U.S. output restart 3

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Tuesday, underpinned by the likely easing of COVID-19 lockdowns around the world, positive economic forecasts and lower output as U.S. supplies were slow to return after a deep freeze in Texas shut down crude production.

Brent crude was up 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $65.60 a barrel by 1212 GMT, and U.S. crude rose 39 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.09 a barrel.

Both contracts rose more than $1 earlier in the session.

“Vaccine news is helping oil, as the likely removal of mobility restrictions over the coming months on the back of vaccine rollouts should further boost the oil demand and price recovery,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said optimistic oil price forecasts issued by leading U.S. brokers had also contributed to the latest upswing in prices.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent prices to reach $70 per barrel in the second quarter from the $60 it predicted previously, and $75 in the third quarter from $65 forecast earlier.

Morgan Stanley expects Brent crude to climb to $70 in the third quarter.

“New COVID-19 cases are falling fast globally, mobility statistics are bottoming out and are starting to improve, and in non-OECD countries, refineries are already running as hard as before COVID-19,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Bank of America said Brent prices could temporarily spike to $70 per barrel in the second quarter.

Disruptions in Texas caused by last week’s winter storm also supported oil prices. Some U.S. shale producers forecast lower oil output in the first quarter.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude oil and refined products likely declined last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

A weaker dollar also provided some support to oil as crude prices tend to move inversely to the U.S. currency.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore; editing by David Evans and John Stonestreet)

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