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Doha startups explore new options to remain resilient during pandemic

Like other businesses elsewhere, a number of startups in Qatar have remained resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic by exploring new options, mostly related to technology and innovation, which they wouldn’t probably have thought of before. This was the resounding theme during the Startup Grind Doha’s webinar yesterday which featured a panel of startup founders in Qatar.

“Resilience is basically the most important factor to avoid startup failure. It’s even sometimes more important than how good the product is. At least for us, we did work it through this outbreak by being patient, working to improve our product, seeing what the clients need and having something that’s more tailored to the client and the need of the hour. We explored an application for COVID to spread awareness on that.”

” Maybe working a little bit more on developing video conferencing features for private hospitals in order to talk to their clients. Just like all the other startups we got hit hard by the COVID and the outbreak so we had to explore other options. We took the risk basically and it was good,” said Droobi Health Technology’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Racha Zarzour.

Urban Point’s Co-Founder Saif Qazi, added that resilience for entrepreneurs also means keeping themselves and their teams motivated during the challenging times. Qazi who witnessed a significant fall in their business activities due to the COVID-19 restrictions, also started to check on new areas to pursue, which includes the delivery vertical.

“The way we looked at it was you don’t want to create a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you’re gonna enter something make sure this is going to not just last but thrive once things go back to normality. We’re trying this from the perspective of what would be the new customer preferences or sensitivities in a post-COVID world,” he added.

Washnow Co-Founder Mufeed Ahmed, also saw the company’s numbers going down. But government support, such as the exemption from payment of rent, water, and electricity for six months also helped in providing relief to the company, which also had to increase its investments on the staff to follow hygiene protocols.

“We did not know when this was going to end. We had planned it week by week or day by day. What we did during this time, was we acquired another company which we had in mind for a long time. We spent this time and the energy of the team on the technology transformation, on the product that we want to build,” added Ahmed.

Qtickets Co-Founder Aarti Mahajan, also relayed how her startup company was one of the first businesses to close, and probably the last to reopen as well. Mahajan said the company started doing digital events during the pandemic, which allowed them to have a larger reach globally, as well as feature artists from anywhere in the world.

“We’re a live entertainment platform, and in the last four to five months we utilised this time in revamping our technology. We shifted a little bit of our focus on other projects, so as not to let go of staff. We optimised our costs, to focus more on our resources, our people. We introduced Over-the-top (OTT) media service on the platform. We are working very closely with the Ministry now, and you will see very soon that you’ll have the OTT media services we’ll be launching soon. And that’s something that we never thought before the pandemic,” added Mahajan.

Source: The Peninsula

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