Asafeer Co-Founder and CEO Amr Abu-Hmaidan talks with Bahrain This Week in delivering quality content for educating Arab children. He also discusses his challenges and motivations.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
My name is Amr Abu-Hmaidan, I’m a 35 years old Jordanian living in Dubai for the past 9 years. I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Asafeer Education Technologies (3asafeer.com).
Give us a brief summary about your educational and professional background.
I have 13 years of experience in technology, data-driven decision-making and e-commerce. I have a BSc in computer information systems from University of Jordan, and before that went to the Jubilee school King Hussein Foundation. I have a PMP and a TOGAF certifications too.
When and how did you get around to developing 3asafeer?
As a father to two curious kids growing up, I found the lack of interesting Arabic content for kids to read quite troubling, and I decided to do something about it. So I did it on the side illustrating stories and putting them online as a favor to other parents like me.
‘3asafeer’ is an interesting solution. Tell us more about the application and how did this idea strike you?
We started with parents like me as the focus. Bit by bit we started receiving feedback from teachers who are using it in their classrooms, and this is when it hit me, that we can provide a lot of value to teachers by providing them with insights about their students, at the same time that we provide the students with interesting stories to read.
What have been the initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
I think finding the right business model and channels to reach customers, were the first challenges. And then validating the model, going through different models initially, to finally pick this one.
How is 3asafeer unique?
Innovation does not stop with technology, so we innovate with the content we create, and the way we do our reporting to parents and teachers. And we make sure that anything we do is backed by solid research on literacy. And finally, we offer the best support according to our customers to make sure that the teachers and the students are getting the best out of the experience. So to sum it up, what makes us unique is that we innovate on all levels and aspects of what we do.
Where do you see 3asafeer in the next 5 years?
I think we’ll be creating content for older students, and providing a superior product. Video and audio content are also something that we’re really interested in to deliver knowledge and explain complex ideas to young minds, but definitely the focus will still be the Arabic language to close all the gaps that are there in children’s literature.
If you were to list 5 essential qualities of a successful entrepreneur, what would they be?
How has 3asafeer developed so far?
In the past 30 days alone, we had kids read over 1,200,000 stories on the platform generating over 55,000 hours of reading, were in 50 schools and we’re expanding quickly.
How did you find Seedstar in Bahrain 2016?
It was a great event to attend, meeting entrepreneurs who want to change the status-quo and make this world a better place to live in every way possible, is a really interesting experience to be a part of.
Being the winner of Seedstar, how do you feel?
It’s always great to get some external validation, but I’ve always monitored what I do by my own internal metric for success, making a real change, building something sustainable, and helping more great people to have an impact on this world.
List us three things you have learned
Sometimes it’s small things that stick with you, and would have a great impact later on. The best that stuck, is being brief in communicating your message. I met some interesting people too, and recharged my motivation.
What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs in and around GCC?
Do something that you love, and do it extremely well, and keep fine tuning it everyday. Sometimes you’ll be faced by naysayers, but that shouldn’t matter. You keep going until it works.