As Managing Partner at Modus Capital, Kareem Elsirafy continues to make his mark as an insightful and innovative business leader and entrepreneur. Modus Capital provides a variety of services to companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 500 brands. The company both invests in and services early to mid-stage companies while providing value acceleration through strategic, technical, creative and market execution services.
Before assuming his leadership post at Modus Capital, Elsirafy enjoyed a great deal of entrepreneurial success through the use of his impressive and diverse skillset. A veteran of the military, Kareem developed an SAAS platform designed to aid the difficult transition many veterans face when returning to civilian life. Founded and built by Kareem, Uniteus.com proved to be a successful venture and allowed Kareem to take a comprehensive approach to leadership while overseeing teams charged with marketing, sales, operations and technology. In addition to founding Uniteus.com, Kareem was also the founder of M1 Marketing, a firm that offered consulting services regarding creative business marketing strategies.
How did you get started? What inspired you to start this business?
Modus was created out of a desire to allow us to do what we love, which is challenging ourselves to help companies grow and overcome obstacles.
We worked together for years as consultants and entrepreneurs and were successful at creating valuable companies. During this time, we began developing a framework to help new and existing companies become successful. We got to a point where we wanted to take that framework of success and work with many companies as well as to invest in companies that we determined to have high growth potential. We continued developing that framework until we engineered and fine-tuned a new de-risked and scalable investment ecosystem, which became the Modus Model.
How do you make money?
Modus is a one-stop shop for both early-stage companies and firmly established brands who are looking for creative, strategic, and technical development services along with market execution.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
We were profitable almost immediately because we had a very high demand for our services from each partner’s previous consulting work. We had many deals lined up from inception. We aimed for twelve months but were able to reach profitability within eight.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Modus operates with a new and interesting model, so there were times when we wondered if it would work. But, as we continued building the company and testing out the model, the feedback was unanimously positive, and getting that validation really helped encourage us.
How did you get your first customer?
There was such a demand for our services from our partners’ previous ventures that we had our first customers right away.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Our most effective marketing strategy is providing valuable content to entrepreneurs and letting them know how we think and approach solving problems for ourselves and our clients. Providing that value without asking for anything is the most impactful marketing that we can do.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision that we had to make in the past few months was determining the growth approach for our company. Should we focus more on operational buildup and continuing to service our portfolio companies? Or, should we focus most of our efforts and resources on the fund and fundraising? Both initiatives were extremely successful, so it was very hard to choose between the two.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
We listen and listen properly. We have honed a skill to be able to dissect what a client is telling us and determine if that is the true problem or if there is a deeper, unseen problem. Really listening and understanding the client allows us to perform better overall, as well as to have a good working relationship with the client.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
It’s definitely satisfying to help create products and services with a social impact. Having a hand in any social impact technology is the most gratifying feeling in business because we can see and share the benefits with others.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
We are really excited about the growth that is coming for our company. And, we’re really looking forward to continuing to prove out the Modus Model and introduce it to investors and entrepreneurs seeking out a different type of venture capital firm to support them. The eagerness that we are encountering from businesses that are looking to partner with us is very encouraging and exciting.
What is your philosophy regarding the importance of academics?
Academics are extremely important; they are cornerstone on which you build your professional experience and help facilitate your professional development and engagement. Your educational background allows you to overcome the challenges that the business world presents to you.
At the same time, you have to continue engaging in academics, and building on that foundation, even if it is self-taught. I enjoy learning and I think everyone would benefit from continually expanding their educational horizon.