Alexander Kappes is the co-founder and vice president for the Middle East at foodora, an online platform that delivers meals from Dubai restaurants, including those that traditionally don’t deliver. The 30-year-old German-Palestinian, who launched the business last September, moved to the UAE eight years ago and has previously worked as chief executive of Groupon Middle East.
How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?
My parents taught me from an early age to value every dirham, but to also understand that money isn’t everything. My brother and I never lacked anything as children, but my parents would refuse to participate in every commercial trend, like buying us the newest gadgets or sneakers. Instead we had an allowance and once we had saved enough money, we’d seriously evaluate how much we wanted a gadget that we knew would be redundant in a few months’ time.
How much did you get paid for your first job?
Before and throughout university, I interned at companies such as Porsche and Daimler and of course also had a side job as a student. My first real job was as a junior management consultant, where I earned €48,000 (Dh194,000) per year before taxes.
Are you spender or saver?
I try to keep a healthy balance. About 30 per cent of my salary per month is always put aside towards savings or investments. I believe in spending towards personal growth, so I’ll happily spend on travelling, education and hobbies.
What is your most cherished purchase?
After interning at Porsche at age 19, my dream car has been the Porsche 911, which I bought two years ago. I tried to be smart about it and bought a used car of the current model which was perfectly maintained. The price was 70 per cent of the original price.
Have you ever had a month where you feared you could you not pay the bills?
Absolutely. During my last semester of university while I was interning and writing my thesis, a very good friend of mine and I had an arrangement to bridge the financial gap at the end of the month. He got paid mid-month, while I got paid at the end of the month, so whenever money would start getting short, he’d borrow from me and then return the favour two weeks later.
Where do you save your money?
In a savings account as well as a mix of funds.
Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?
Credit card for the air miles.
What has been your best investment?
It is not so much an investment but a financial sacrifice. When I left the consulting field to pursue a career in e-commerce, I accepted a salary that was almost 40 per cent lower than my previous salary. It was a step backward to make two steps forward and it definitely paid off.
What do you most regret spending money on and how much was it?
Paying rent longer than necessary. I wish I’d moved towards buying property sooner.
What financial advice would you offer your younger self?
Aim for different sources of income as quickly as possible and put money aside to invest when no one else wants to.
Do you have a plan for the future?
foodora is the third business that I’m building in the UAE and the next step will be to launch my own business, hopefully from a strong financial foundation.
If you won Dh1m, what would you do with it?
Invest in an e-commerce concept that I truly believe in, or of course my own business.
What would you raid your savings account for?
I like to reward myself for big achievements with items that I know will last, such as a classic timepiece, a fountain pen or a briefcase.
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