How Fabi Hubschmid is Connecting Small Businesses Around the World

Fabi Hubschmid is COO and co-founder of Markaaz, the world’s first global platform to verify and connect every small business on the planet and the network of partners that support them. Hubschmid is an entrepreneur with global experience in the platform, construction, and smart cities industry, with a track record of leading global and complex transformations across private and public sectors. 

Prior to co-founding Markaaz, Hubschmid was Strategic Development Officer for AXA Global Enterprise & Partnerships, Founder & CEO of the Enix Advisory, tutor for the ‘Beyond Smart City’ course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a member of PwC’s Global Smart Cities Team. Hubschmid is focused on creating positive and sustainable impact for small business owners.

In this Q&A, Hubschmid shares her insights on creating solutions to help small businesses grow and thrive.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Ever since I can remember I have been building things, and doing so with great passion and a sense of ownership. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and have also worked at Fortune 500s in various roles in both the private and the public sector. Throughout my career, I’ve been inspired by helping people and making an impact. I’ve always been drawn to people who are audacious and believe that together we can make the impossible possible. Eventually my DNA drove me to entrepreneurship.

Q: What inspired you to start Markaaz?

I have been surrounded by many small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) growing up, both successful companies and some that failed. I’ve been following and watching what drives success and failure for SMBs for as long as I can remember. The challenges faced by small businesses are so diverse, it takes a multi-dimensional approach to truly understand all of these challenges. 

Markaaz was inspired by our belief that if all SMBs can connect through one platform and in one place where they have access to the resources and tools they need to succeed, they can access a world of opportunity, enabling society and the economy as a whole to positively thrive in ways we’ve never dreamed of. Markaaz is the one solution that changes the game for SMBs. The name Markaaz means ‘center’ or ‘where all things come together’ in many ancient languages. 

Q: What problems are you solving with Markaaz?

We have seen two fundamental problems in the SMB market. First, the plethora of point solutions that are out there overwhelm SMBs. These solutions don’t speak to one another, they don’t integrate, and SMBs end up re-credentialing themselves over and over. Second, with the move to digital, which has been accelerated by Covid-19, SMBs are lacking ways to verify and monitor their suppliers and counterparties, as well as themselves.

Today’s verification tools are made for Fortune 500 companies and are largely out of reach for SMBs. On average, SMBs spend 15 days per year re-credentialing and reverifying who they are. With our Directory of verified SMBs and our all-in-one Dashboard, we equip SMBs with all the tools and resources they need to succeed while helping them save time and money.

Further, Fortune 500 companies have struggled to understand, segment, and target the SMB market appropriately. Through the Markaaz Network of Partners, we provide partners a unique and meaningful way to engage with SMBs and verify, connect, and monitor them, making for a superior experience for both.

Q: There are many solutions available to small businesses. How is Markaaz disrupting the industry?

That’s part of the problem. There are so many solutions available to small businesses, in fact, an overwhelming number of them. On average, a small business subscribes to 20 or more point solutions to help them manage and grow their business.

We’re bringing the solutions together in a single platform. Markaaz takes SMBs on a journey, from a disparate, unsupported group that can at times feel like they are a minority, with limited options they are left to sort out on their own, to an empowered community, a world where SMBs feel that they belong and have the opportunity to grow.

With the Markaaz Directory and Dashboard, we’re empowering small businesses like never before. The Markaaz Directory is an unrivaled resource of 113 million pre-vetted SMBs that allows business owners to save critical time and money to identify, connect and transact with already verified suppliers and partners from a single platform.

Over the coming year, the all-in-one Markaaz Dashboard will enable small businesses to integrate all their point solutions – from CRM to accounting, supply chain, cybersecurity, and everything in between – and access resources that solve business- or industry-specific challenges.

Q: What is your advice for other female founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys?

I want to encourage more women to take this path less traveled because it is so rewarding, beyond anything you can imagine. We are often confined to historical norms and patterns, which are often propagated within families and through social media. If we can get beyond the stereotypes, conventions, and our own insecurities, we can create anything. It takes courage to break out of that pattern.

Q: What is your advice for other entrepreneurs trying to scale their own company?

Always listen to your customer. Ask questions, understand the pain points, and then develop a solution to solve those real-world problems. Great entrepreneurs identify two or three key challenges in an industry and figure out how to solve them while asking: Is this solution the best in the world? Will this solution add real value to those for whom it is intended?

Q: Any thoughts/advice for entrepreneurs in the current economic climate?

The pandemic has caused significant supply chain disruptions and caused many businesses to close or fall on hard times with cash flow. Monitor the performance of your current suppliers and vendors and build a network of alternative suppliers that you can leverage if the need arises.

Relationships are always important in business, and now more so than ever before. Connect with other small business owners, learn from each other, and share resources.

Q: What qualities do you possess that you think have contributed most to your success?

You must remain agile, with the willingness to constantly evolve. Whenever you are building something new, you must approach the problem with an open mind. You will be constantly challenged while trying to solve a problem no one has been able to figure out. In addition to listening to your customers and their pain points, listen to the questions from the skeptics and figure out how to address the concerns of the doubters. Be willing to adapt and approach the journey with humility.

At Markaaz, we are constantly conducting surveys and really listening to our stakeholders, not only to justify what we are doing, but also to guide our product roadmap and deliver the solutions small businesses really need to grow and thrive.

  • Originally published July 8, 2021, updated July 13, 2021