Day in the life: Dubai car sales app co-founder Rana Tarakji

The young entrepreneur Rana Tarakji is very ambitious. So much so that the 23-year-old founder of the mobile app, Cary, wants to build a company that leaves others gasping for breath.
Rana Tarakji, the co-founder of Cary, at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2014 at Atlantis Hotel on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Rana Tarakji, the co-founder of Cary, at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2014 at Atlantis Hotel on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Rana Tarakji is the founder of Cary, a free download app which she says is the first mobile app for buying and selling cars. The Lebanese-American, 23, who moved to Dubai from Beirut two years ago, has already secured US$100,000 from the crowdfunding website for her start-up.


I am a great believer in waking when your body needs to wake. Obviously if I have a meeting or a project dominating my time then I will rise earlier.

I don’t really eat breakfast. I may have a granola bar and a glass of juice but I need my energy more in the afternoon, so lunch is more important to me. When I first arrived here I was working for Groupon, an e-commerce business, and it taught me a lot about the opportunities and the way an online business works. I left there to join a restaurant reservation company, which was great. I wanted to build my own mobile application but ran out of resources. I was out-sourcing the work to India, my zero experience in building apps didn’t help in the venture but it taught me valuable lessons. I then met Mohammed, my co-founder, and Cary was born.


I arrive in the office with recruitment on my mind. We have only been up and running for three months but we have 40,000 downloads. It is a mobile world now and that proves it. We have set up a process of virtual recruitment; we don’t recruit for a job, we recruit for a task and pay accordingly. We have raised $100,000 and given away 7 per cent of our company, so we don’t want to waste it.


I talk to Mohammed regularly though the day. He is involved in other businesses, so his time is precious. I try and be goal-orientated but find I get obsessed with one task. It can take over, I want it to be right. I have a spreadsheet that lists what my task is, the objective and the result, and it glows red if it is not done on time. Unfortunately there is a lot of red at the moment. That could be my unrealistic expectations, my bad time management or the fact that the task is not that important.


Lunch. I’m a pescatarean, I only eat fish. I’m not a health food nut but I don’t like what is being added to the meat we consume. Too many additives, too many chemicals, too many changes. I don’t always eat organic fish but I feel (or hope) fish can’t be as treated as badly as red meat. Basically, lunch is a tuna sandwich.


I am constantly on the lookout for what other apps and car auction sites are doing, so I trawl similar agencies for anything we should be doing. I’m a manager so I have to manage. I believe in meritocracy, therefore I think if you do a good job you should be rewarded. Right now we have very few full-time staff, but we have a lot of freelancers that are given tasks to do. If you do them well with motivation and pride and show initiative, then you can become a part-time employee and again if you do that with the same attributes and vigour then you will gain a full-time post. It seems in a lot of companies those that get paid the most don’t do the most work and vice versa, I’m going to change that. I know I am young to be managing people but I believe in delegation and empowering people. I love to learn, I just hope I’m learning the right things.


I play one, maybe two, games on the pool table in the office. It breaks the day up, gives everyone a chance to look away from the work station and laugh for a moment. I love pool.


I often work through to the evening, getting lost in a task, then it’s fine dining with my friends if I’m lucky. I live in the Marina so there are plenty of places to choose from and some excellent fish restaurants.


I’m trying to go to bed early, which I have been almost keeping to: 11.30pm is an acceptable time. It can slip, but I like to think if it does it’s because I am learning something about a new skill, or a new market or a new media. Life is about learning and I’m not about to let myself miss an opportunity. Ambition is key to business. Those that want to have a $2 million to $3m company have drive, but that doesn’t show ambition. I want to run a global company that leaves everyone gasping for breath.

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Published: June 14, 2014 04:00 AM


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