Exclusive Q&A with Suna Zoabi-Othman, Founder of Tawazon
Following the investment and partnership announcement, MAGNiTT took the opportunity to catch up with Founder of Tawazon, Suna Zoabi-Othman to discover more about her startup.
Q1. Tell us about Tawazon. How does it work?
The concept of Tawazon is actually very simple, we provide a freemium meditation application that provides five to ten minutes of short daily meditation and mindfulness sessions in Arabic, to help users reach their highest level of peace of mind and relaxation.
Users can download the app and experience the sessions for free; if they like it, they are welcome to purchase a yearly subscription.
Besides the adult option, we have also developed a section for children, which is divided into ages and supervised by Tawazon's Head Psychologist.
Q2. This is the first Arabic-language meditation app... why do you think it's taken so long to bring this model to the region?
There were several mediation apps in Arabic, on GooglePlay, but they didn't match the global standards. What Tawazon brings is a global standard app from a UX and UI point of view along with professional scientifically proven content.
Q3. What is your big-picture vision for the future of Tawazon?
For Tawazon to bring professional Meditation and Mindfulness into every Arabic home around the world.
Q4. It is quite extraordinary that you managed to raise this round against the backdrop of COVID-19 and changed investor appetites. Was this round in the works from much earlier?
We have been in a relationship with Ibtikar Fund for some time now. It is exciting that despite COVID-19, Tawazon was still growing, and Ibtikar was still interested in closing the deal.
Q5. How did COVID-19 affect your fundraising efforts for Tawazon?
Online platforms have been the main businesses that have continued to work "normally" in the past 60 days. If anything, there has been an increase in use during this quarantine period, and we are very lucky that Tawazon and the team have always been online and that Ibtikar has seen the advantage of a completely online platform.
Q6. It’s safe to assume that after this round, you're going to have some exciting growth plans. Can you share some of Tawazon's short-term plans for expansion with us?
We will be using the capital to focus on expanding to the entire GCC market. The Tawazon team has mainly focused on listening to our customers, every feedback and email were on the table in our team meetings, therefore along with mainly expanding on the GCC market, we will also be listening to our users and creating sleeping stories for both adults and kids. We will also be adding AI in many features of the app based on customer feedback.
Q7. In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting things happening in the wellness and mental health tech space (globally) right now?
Personal growth is a huge market here and worldwide. Anxiety and stress is increasing, yet we're not seeing much real improvement or a change in society.
The wellness and mental health tech space has in the past few years, been able to help reduce stress and help millions around the world to change their stress management and be able to relieve anger and frustration easily, simply because it is in their pocket.
Applications that combine science and personal wellness are also the future of humanizing technology.
Q8. What were you looking for from your investors, beyond capital?
An investor that has been in the market for several years and who we believe, can create a healthy relationship with us, is a catalyst for the growth of Tawazon. We look for partners that can share the vision with us and would be the right fit, we look at investments that hey have made in the past and see whether there is symmetry between us, and always keep in mind the human relation too.
Q9. What do you foresee as the largest challenges to scaling Tawazon in MENA and beyond?
Looking into the analytics of some advanced applications worldwide, the Middle East is still not very profitable compared to other regions and countries around the world for online purchasing. Yet, the growth and the potential is huge, and the market is responding to it now.
What we have learned at Tawazon is that our customers in the Middle East prefer to take their time, and although they hesitate, they are ready to spend money on quality products (usually after free trials). Therefore, we offer an initial free week and are determined to keep growing the quality of Tawazon so that it is irresistible for users.
At the moment, we are focused on MENA and would love to think about and examine expanding at some point in the future.
Q10. Finally, what advice would you give to yourself five years ago?
Meditate. It's as simple as that. It is a simple mental practice that allows you to reach the highest emotional elegance you have ever known.
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