Striking Gold: A New Venture

Ali Alsayegh managing his business.

You wake up one day at 14-years-old, and opportunity comes forth; an opportunity that you decide to pounce on, not knowing the influence of this opportunity on your future self. That is exactly what happened to Ali Alsayegh, who at the time was nothing more than an average teenager in Kuwait.

His grandpa, old and tepid, asked of him a small request: “come help me manage a small fortune. Just me and you.” He needed help managing his gold shop, which was the typical business venture of many older Kuwaiti citizens. Coming off the Iraqi war, instead of ending up poor, many found themselves with small fortunes, and whereas some spent it all on useless investments, Ali’s grandfather invested it on what he believed to be a soon-to-be thriving business venture at the time.

“That one day became several weekends of helping him manage the gold shop. It was very hard, especially for a 14-year-old teenager, but I value the experience I gained from those days,” said Ali.

Whereas Ali’s grandfather was fairly unenthusiastic about running the shop, having been running it alone for nearly two decades, Ali was the exact opposite. “Working the cash registers alone was exciting for me. I enjoyed counting change and talking to customers,” said Ali enthusiastically.

It was clear that where one old flame was fading, a new one was being lit in that very same instance; that new flame represents Ali’s beginning passion for managing a small business.

It all culminated into Ali’s current small business venture called “Bruno Coin.” A business that specializes not in selling gold or jewelry, but instead in the virtual currency known as “FIFA Coin” for the videogame “FIFA.”

I asked Ali if his grandfather knew about his business venture, but his response was a confident and resounding “no!”

Ali’s philosophy was not looked upon the best by his family initially, but after a while, he managed to convince the most important person in his life about the potential of his niche venture, his mother. It was through her support that Ali credits his perseverance to.

“I definitely wanted to give up on it after being laughed at by friends and family. I get it. A business about dealing with video-game virtual currency does sound stupid, and I did give up on it at first after thinking about it. My mother’s encouragement is what made me decide to give it a try.”

Ali also credits his friends at North Umbria University for helping him launch ‘Bruno Coin.’ It was one thing to receive mental support from his mother, but it was the practical support that he received from his friends that ultimately led to the forming of his business.

Everyday, he dedicated hours of research into how currency in FIFA worked. He wanted to understand the market, the fluctuating prices, and most importantly, the players who were actually interested in buying virtual currency for the game.

“It was not like I was starting something new. FIFA has always sold virtual currency to its players, but it was based on a system similar to gambling. Players wanted something more specific instead of spending a lot of money on possibly getting what they wanted.”

The way FIFA worked was simple: players would either earn or more likely spend actual money to buy “FIFA Coins” and then they would use the currency to buy packs that gave them a random selection of players. Ali’s business not only sells the virtual currency for lower prices, but it also deals with eliminating the luck-based system of opening packs by selling to people the actual players that they might have wanted without having to open packs that were random in nature.

With the ever-growing popularity of video-game virtual currency in general, Ali is tapping into a unique market in its infancy stage. An unpredictable market, no doubt.

“I think anything can change with how we do business. These video game companies change things randomly, but I think that is why it is fun for me.”

No one knows what the future might hold for ‘Bruno Coin,’ not even Ali himself, but this unpredictability brings about excitement, and excitement brings about fun. All of these factors combined give Ali enough reason to continue investing time and effort into his venture.

Whether the future is bleak or bright is hard to say, but what is easy to see is that Ali is clearly having fun and as long as that is the case, he does not see a reason to stop anytime soon.