Story Warriors #022:  How Ammar Akhtar Turned Around His Startup & Turned Around His Life

Story Warriors #022:
How Ammar Akhtar Turned Around His Startup & Turned Around His Life

“The moment I came to Dubai, I was like, ‘Man, this place is where I need to be.’

“This place has the pace that I have, the thinking that I have,” Ammar Akhtar, Founder and CEO of Finalrentals.com, said to himself.

“This place is just like me. It is new. It is coming up. It is crazy. And it wants to do a lot.”

Ammar had grown up in a poor town in Pakistan. His mom held the family together as his father moved to Saudi Arabia as a migrant worker in the early 2000s to make ends meet, barely.

The oldest of seven siblings, Ammar held two jobs and worked 18-hour days to help.

He finally started the first-ever mobile games company in Pakistan. “Within two years, we were chosen among ten Pakistani companies to exhibit a trade show in Dubai.”

He could feel it from the moment he landed in Dubai Airport. “I knew I would return here to live, to build my career.”

Ammar started getting some gigs as a consultant, and the money was good. For once, life was stable.

But the dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneur hadn’t move to Dubai for gigs. He knew he wanted to launch something big.

“When I finally decided to launch Finalrentals.com in December 2016, I didn’t know how different the startup world had become,” Ammar says.

“You’re jumping into something that is not stable at all, and it’s going to require a lot more than what you imagine.”

And by November 2017, he was out of cash.

“Out. Of. Cash. Within a year, I was down to my last 4,000 dollars.

“I was shocked, baffled. I just could not believe what had happened to me. I just could not believe it, in 11 months. ‘What have I done?’

“Honestly, I had no solution to that.”

So Ammar went to visit his father, now living outside of Milan, in a farmhouse in the northern Italian countryside. It was the breath of fresh air that he needed, literally.

“When I came back to Dubai a month later, in December 2017, I reinvented how I did business.”

Check out the impact Ammar’s father had on him, how he turned Finalrentals around — from his inner soul to his business operation — and how he now helps young startups pitch their stories.

“People will tell you to tell a story,” Ammar says.

“But what they won’t tell you is whose story to tell.”

Learn whose story to tell in this inspiring episode of Story Warriors, the podcast for crafting great stories.

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