Outerpond, the new platform designed to bring world opportunities to Lebanese businesses
Posted on 2022 Apr,19  | By Ghada Azzi

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Here is a new initiative labeled Outerpond, recently launched by Nagi Moubarak to support Lebanese entrepreneurs and small businesses, in finding financial support and other great opportunities, as they navigate challenging times.

AraAbAd caught up with Nagi Moubarak* to learn about the Outerpond platform and what’s in it for Lebanese entrepreneurs.



How would you describe Outerpond in short? And what’s in the name?

Outerpond is a B2B Opportunities and Outsourcing platform. The name is a simple contraction: Outer for external and Pond for environment. The name represents well the mission of the platform, which is to provide companies with market access, outsourcing, and business opportunities outside their home market.


What triggered you to launch Outerpond and what do you hope to achieve?

Following the Beirut port explosion, I was in the country and witnessed how the civil society, various NGOs, volunteers, the diaspora and even foreigners banded together to help. While the politicians lamented, these various groups worked hard in alleviating the pain, clearing the rubble and initiating the rebuilding process.

As an entrepreneur, I felt the urge to do something. I didn’t want to replicate successful efforts, and I started thinking which sector was in dire need of help but was overlooked. It became evident that it was the private sector, as it was most affected by the economic crisis, COVID, and the aftermath of the port explosion.

Outerpond was created to partly answer the economic difficulties faced by the private sector. So instead of companies having to travel to different countries to get new business, they are now able to create a profile and look for business opportunities and projects featured by foreign firms on the platform.


How would you assess the startup scene in Lebanon? Is it able to trigger worldwide interest and attract funding?

The startup scene is quite vibrant and dynamic, despite all the challenges. It really reflects the entrepreneurial spirit that the Lebanese have. It is hard enough to launch a startup anywhere in the world and Lebanon is no picnic, with a dysfunctional state and a crumbling economy. That said you still have entities like Berytech, which are doing a first-class job in supporting startups.

Outerpond is increasingly promoting our registered startups. One example was the netting of a Canadian firm looking to invest in the manufacturing and food processing segment. They have been in touch with a few companies, including startups for potential investment, which proves that there is an appetite to fund interesting local ventures.

So there is an interest, especially for startups that have concepts and IPs that could grow internationally.


You have launched Outerpond less than a year ago— how has it been fairing so far? Are fundings coming in? And what is still missing?

From the date of our online launch on July 16 2021 until today, the growth and interest has been robust. We have attracted dozens of Service Providers from Lebanon from tiny startups to firms that have in excess of 100 employees, firms that started operating in the 1900s and others in 2021. Most importantly we have been able to attract projects which combined value has exceeded a million USD.

The platform has been self-funded and no external funds have been requested, but we might be contemplating it in the next few months to ensure that our strategy to scale-up will be implemented as planned.

The missing part is a bit more active support from different constituencies including the media to spread the word and attract even more projects to Lebanon. The strange thing is that we have been able to be featured on a peak-time economic show with a 16-minute segment on Radio Canada, and we got excellent feedback in Quebec. It seems that we are less successful in being covered by Lebanese media, which is a bit puzzling, since the platform is a positive initiative in an overall gloomy environment.

That said we have partnerships with chambers of commerce, business associations and NGOs locally and internationally, and are encouraged by the support they have been providing us.

We also have early supporters who are helping us in spreading the word internationally.


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far or any specific difficulty you still need to overcome?

The biggest challenge has been to market Lebanon as a reliable Outsourcing option worthy of being considered by foreign based firms. Looking at the Lebanese Service Provider firms on Outerpond, the talent and capabilities are obvious, which means that Lebanese firms should have a chance to get businesses on a global scale and the platform is meant to provide them with exactly that. Even among Lebanese expats who run their own businesses, it has been a bit tricky to convince some of them to register as Service Seekers and feature their needs. To be fair, since Outerpond is a B2B platform, Service Seekers would naturally need to take into consideration several parameters, including, costs, risks and reliability before they make a decision in hiring a firm.

We feel that our message is increasingly reaching the right targets and we are encouraged to have increased signups and valuable projects being featured.


What are the benefits of Outerpond and what about its edge over other initiatives with similar objectives?

In terms of benefits to a Service Provider (Lebanese based firms), they can be quite important. Imagine registering for free and having access to projects, market access, potential partnerships and funding. Any smart business person would opt-in and register their firm under normal circumstances. Imagine the potential benefits under the present excruciating economic crisis.

The benefits to foreign Service Seekers are also quite important, in terms of having access to a database of dozens of talented companies and startups that can cater their needs, from outsourcing to partnerships and even investment opportunities.

Outerpond was built as a B2B platform with secured account access, internal messaging systems, tracking and bookmarking capabilities. Account holders can keep track of their searches, messages sent and posts placed.

Aside from the simple yet powerful interface, the edge that we have is the partnership agreement with the development company, Entelligence.

Another advantage stems from partnerships with leading organizations locally and internationally including Berytech, the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), the Rassemblement de Dirigeants et Chefs d’entreprises Libanais (RDCL), the Family Business Network Levant (FBN Levant), Chambre de Commerce de d’Industrie Canada Liban (CCICL), Lebanese Business Council in Kuwait (LBCK), American Lebanese Commerce Alliance (ALCA), Global Chamber, ALAM Suisse, Blue Tree advisors to name few, and other agreements are in the making.

We also have a partnership with Jobs For Lebanon, based on our drive to collaborate with complementary proven platforms to help the Lebanese economy.


“The biggest challenge has been to market Lebanon as a reliable Outsourcing option worthy of being considered by foreign based firms.”


We noticed that the platform is free for participants. So, one question begs itself: what’s in it for you?

If you go back to the reason why Outerpond came about, you can easily understand that it was a way to help the private sector emanating from my own need to help following the port explosion.

Little by little and with the growing acceptance of the platform, as well as increased demands for additional services, we are going to follow freemium model. Meaning the platform will always be free but we will be introducing certain services that will be paid so we can ensure sustainability.


What can you tell us on Lebanon Outsourcing Option campaign that you are about to launch?

The “Lebanon Outsourcing Option” campaign is a pro bono project that Outerpond is initiating with key partners to promote Lebanon as an outsourcing option.

There are a few compelling reasons for that to happen soon.

  • With the inception of Outerpond, the key stumbling block for foreign-based businesses to find quality local services providers has been solved.
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine, with all its horrors, has effectively taken two major outsourcing hubs out of the equation.

We will be counting on the cooperation of the local media, and can already thank Arab Ad for its support for our upcoming effort.

Our campaign aims to send a positive message to the world that Lebanese firms are eager and ready to cater for their needs.


Where do you hope to see Outerpond in five years from now?

While Outerpond will always be market specific in its approach, we have plans to expand regionally and internationally, and we hope that 5 years down the road we would have created a new niche in B2B outsourcing.


Nagi Moubarak is a 57 year-young Lebanese entrepreneur, holder of a BA and an MBA from the US. He returned to Lebanon in 1988 and worked at H&C Leo Burnett for six years. Then he co-founded Sharp Pencil with Nabil Maalouf, and sold a majority share to Euro RSCG in 1997. By 2002, he was out of the ad business, and started FIDELIS a consulting firm specialized in Data Mining and CRM. In 2008, he moved to Canada and got bit by the tech bug. He developed several sales enabling apps that were featured on the App Store. By 2019, Nagi started splitting his time between Montreal and Beirut. And in July 2001, he launched Outerpond.