Stars of 2018

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Rayyan Al Ajaji

Rayyan Al Ajaji

Company:

Lamar Capital Management and Unbox

Designation:

Founder

After starting his career at Saudi Aramco as an engineer, Al Ajaji switched to investment banking and joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch to manage the MEA region. Eager to reinvent himself, he founded Lamar Capital Management, a private equity firm with a unique business approach to real estate investment.

“We operate in a very niche, ultra high-end segment of the residential, hospitality and commercial real estate sector. The assets we go after are few and hard to identify. We have the tools and the team to either find them or build them, and then connect them to investors,” he explains, “It’s a win-win equation, a very rare thing in this industry.”

In his quest for prestigious and unique projects, Al Ajaji also founded Unbox, a istinctive shared workspace in Dubai’s central business district. “Unboxing an idea is the most important phase of a start-up,” he explains.

The environment at Unbox, inspired by the Japanese art of paper-folding known as origami, is designed to nurture a synergistic and collaborative ecosystem between corporations, entrepreneurs and startups which are eager to grow.

To be truly successful, I believe you need to team up with the right partners and take on the toughest challenges

“In the digital age, businesses must often pivot to adapt to new markets,” Al Ajaji believes.

This perpetually evolving spirit is at the heart of the angular folds of polished wood that spread over walls and ceilings at Unbox, a testament to the constant need to reshape strategies as opportunities arise, he says.

While most start-ups today focus on digital aspects, Al Ajaji’s business ventures thrive on creation in the physical space. At Unbox, the challenge was to provide a set of richly-designed, high quality interconnected spaces where every type of individual or team could find a home, according to him.

“A community is built on exchange, on sharing,” says Al Ajaji, “so we made that the heart of our concept, with a blend of open-plan and paneled spaces, all built with the highest quality in mind.”

Similarly, Lamar Capital Management focuses on the most high-end physical assets to link investors to concrete opportunities in the niche real estate market of prime quality projects. Trusted banks and partners broker direct connections with asset owners, putting the company in a superior position to develop and acquire the best income-generating assets of the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors for its clients.

“There is no competition for what we do,” Al Ajaji states, “because we deal only in the most exclusive layer of the market.”

Whether through Lamar Capital Management or Unbox, Al Ajaji keeps a close eye on the future.

There is no competition for what we do because we deal only in the most exclusive layer of the market

“Opportunities are always around, no matter how difficult the economics of the moment,” he asserts. “I travel regularly to Africa, Asia and around the Gulf, and I can see great chances to build businesses all over these regions. The key is to focus only on the most refined quality products and to build the most robust connections,” he says.

This is what defines Al Ajaji best: a desire to connect people and ideas, superior assets and smart capital, exclusive opportunities and decisive actions. At the heart of his projects lies a deep desire to link together the right elements of quality for success.

“You can achieve things on your own, but to be truly successful, I believe you need to team up with the right partners and take on the toughest challenges,” Al Ajaji declares. “Only then can you scale the greatest heights.”