Richard Abi Chahla, Product Manager in Beirut, Beirut Governorate, Lebanon
Richard is available for hire
Hire Richard

Richard Abi Chahla

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Beirut, Beirut Governorate, Lebanon
Toptal Member Since
October 24, 2019

Richard is an experienced product manager and entrepreneur. Since 2009, he's successfully bootstrapped multiple enterprises, SaaS web and Windows solutions, and mobile applications. He's also led and consulted more than eight tech startups from idea to launch. Richard's strengths are design thinking, customer experiments, crisis management, product strategy, and managing teams of designers, developers, and marketers.

Project Highlights

DOCISS EMR Solution
Founded and spearheaded an EMR solution for doctors, including ideation, analysis, design, dev team management, marketing, and sales.
Monica PRM
Founded a new tech startup called Monica PRM, specializing in event networking and exchanging contact details.
Fetch My Ride
Led the idea generation and market study and managed the product from day one until launching the product MVP.

Expertise

Work Experience

Agile Product Manager

2021 - PRESENT
Varda AG
  • Helped the stakeholders, through multiple workshops, to align on a product vision for the Field Stories product.
  • Introduced changes to the existing team and helped them adopt Agile Scrum methodologies. Trained the team on Scrum best practices and helped the company adopt a product versus project approach.
  • Met with potential customers/early adopters to introduce our product vision and get their feedback on our prototypes, the problems they are facing, and the potential solutions for those problems.
  • Created a product roadmap that included a prototype, MVP, and post-MVP tasks.
  • Aligned with other products to clear dependencies and synchronize our roadmaps.
  • Designed the product's end-to-end business flows and managed the user experience and interface design.
  • Managed development sprints as a product owner and ensured the development team's work was aligned and progressing towards the product vision.
  • Kept stakeholders aligned with the product vision and set a proper validation process with the right customer segments.

Founder | Managing Director

2011 - PRESENT
Purple Brains
  • Contacted international software sellers and negotiated reseller agreements on behalf of the company for Lebanon and the GCC market.
  • Managed clients' IT infrastructure and enterprise systems.
  • Advised and managed companies' IT projects. Consulted startups from ideation to launch and growth hacking.
  • Built custom SaaS products for the healthcare, Pharma, insurance, and Enterprise institutions for the local market.
  • Consulted healthcare institutions, from small polyclinics to university hospitals, and built appropriate healthcare solutions for them.
  • Established and executed company marketing and sales plans for our own products and supplier's products.
  • Came up with IT startup ideas and researched the market for validation. Raised investment for the company and client startups.
  • Oversaw outsourced development and creative team to execute company and client projects.
  • Prepared quotations and legal contracts for customers and negotiated with them for signature.
  • Coached and mentored startups in the early stages. Implemented three startups for the company from ideation to launch. One is still in the market today and another exited after 11 months.

Agile Product Manager

2021 - 2021
Yara
  • Collaborated with two different teams from Yara management on two different products to help them ideate and create the product vision.
  • Helped and mediated the team to go through the Lean Canvas and fill it in to empathize with the potential users.
  • Interviewed internal agronomists from Yara and helped the UX designers and the external agency build an estimated journey as is.
  • Managed UX designers and an external agency to conduct user research to validate the market needs.
  • Helped the Yara managers to interpret the results of the market/user research and ideate based on that.
  • Worked with UX and UI designers to build prototypes and managed external agencies with the prototype testing with potential users.
  • Did a market competition analysis to highlight existing competitors, their market shares, and what would be our products' competitive edge on them.
  • Learned a lot about the FErtilizer and the AG business, especially in the fields of fertigation, grass, and dairy farming.
  • Introduced a new approach at Yara consisting of using existing market players and embedding their technologies in their products using APIs.

Business Analyst

2020 - 2020
Fortune 500 Company (via Toptal)
  • Created a questionnaire with more than 250 questions filled by users in 14 different markets in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Analyzed the questionnaire findings and created a report for all the findings related to the business requirements of each market, the common needs across markets, the exceptions and specific needs of each market, and a subjective assessment.
  • Created the list of processes needed with a heat map of the markets that use those processes with a scoring system to allow IT to prioritize.
  • Created user stories for each process, adding the story, description, and acceptance criteria.
  • Built process flows for optimized user experience covering all the market's exceptions.
  • Suggested the MVP needed features based on the common features across markets and the rollout order for markets.
  • Presented my findings to the business and IT teams and defended them using the proof I gathered from the markets.

Managing Partner

2019 - 2020
Undisclosed Company
  • Helped the company overcome its current financial crisis and set a fundraising plan.
  • Supervised a team of 22 employees, including developers, scrum masters, product owners, and maintenance managers.
  • Managed client relationships with the company as well as the sales team operations.
  • Implemented the Agile and Scrum methodology in the company, coached the employees on its application, and restructured the employees and the projects based on Scrum.
  • Managed the proposals and deals of the company from client negotiations, business, and technical requirements until project deliveries.
  • Conducted weekly manager meetings and monthly partner meetings.
  • Set a business development plan with the holding subsidiary companies on processes and procedures when dealing with the company.
  • Led critical projects with clients that used to have a bad experience with the company.
  • Directed the development and maintenance queue of the company to make sure that Scrum Best Practices were implemented.
  • Helped entrepreneurs in their ideation process, market study, and execution of their startups until launching an MVP or a full product.

MENA Sales Manager and Partner

2011 - 2016
Contracom International
  • Managed communication with the US supplier for SCADA products.
  • Recruited and appointed resellers in the MENA region.
  • Launched the products in the market and traveled for demonstrations all over the MENA region.
  • Helped the resellers study their markets and set up a sales and marketing plan.
  • Managed the relationship between the resellers and Contracom.
  • Assisted resellers in large sales deals and helped them survey the clients' locations.
  • Supervised maintenance and spare parts availability for resellers all over the MENA region.
  • Assisted the US company in product development and enhancements.
  • Assigned key performance indicators to the resellers and made sure they kept them.

MIS Manager

2009 - 2011
Benta SAL
  • Managed and maintained the existing ERP and sales systems and was in charge of the supplier's communications.
  • Supervised the purchase and implementation of a GPS surveillance system for the sales team.
  • Designed and implemented a new pharma CRM with an Indian-based company.
  • Managed the RFPs for hardware purchases, including and not limited to PCs, servers, networking components, and mobile phones.
  • Researched and tested HRM systems in the market in order to choose the proper one for Benta SAL.
  • Researched all the business and technical requirements for custom enterprise and healthcare solutions and outsourced the development to remote teams in India.

Project Manager

2008 - 2009
Contracom International
  • Built a reporting system for the Lebanese water establishment telemetry system.
  • Managed the communication between Contracom, the water establishment officials, and the other independent contractors.
  • Oversaw the maintenance requests of the telemetry system errors and breakdowns and assigned them to various contractors.
  • Set day-to-day procedures and a contingency plan in case of breakdowns.
  • Performed a system analysis of the current telemetry system and enhancement suggestions.

Receptionist | Operations Manager | Shift Leader

2004 - 2008
Park Tower Suites Hotel
  • Managed the front desk during the PM and night shifts.
  • Assisted guests in their day-to-day requests during my shifts.
  • Directed restaurant and housekeeping operations through the team managers.
  • Supervised the billing, check-in, and check-out of guests.
  • Oversaw the team's IT requests and served as the contact person with the IT servicing company to speed up the process.

Sales Agent

2003 - 2004
American Life Insurance Company
  • Conducted sales meetings with potential customers.
  • Prepared sales presentations for ALICO products.
  • Assisted other sales agents during their large sales deals.

Lebanese Water Establishment Telemetry Reporting System

Led the integration and implementation of a new reporting system for the existing telemetry system.

The Lebanese water telemetry reporting system used to be based on exporting to Microsoft Excel to analyze their data.

I designed, integrated, and implemented a SaaS product reporting system and trained the establishment team on configuration and generation reports.

Pharma Sales CRM

Led the analysis, design, custom development and Implementation of the Pharma Sales CRM with a team of outsourced developers.

I managed the implementation of the Pharma CRM from scratch.

I started the analysis phase, designed the needed requirements, and prepared the technical proposal for the CRM. I also chose the proper system structure and technology, recruited a remote developer team, and led them during the implementation phase.

After six months, we launched phase one of the system and implemented it for validation, and moved forward with phase two that took three months. Along with managing the training and handling this system's full deployment, I prepared the system's full documentation and assigned a maintenance team to keep the system going.

DOCISS EMR Solution

Founded and spearheaded an EMR solution for doctors, including ideation, analysis, design, dev team management, marketing, and sales.

Started my own company called Purple Brains, and the first product was an electronic medical record and clinic management solution.

I began by performing a full project analysis with three specialties of doctors—ENT, plastic surgery, and orthopedic surgery. I then designed the user journey based on their demands and hired a UX/UI developer to finalize the design. I also recruited a team of developers in Romania and managed them to release the product.

Then I built the business model, market entry plan, and sales plan and launched the product in the Lebanese market on my own with minimal resources.

After one year, the system was used for more than 100 doctors with more than 20,000 records.

Monica PRM

Founded a new tech startup called Monica PRM, specializing in event networking and exchanging contact details.

In 2016, I started working on a better idea to network inside large conferences and networking events.

The idea started as an event app with an enhanced AI that will arrange your agenda and match you with the right talks to attend and people to meet. Then I recruited a full-stack developer, and I was accepted into multiple acceleration programs and startup competitions.

After the initial MVP release in October 2016, we noticed that the solution was not in an event application. We pinpointed that this problem was not only happening at networking events but also in day-to-day networking (where people lost track of the people they've met and who they should follow up with). That initiated our pivot, and we began doing iterations to our MVP and trying new models.

Currently, Monica is a chatbot assistant that lives inside its own app and on Facebook Messenger with the primary purpose of collecting the details of the people you network with, mark your follow-ups, and remind you when they are due.

It was expected to launch in the fall of 2020, but the launch was delayed indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemics.

Fetch My Ride

Led the idea generation and market study and managed the product from day one until launching the product MVP.

Fetch my ride is a valet parking platform, serving both the valet parking companies as well as the car owners.

In 2017, I generated the idea and started working on the market validation and competitive landscape as a personal project. Later, when the concept was validated as a proper need, I formed a team and started executing the idea. The go-live version was deployed in June 2018.

The user growth was so fast the multinational valet parking company acquired it only 11 months after its launch.

ERP Implementation

Led the analysis, customization, and implementation of a maintenance ERP for a medium-sized facility management company.

Switch group is a medium-sized facility management company operating in the GCC.

They hired me to select a proper ERP system and study the needed analysis and design to integrate a tailor-made maintenance and facility management module.

The customization and implementation went side by side, and the project took around 14 months to be fully implemented and launched.

Kanoony Platform

http://www.kanoony.com/

Led the project from ideation to launch in the UAE.

Kanoony is a legal platform based in the UAE. It allows users to browse through a library of legal documents, specify which language they want those documents in, purchase the ones they want, edit them online, submit them to your signees to get their comments and sign them electronically using DocuSign.
2004 - 2009

Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Information System

American University of Science and Technology - Beirut, Lebanon

DECEMBER 2022 - PRESENT

Understanding Agribusiness, Value Chains, and Consumers in Global Food Systems

University of Adelaine, via edX

JUNE 2019 - PRESENT

Certified Conversational Designer

Conversational Academy

MARCH 2018 - PRESENT

Entrepreneurship Specialization

Stanford University | via Coursera

AUGUST 2016 - PRESENT

Certified NAUI Divemaster

NAUI

Tools

Slack, MURAL, Trello, YouTrack, Google Docs, Google Slides, Jira, Figma, Strategyzer, Crystal Reports, Zoom

Industry Expertise

High-tech Startups, Startup Accelerators, Specialty Healthcare, Healthcare, Insurance, Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Marketplaces, Digital Agencies, Pharmaceuticals, Electronics, Agriculture, Agrotech, Hospitality, Event Ticketing, Consumer Products, Renewable Energy

Paradigms

Scrum, Agile Product Management, Agile Project Management, Requirements Analysis, Agile, Kanban, Design Thinking, Marketplace Platforms, Rapid Prototyping, B2C, B2B2C, Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C), Mobile App Design

Platforms

ProductPlan, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Shopify

Other

Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Software Project Management, Software Development, Story Mapping, Entrepreneurship, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Lean Startups, Startup Consulting, Early-stage Startups, Scrum Master, Product Owner, Ideation, Team Management, Product Management, Project Management, Software Development Management, Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), Web & Mobile Applications, Project Planning, Backlog Grooming, Backlog Management, Feature Backlog Prioritization, Systems Analysis, App Product Management, Lean Product Manager, Business Requirements, User Flows, User Journey Maps, Product Discovery, UI Prototyping, Prototyping, Feature Planning, Feature Prioritization, Feature Analysis, Feature Roadmaps, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), App UX, Mobile UX, Web App UX, SaaS Product Management, Software as a Service (SaaS), SaaS Product Marketing, Validated User Research, Market Strategy and Research Product Manager, Technical Project Management, Technical Product Management, Sales, Product Marketing, Dashboards, Validation, Product Positioning, Technical Leadership, Requirements, Requirements & Specifications, Healthcare Product Manager, Healthcare IT, Market Research, Digital Project Management, Project Budget Management, Resource Allocation, Agile Product Delivery, Data Analytics, Business to Business (B2B), B2B Product Management, Innovation, Cloud Platforms, Disruptive Innovation, Product Ownership, Scrum Product Owner, Content Management Systems (CMS), Stakeholder Management, Vendor Management, Product Development, Workflow Diagrams, Enterprise, UML Diagrams, Diagrams, Product Operations, Google Meet, Web App Development, Business Research, Process Design, Windows Desktop Software, Mobile App Testing, Cross-platform App Development, Agile Leadership, Budget Management, Client Management, Client Reporting, Startup Funding, Scrum Coaching, Startups, Technology, Technology Consulting, Technology Solutions, Web Technologies, Hybrid Apps, Startup Growth Strategy Development, Mobile Apps, Google Sheets, Growth Strategy, Project Lifecycle, Competitive Strategy, Competitive Intelligence, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Revenue & Expense Projections, Team Leadership, Remote Team Leadership, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Company Strategy, Product Roadmaps, Product Growth, Creative Problem Solving, User Experience (UX), Product Strategy, Customer Research, Go-to-market Plans, Product-market Fit, Launch Strategy, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), UX Research, Product Research, Pitch Decks, Pitch Preparation, Business Models, Business Process Re-engineering, Business Process Modeling, Product Launch, Product Design, Wireframing, Lean Project Management, Cost Estimation, Web Platforms, Two-sided Marketplaces, Mobile Applications, Time Management, Risk Analysis, Risk Management, Problem Management, Responsive, Responsive Web Design (RWD), App Design, Web App Design, Web Applications, Analysis, Market Research & Analysis, Market Fit, Planning, Product Planning, Sprint Planning, Strategic Planning & Execution, Project Estimation, Business Analysis, IT Business Analysis, Solution Architecture, Business Process Analysis, Business Process Optimization, Business Process Flow Diagrams, Business Processes, SaaS, B2B, Pricing Models, Pricing Strategy, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Project Timelines, Scope, Scope of Work, User Needs, User Research, User Requirements, Miro, Competition Research, Mobile App Development, Budgeting, Discovery, Benchmarking, Business Strategy, Monetization, Roadmaps, Conceptualization, MVP Design, UX Design, Product Leadership, Product Delivery, Pricing, Agile Coaching, User Journeys, Use Cases, Process Flows, Salesforce, Social Networking, Operations, User Interviews, Management, IT Consulting, Marketing Plans, Operations Management, Presentations, Design, Conversational Design, Visual Basic, Web, eCommerce, Google, SCADA, Product Sales, Marketing, Growth Hacking, Marketing Strategy, Chatbots, APIs, Growth, Strategy Planning, Android, iOS, Business Intelligence (BI), Data Analysis, Product Vision, Teams, Adobe Experience Design (XD), Value Chain, Crisis Management, Complex Problem Solving, Billing, Travel & Leisure, Concierge, Hotels & Lodging, Go-to-market Strategy, Fitness, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Distribution, Strategy, Business to Consumer (B2C), Analytics

Collaboration That Works

How to Work with Toptal

Toptal matches you directly with global industry experts from our network in hours—not weeks or months.

1

Share your needs

Discuss your requirements and refine your scope in a call with a Toptal domain expert.
2

Choose your talent

Get a short list of expertly matched talent within 24 hours to review, interview, and choose from.
3

Start your risk-free talent trial

Work with your chosen talent on a trial basis for up to two weeks. Pay only if you decide to hire them.

Top talent is in high demand.

Start hiring