A Brief History of Me

My name is Mohamed Adel Fakhro (Mo Fakhro).

I was born in 1978 to Adel Abdulla Fakhro, a Bahraini businessman, and Mona Yousif Almoayyed, a Bahraini businesswoman. Both of my parents are prominent business people whose families have a long business history of success in Bahrain, the Arabian Gulf, and India.

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Me (left) with my parents, my brother Abdulla and my sister Lubna in 1986 (before Summer was born) in Niagara Falls in the US

I attended the Ibn Khuldoon school and graduated in 1996 with high distinction. While in middle school and then high school, I developed a keen interest in the family business and used to spend a lot of time discussing business with my father during long walks and jogs every evening.

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Me, while in high school, with my father on the day of the opening of the family’s first Mcdonald’s restaurant in Bahrain in 1994

In high school, I excelled particularly in math, economics, and physics, and scored amongst the top 1% in the world on American standardized tests (SATs and APs) on these subjects.

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Ibn Khuldoon class of 96. I am in the back row, 4th from right

After finishing high school in 1996, I moved to the United States to further my education. I was accepted to Cornell University in the United States, which I went to for one year, starting with a combined major in Electrical Engineering and Economics.

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Stanford University

While Cornell is itself an excellent university, I was driven from my high school days to go to Stanford to be a part of the entrepreneurial technology culture that I had read so much about but was not able to be a part of (Stanford had not accepted me for my freshman year). On my second try, I applied to and was accepted to Stanford in 1997, and became the first Bahraini to attend Stanford.

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Me (front row wearing glasses) with my college friends unwinding

I majored in Economics at Stanford and came to the realization that all of the major companies over history had developed, more than anything else, by being part of high-growth industries. Companies that succeed focus on being a part of what will be the major industries of the future. I decided to dedicate my career efforts to achieving extraordinary returns by predicting macroeconomic trends and allocating capital to monetize those predictions.

I graduated with honors in June 2000 and wrote my graduation thesis on the impact of patents on innovation in the genomics and biotech industries. I concluded that patents need to be increased in length in order to encourage more investment in R&D.

My upbringing in Bahrain, and my education at Stanford, imprinted in me the ideology of hard work, fairness, equality, and the celebration of differences between people, which I carry with me daily.

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Stanford Class of 2000 logo

Upon graduating from Stanford, I set out to achieve my career objectives. I wanted to grow by predicting macroeconomic trends. Chief amongst these trends at the turn of the new century was globalization. I also wanted to somehow connect the dots between my Stanford education and my family’s trading history in Bahrain. At the time, in 2000, my family’s businesses were set around operations in Bahrain. While my great-grandfather had trading operations in parts of the Middle East and India around the early part to the middle of the last century, those businesses had been scaled back during my grandfather’s generation, and replaced by a very concentrated presence in Bahrain. The nationalistic feelings during the post-World War 2 period made it quite difficult to operate a company outside of one’s native country. My father and his brothers had thus built up the group during the oil boom years to be a highly respected Bahrain business, that was involved in various business sectors, but only within Bahrain. With the opening up of the laws that allowed us to do business around the Gulf, and indeed the world, I made it my focus, to try to break through to other markets with businesses of my own and businesses of my family.

One of my first endeavors was to set up a software company of my own in Boston, Massachusettes. I also began to work in parallel to develop the family’s car rental business, first in Dubai, then in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Fujairah. In parallel, I began the process to develop our ship supply business in the UAE, and to develop a restaurant business in Saudi and Kuwait. Among my other initiatives were to set up software businesses of my own in India and Silicon Valley, and a venture capital investing business in India, the Middle East, and the United States. I also took the initiative to expand our trading relationships in Bahrain with emerging Chinese companies, as Chinese companies became more significant.

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Me with Fernando Alonzo at the launch of Go Rent A Car Dubai
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At the Budget Car Rental conference in Ireland in 2012

I have also contributed to some of the group’s existing businesses, including the car rental and restaurant businesses in Bahrain, and to some of my parents’ personal businesses, properties, and investments. Other businesses I have set up include schools, gyms, e-commerce apps, and SaaS products.

I have traveled extensively for business, across the GCC, the US, China, Europe, and India, and have learned a great deal from their cultures and their people.

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Me (left) with my younger siblings, from left Lubna, Abdulla, and Summer, in 2010

I have split my time between my family businesses and my own businesses. Today, my own businesses have developed to be a conglomerate in their own right. My main personal company is named MBA Fakhro. My family’s main businesses continue to develop. These family businesses include Abdulla Yousif Fakhro Group, YK Almoayyed Group, Adel Fakhro & Sons, and Suncity Ventures, among others.

MBA Fakhro is today a Bahrain-based global financial services company.  Its primary mission is to build companies, in the GCC, India, the United States, and China.

While my family continues its long heritage of success

Some of the businesses of my family

Today, between my personal and family businesses, I am proud to say that we have significant operations in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, India, and the United States. I continue to aspire to do more during my generation to grow in significance and to carry on the legacy. I hope in my next push forward to look to set up manufacturing and life sciences companies in India that could export to the US and also build a stronger customer base in the US for my software businesses. In parallel, I hope to keep building up revenue in the Middle East for my personal and family businesses. I also aspire to keep building on my franchise relationships to develop into other emerging markets around the world.

In 2012 I married my better half, Dahouk

We are blessed to be the proud parents of three wonderful children, Maryam, Adel, and Rajwa.

I became the youngest ever person to be elected to the board of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2013, where I chaired two committees, the Entrepreneurship Committee, and the Internal Audit Committee during my four-year term.

With His Majesty the King of Bahrain (center), my father, my brother, and my sister

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With His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain

I was also appointed to the board of directors of Tamkeen (the Labour Fund) in 2015 and served for 8 years. I am currently a board of trustees member of Ibn Khuldoon National School. I served as a board member of al Muntada Society as Treasurer from 2012 to 2018.

In my free time, I write articles and poetry and spend some time every day learning about areas that interest me including history, new technologies, economics, and business. I used to spend a significant percentage of my time traveling for work to India, the United States, Europe, and China, but I have now replaced some of my travel by communicating through Zoom and other technologies. I am a member of YPO and enjoy meeting people from chapters around the world.

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With celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at a YPO dinner

While I find innovation and learning fulfilling, my primary career objective is to keep the personal and family businesses that I am associated with as a significant force in the next generation, not just in Bahrain, but across the Gulf, and the rest of the world.

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With my son Adel celebrating Christmas with the family

I hope the family will continue to enjoy the close-knit and warm relationships that they do today and continue to pass on to the next generation the values of hard work, integrity, and commitment to the customer and to the communities in which they operate.

I feel that, while it is easy to sit on one’s laurels and enjoy the fruits of established businesses, to be successful over generations a family business must always strive to adapt and look for new horizons.