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Andy Khawaja talks entrepreneurialism, and what it takes to make it



Allied Wallet founder

Andy founded Allied Wallet in Los Angeles in 2002, and over the years saw his business growing from nothing to the multi-billion international company it is today.

Andy, you started Allied Wallet in 2002, when internet companies were still recovering from the DotCom bust. It was hardly an easy time to do business. Where did your flare begin?

I will tell you this: when I see an opportunity, I can feel the opportunity and I just go for it, and when I saw the internet I realised one thing was missing out there. I had friends who were building websites, generating traffic, and attracting people, but I thought: “What are you selling?”

You need a credit card processor to sell online. It involves dealing with lots of international regulations and business procedures that many banks still don’t understand. That is where we stepped in, to provide these services to the entrepreneurs. Our job is to motivate them to continue with the business, to give them hope that they can generate profits out of it and make a name for themselves.

So what inspired your company back then, and still inspires today?

I see people cheering about me and talking about building a multibillion company and all that, but that is just the outside.

The truth is I can’t turn my back on the rest of the entrepreneurs out there, they need guidance, self-confidence. They need attention from people that really struggled to make it big.

Imagine if they all fail: if they fail we would not have all these apps that we use everyday, where we can book airline tickets or rent a car, we can navigate to a 5-star restaurant.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses were created by entrepreneurs. If guys like me didn’t get involved they would struggle.

When was it that you realised your company was to be successful? When you first understood you what you were making?

Probably, I’d say, when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel was 2008, 2009. I had such a moment when my previous company first became a million dollar company and that was in 2001.

You pride yourself on your safety record and your customer care service, where you occasionally take on complaint calls. What do you think is the most important attribute to your success?

In online retail, the important thing is to make sure that consumers are happy and confident in putting their credit card online.

We make sure that whoever does it doesn’t lose money and is not victim of a fraud.

I think it helped to build  our company up to the next level. Trust is everything. Back in the day this helped a lot: we did not even advertise the company, we would meet new customers out of merchants, current customers  and word of mouth.

For a person who is already a billionaire, and built his own company from scratch, what is next?

You know I am very open, I am working on different projects at the moment: one is a new software about online security, credit card losses and data losses. I have launched a TV show, we are now shooting the second season. It is called ‘Model Turned Superstar.’

It is a reality show, models compete in different challenges to win the show and prove they are not only pretty but there are truly talented. In a way, I like to think I am bringing out the entrepreneur that is inside them.

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