From Intern in a Startup to CEO of a Tech Giant

Intern Startup, Monty Mobile, Hassan Manssour, CEO,

How Hassan Mansour’s Vision Helped Reshape the Future of Monty Mobile!

Getting a slice of time to chat to Hassan Mansour was no easy feat. Monty Mobile is entering probably its busiest, most productive time since it was founded in 1998. And as a front-leading CEO, Hassan is probably the busiest of all. Nowadays, he and Monty Mobile have become synonymous; it’s impossible to talk about the one without referring to the other.

When we spoke, I told him I needed just a little background as some sort of launchpad for the reader to contextualise the success and forward vision of the company. This was necessary because his passion for the future is such that all he really wanted to talk about, was how Monty Mobile will transform mobile operators to be all they could be.

“So I was born in Africa, in Monrovia, Liberia”, Hassan began. “My family were part of the diasporic 17,000-strong Lebanese community which headed to Liberia in the seventies. Honestly, the pastures were greener there and the bread winners of families could send more money home than they could earn in Lebanon at the time.”

The family eventually returned to their homeland and Hassan graduated as a computer engineer in 2006. He had a friend who worked at the 8 year old Monty Mobile and asked him to help get him a job. Once there, Hassan found himself with no desk, but plenty of opportunity with an internship as a developer in that company.

“You learn and understand the technical side of your task or you don’t do the job at all.”

Mr. Hassan Mansour

“I used to work till ten or eleven every night. Not because I was trying to impress, there was just so much to learn. During this time, I adopted a working mantra for myself that I still apply today. And that is ‘either you learn and understand the technical side of your task or you don’t do the job at all’. This internship was probably a far better learning experience than sitting in a lecture hall.  Work harder, listen harder. I loved it.”

His work ethic wasn’t lost on the company, either. When the founder of Monty Mobile, Mountasser Hachem, asked “Who’s this guying working so late?”, Hassan’s Internship became a formal job, but now he had the attention of Lebanon’s most innovative entrepreneur.

“The other thing that was like fuel to me was when my friend, the one who helped me get the internship, left the company. Monty Mobile was still small in those days so I had to multitask. That doesn’t just explain the late hours, it gave me a more rounded knowledge of the business,  the market and perhaps most important, where technology was headed in the telecoms sector. So I was doing multiple tasks; coding, developing, supporting every side of the business.

“In 2007, less than a year after I had joined, Monty Mobile shut down all of its entertainment media, because of market saturation. But I had learnt a lot from that side of our operations. It helped me from a technical point of view. But when we refocused our attention on solutions/products only targeting mobile operators, this is where we knew we could carve out our own niche in the telecoms world. Since day one, Monty Mobile didn’t want to be tied to vendors and solution providers. This is why all our internal core network , platforms and  applications are developed in-house . Now all we had to do was get the attention of the operators.”

But that attention was hard to come by, it seems. The company wasn’t given the consideration and attention it deserved as they were competing with well established multi-national organizations. Certainly, Monty Mobile had the talent, the know-how, and the experience.

“In 2011, we were witnessing acceleration in technology that threatened legacy operators. It was a revolution that introduced, amongst other innovations, WhatsApp. Monty Mobile found numerous solutions to help these operators with new revenue streams and opportunities. We signed up 60 operators during this period, proof that Monty Mobile was ahead of the tech curve.”

Hassan was keen to leapfrog ahead and talk about the future, but he did concede that the spirit of innovation and intuition which marked those days in 2011 is the character that will drive the company forward in the future.

“The R&D team here is phenomenal”, enthuses Hassan. “We’re in pole position not just to maintain our existing successes with our customers, but to expand into new areas with new technologies. Our core business is to help operators use their data more efficiently. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Access to data is vital not just for improving service and optimising a network, but for enhancing customer experience. And now with the increasing sophistication of AI, operators have tools which will take their operations to a whole new level of efficiency and competitiveness.

“Monty Mobile converts  mobile network operators into digital banks.”

Mr. Hassan Mansour

“We introduce these operators to innovative products, unlocking endless opportunities and fresh revenue streams. Our latest offering, Mobile Digital Banking Services (MDBS), is an example of this momentum. With MDBS, we’re not only facilitating financial transactions, we’re promoting financial inclusion for the unbanked and underserved. By leveraging the power of our innovative products, we’re  empowering operators to evolve beyond their traditional, legacy roles.”

Hassan’s passion showed as he continued talking about the company’s current strengths.

“Monty Mobile’s footprint extends to The Gambia in West Africa, where we succeeded in applying our transformative vision and digital-first strategy. We upgraded Comium’s network to 4G+ in a record-breaking 6 months, enabling the adoption of a robust digital portfolio.

“It hasn’t stopped there. Our commitment extends to promoting technical innovations and financial inclusions, accelerating and digitizing customer acquisitions and implementing our fintech solutions that simplify daily transactions and answer today’s customers’ needs.

What sets Monty Mobile apart is not only our innovative spirit, but our commitment to being partners in progress. Our solutions minimize upgrade downtime for operators. We’re more than technology providers; we’re enablers of transformation.”

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