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A Powerhouse In The Making, Alessandro D’Ubaldo Sets The Stage for Up & Coming UAE Entrepreneurs

Founded four successful UAE businesses across the Real Estate and Hospitality sectors over two decades, including 800PIZZA and Dubaldo Real Estate LLC

Leading by example, Alessandro D’Ubaldo sets the benchmark for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the UAE, having successfully launched a dynamic range of profitable businesses across the real estate and hospitality sectors. Spanning two decades, the serial entrepreneur was responsible for the establishment of well-renowned quick-service restaurants 800PIZZA, PINSANITY and CLUKRS, taking the brands from one outlet in 2007 to 12 in the space of seven years.

A passionate restaurateur and self-developed entrepreneur, D’Ubaldo encourages promising new entrepreneurs to grasp the cyclic nature of the broad economy, to gain a deep-rooted understanding of their prospective niche markets. According to D’Ubaldo, achieving this continuous process may seem challenging at first; however, acquiring valuable insights by speaking to potential customers often provides a profound understanding of the market gaps. This enables young business owners to develop unique business models, providing a clear direction in identifying products or services that fulfil gaps in the economy. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs must ensure their unique selling point (USP) adds material value, and that customers understand the brand’s clear key messaging. Unique and specific communication relevant to each product or service in terms of the added value it offers customers should be a priority. This includes broadcasting the company’s vision and mission across all branding channels and most importantly, fulfilling customer promise, which plays a pivotal role in strengthening brand loyalty.

Emerging from humble beginnings in a lower-middle class family of working parents and serving as a Naval Officer at the Livorno Naval Academy, D’Ubaldo moved to London in 1995 where he encountered his first experiences in fine dining and luxury hospitality. After a brief tenure as Emirates cabin crew, in 2003, D’Ubaldo – inspired by roles models includes, industry tycoons Warren Buffet and Ray Dalio – he implemented his vision as a powerhouse entrepreneur by venturing into the Dubai real estate market. Driven by his four core values of Competence, Responsiveness, Accountability, and Accuracy, he identified the market gap by launching one of the first short-term rentals platforms ahead of the likes of AirBnB – Dubai Furnished Apartments. D’Ubaldo imparted valuable insights, advice and knowledge to landlords trying to shift into the short-term rentals market; resulting in the successful launch of the mogul’s real estate brokerage – Dubaldo Real Estate LLC with a turnover of AED 6 million within two years.

Nurturing his entrepreneurial spirit, D’Ubaldo diversified from the short-term rental segment and into the hospitality sector, founding 800PIZZA in 2007. D’Ubaldo was the driving force behind the Italian pizzeria chain, gaining the attention of Belhasa Group within four years, ultimately securing a majority stake in the renowned wood-fried pizzeria chain; which received a valuation of AED 12 million by Deloitte in 2011. In the years following, D’Ubaldo cultivated the business to 12 outlets, leading a team of over 200 employees across the retail, franchising and food trading divisions; increasing the company valuation by four-fold in 2015. By 2016, D’Ubaldo developed a savoury Roman snack, which rose quickly in popularity in UAE and Italy across retail and HORECA sectors.

In 2020, with the aim of generating additional revenue streams, the restaurateur launched PINSANITY and CLUKRS in the UAE F&B sector. By 2021, D’Ubaldo had already expanded the brands into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). 2021 marked a key milestone in his career, steering 800PIZZA through the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic to maximise the highest return on investment (ROI) through the acquisition of 800PIZZA by the tech-powered multi-brand restaurant, Kitopi.

Ambitiously looking to the future with the hunger to diversify his entrepreneurial legacy across sectors, D’Ubaldo recently invested in 1-800-FLOWERS.com (FLWS) and e-commerce apparel platform, ASOS. 

“The past 20 years have been an incredible journey for myself, where I have had the opportunity to learn and grow, both as an individual and an entrepreneur. The vibrant UAE market is teeming with opportunities for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and with the national agenda shifting towards supporting entrepreneurship. My advice to promising new talent is ‘dare to dream’ and embrace change. Adapting to the changing market realities enhances entrepreneurial growth and equips young entrepreneurs with experiential knowledge, essential to developing a successful and profitable business; that can be executed by understanding the varying needs of your target audience,” concludes D’Ubaldo.

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