Guest post by Daryl Conroy, one of our roving reporters covering the Northern Ireland and Belfast scene and was also down at Web Summit for Irish Tech News as well.

 I managed to catch up with Ajmal Masroor from at the Web Summit to find out some more about Alchemiya and their journey so far.

Navid Akhtar profile Credit Zara Singh edit

Navid Akhtar photo credit Zara Singh

What inspired you to create Alchemiya?

I have been in the broadcast industry for about 20 years and every time I am asked about Islam it is always responding to a news crisis, responding to a bombing crisis, responding to terrorism.   If you do a search on Netflix you will find one film about Muslims and that is about terrorism and if you do a Google search about Islam you will find lots of information that is negative.  If you look in the world today there are too many platforms and too many news stories about Muslims that are negative.

We have had enough as far as I am concerned.

There is no platform where we can proudly demonstrate as well as depict the positive contribution of Islam and the lifestyle of 1.8 billion people and this is exactly what inspired me.  To show the lifestyle of 1.8 billion people to the world in the right way.

We have come together to curate and create the best of Islam.  Films, documentaries and dramas, programs about lifestyle, art, culture, food and fashion.  It is all about showing Islam in colour.

What problem does Alchemiya solve?

There is no single platform in the world today that has all the Muslim content in English for the ABC 1 of the worlds population, the young, urban, affluent, interested and excited who want to learn.  There is no platform like this and we solve it in 1 go.  In 1 platform, you get a subscription and you can watch from anywhere in the world as long as you have broadband access from your phone your ipad or from your computer.

What has been the biggest challenge Alchemiya have faced on their journey?

Our biggest challenge has also been our best achievement, investment.

Obviously with programmes, platforms and channels like this you need money.  So where do you get the money from unless you have got massive investors? We broke this challenge by going to the masses and through crowdfunding.

People trusted our brand and based on trust even before our product was available people started buying subscriptions.  I believe that is how we broke that, even though it was a challenge it became our strength.  And currently we are looking for bigger investors so we can go global, so we can become bigger.

What is the biggest mistake you have made so far?

The biggest mistake probably in our case was that we didn’t go global.  We didn’t use social media enough, we didn’t expose ourselves enough.  We didn’t call our brand as loudly and proudly as we should have done.  Others did but we didn’t.  Can you believe that without asking for advertising, Forbes magazine has featured us, The Saudi Gazette called us the Muslim Netflix, we had a massive article in India and we didn’t approach any of them.

If we had spoken out loudly and proudly enough to the world and said we exist I think everyone would have been so interested and excited by it.  That was our biggest mistake.  More importantly I believe we are not utilising our own personal contacts enough.  If I go through my phonebook I have 5,000 contacts, can I get all 5,000 of my contacts to be subscribers?  Yes, I can!  That was our second mistake but we we are correcting them now.

What advice would you give someone when starting a business?

Don’t ever be shy of your product.  If you believe in it the world will believe in it.  If you do not believe in it nobody will.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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