Mahmoud Al Charif, Founder, IOT Plus & TaskBase
Visionary entrepreneurs, armed with over a decade of experience, actively rewrite the narrative in the industries as they redefine the business landscape. They provide innovative solutions that empower clients to reclaim their most valuable asset: time. Through affordable and accessible remote monitoring solutions, businesses now enjoy heightened efficiency, financial prudence, and a deep sense of assurance. These entrepreneurs, champions of progress, are reshaping how we optimise both business and life.
Mahmoud Al Charif, founder of IOT Plus and TaskBase, skillfully turned challenges into opportunities, leveraging them as stepping stones toward a future enriched by technology. In the intricate tapestry of his childhood, woven with threads of adversity, he emerged as an entrepreneurial force. Deprived of easy computer access, his resilience was forged in challenging circumstances. Mahmoud’s tech passion sparked in an Internet café, giving him the opportunity to not just earn money but also quench his insatiable thirst for knowledge. In this modest sanctuary, Charif discovered more than a passion; he found a vocation. At 12, he transitioned from a user to a creator, assembling a PC for a neighbour. This marked a technical triumph—the realisation that technology can also be a source of income. From grassroots initiatives, he started with computer assembling and ventured into software development, sowing the seeds of his entrepreneurial spirit.
Amidst the complexities of life as a Palestinian refugee, Charif found his way through the power of education, guided by his father’s wisdom. With a computer engineering degree from Beirut Arab University in 2006, his journey serves as proof of education’s transformative ability, turning challenges into stepping stones toward a future enriched by technology.
Breakthrough with IOT Plus
The inception of IOT Plus traces back to the inception of its predecessor, IT Plus, a brainchild of Mahmoud Al Charif. Established in 2013 to introduce the growing need for professional IT services, IT Plus introduced an innovative approach: offering clients on-demand IT support through contracts to minimise employment expenses.
In 2016, a pivotal incident at Charif’s wife’s workplace spurred the evolution from IT Plus to IOT Plus. A financial loss incurred due to a freezer malfunction sparked Charif’s ingenious idea of real-time temperature monitoring. Determined to bring this concept to life, he spent a sleepless night crafting a blueprint for an online remote temperature monitoring system. This initial idea blossomed into IOT Plus, a comprehensive Internet of Things (IOT) solution, featuring over 40 sensor types with cutting-edge customization. Today, IOT Plus’s remote monitoring solutions are deployed across various sectors in the UAE, a testament to Charif’s commitment to turning inspiration into technological innovation.
Navigating Two Decades of IoT Evolution
Over the past two decades, Mahmoud Al Charif has emerged as a prominent authority in the Middle East’s Internet of Things (IoT) landscape. The decision to specialise in this dynamic field was fuelled by a commitment to staying at the forefront of technological evolution. The relentless pace of digital transformation, witnessed from the era of floppy disks to the current era of streaming services, underscores the imperative for adaptability.
In steering the course for IOT Plus, fundamental questions about adaptability and growth have been central. The IoT realm, encompassing sensing, connectivity, networking, platforms, and analytics, is in perpetual evolution. IoT Plus stands as a beacon of progress, comprehending the nuanced developments within each component. Leveraging the extensive post-sales support, technical acumen, and project management proficiency cultivated during years at IT Plus, Mahmoud Al Charif’s team excels in tailoring bespoke IoT solutions. This distinct expertise positions IOT Plus as a trailblazer in the IoT industry, committed to navigating and shaping the trajectory of technological advancement.
From Capital Challenges to Community Triumphs
Entrepreneurship is a journey fraught with challenges, a reality vividly experienced by Mahmoud Al Charif. A pivotal challenge in his entrepreneurial saga was the imperative for funding to propel IoT Plus to its current stature. Initially relying on personal savings and early customer revenue to bootstrap the business, the burgeoning demand for IoT solutions necessitated additional capital for accelerated growth. Charif embarked on a multifaceted approach to secure funding. Diligently expanding his network, attending industry events, and courting angel investors, he concurrently refined the business pitch to eloquently convey the value and potential of IoT Plus. The turning point materialised when an engineering group based in Abu Dhabi invested in IoT Plus, injecting crucial capital that fueled operational scaling, product enhancement, and market expansion.
Reflecting on this experience, Charif underscores the pivotal role of perseverance and adaptability in overcoming entrepreneurial challenges. He asserts, “While obstacles are inevitable, with determination and a well-crafted strategy, they can be overcome.” Parallel to his role as the founder and CTO of IoT Plus, Charif ventured into a meaningful journey during the pandemic by launching ‘CommUnity.’ This community-driven app garnered an inspiring response, leading to the subsequent creation of ‘TaskBase,’ a platform connecting freelancers directly with users, devoid of fees or intermediaries.
These initiatives highlight Charif’s commitment to technological innovation and his dedication to supporting communities and fostering connections, portraying him as both an entrepreneur and a compassionate individual. In praising the entrepreneurial environment in the UAE, Charif accentuates the visionary leadership, progressive landscape, and the government’s commitment to nurturing a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. The UAE’s dedication to safety and security creates an environment where ambitions can be pursued with confidence, allowing entrepreneurs to enjoy an outstanding quality of life.
Cultivating Excellence and Continuous Learning
Mahmoud Al Charif, as a leader, champions a proactive approach to nurturing and advancing the professional growth of team members at IoT Plus. Fundamental to his leadership philosophy are two key principles: leading by example and cultivating a results-driven culture. Charif believes that effective leadership is more than issuing directives; it involves setting high standards through personal actions. At IoT Plus, individualised development plans, strategic investments in training and mentorship, and opportunities for cross-functional collaboration are pivotal in empowering each team member to realise their full potential. Celebrating successes, providing constructive feedback, and leveraging failures as learning opportunities contribute to a culture of continuous improvement.
By fostering an environment characterised by inclusivity, innovation, and recognition, Charif ensures that every team member thrives. In the face of rapid digital evolution, Charif underscores that a culture of continuous learning is not just a preference but a necessity. This commitment positions IoT Plus to navigate today’s challenges while foreseeing and influencing tomorrow’s technology landscape, solidifying its leadership in the dynamic and transformative field of the Internet of Things.
Family, Innovation, and Legacy
Mahmoud Al Charif draws inspiration as an entrepreneur from a profound commitment to family. Recognizing that true support involves more than just financial contributions, he values breaking away from the conventional 9-to-5 routine to dedicate quality time to his loved ones. Simultaneously, his pursuit of financial freedom is a testament to ensuring a secure future for his family. Beyond familial motivations, Charif’s entrepreneurial journey is fueled by a desire to make a meaningful impact on the world. He believes that entrepreneurship transcends profits, emphasising the importance of providing innovative solutions that elevate problem-solving approaches. Through IoT Plus, his mission is to contribute to a smarter, more interconnected world, offering technical solutions that address real-world challenges and have a transformative impact on industries and lives.
Reflecting on his entrepreneurial spirit, Charif shares, “Entrepreneurship goes beyond profits; it’s about providing innovative solutions that elevate the way people approach problems, with the potential to transform industries, improve lives, and create a lasting legacy.” Enriching his passion for entrepreneurship, insightful reads like Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ and Peter Thiel’s ‘Zero to One’ play pivotal roles in shaping his business character.
IoT Plus and the Future of Connectivity in the Middle East
Envisioning the future of IoT technology in the Middle East, Mahmoud Al Charif sees IoT Plus as a pivotal force in shaping this transformative landscape. Over the past three years, the region has witnessed a surge in awareness and adoption of IoT, with the technology reshaping industries and daily life. The exponential growth of IoT deployments in the Middle East reflects widespread recognition of their potential to enhance efficiency and streamline operations.
As the second-largest market globally in the Middle East and Africa, IoT’s influence is particularly pronounced, driven by smart city initiatives, especially in the GCC countries. IoT Plus, under the leadership of Charif, responds to this surge in demand by developing advanced IoT solutions incorporating AI and machine learning. These innovations are poised to be instrumental in shaping the region’s future, promising heightened connectivity, improved services, and a more technologically advanced way of life. Charif’s vision positions IoT Plus at the forefront of pioneering a connected and innovative future for the residents of the Middle East.