Success Story Of Kidzapp, Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Karim Ghassan
Please introduce your Startup and give a brief about yourself.
I am Karim Ghassan, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kidzapp. We’re a digital platform that connects parents with family-friendly events and activities. We provide our customers with a cutting-edge app, effective website, seamless booking, and all-inclusive kid-inspired ideas.
How can you describe your Startup?
Kidzapp was launched in 2017. It is a family entertainment business whereour user-friendly online portal and well-constructed app simplify the process of planning and booking activities and events with your family. It is designed in a way that visitors can browse the wide-ranging categories, handpicked family experiences and dynamic kid-related information without having to sweat it out. It’s fun, down to earth, community-serving, inclusive – and just that little bit different. Backed by a team of experts in different departments, who fortunately are parents, the firm is running effortlessly.
What were you doing before?
I’ve worked in the operations and corporate planning at the leading media group in the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that I was a business consultant at a top management consultancy and co-founded a water desalination business in Egypt and Lebanon. Before joining the corporate world, I studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and have an MBA from INSEAD.
What is your inspiration behind your Startup?
I became overwhelmed with the responsibility of finding new and interesting places to take my kids every weekend. The process was difficult, time-consuming and expensive, and as a father I realized that there was a need for a business that addresses the market gap for parents looking for things to do with their kids. That’s when I decided to nurture and develop my simple idea of family leisure and entertainment into a business.
Describe Your Startup Name, Why you are using this Name?
It's straightforward and delivers what we believe in. The website is dedicated to those cheerful, innovative and adventurous kids who look to explore the world around themselves. We voted and settled with this name. It sticks with people.
What was the idea behind starting Startup?
For me, starting a money-making business wasn't the moto, rather the idea was churned out of the necessity— the necessity of weekend family fun. Hence, we became instrumental in solving this issue. Once the concept was molded, I tapped the opportunity and set up a firm where parents can easily hunt comprehensive entertaining packages including the kid-approved activities. I started with local grounds to work closely with my clients and offer services that entertain as well as educate their kids. Later we grew all over the UAE and Egypt.
What are the services you offer to your clients?
This is not an exaggeration, but we have designed a one-stop platform for all the families looking for fun and meaningful time together. From group activities at home to birthday celebrations, from theme and water parks to workshops, we have encompassed 2500+ experiences, 500+ venues & events, and 1000+ classes. We run many Kidzapp parent communities across social media, web and WhatsApp groups, and organize a lot of on-ground events to keep our community active and engaged. Also, the parents can take advantage of the discounts and deals — many of which are exclusive to Kidzapp. For the B2B side we offer great and unique ways to reach parents, gain footfall, brand awareness and conversions.
What are the factors which influenced you to start the ‘Startup’?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, and initiated several ventures –some that succeeded, some not – but all have been fun! For this business, it seems like a great idea, has a meaningful and beneficial aspect – can help parents for example, and solves a real need.
How did your journey start towards your startup from planning to funding?
Growing up, I always wanted to sink my teeth into technology and computers, which has fueled my interest in starting my own technology-based business. Initially, we were self-funded, and now that we have raised some funding not a lot has changed about our journey – we continue to discover new ways of helping parents – and keeping families entertained. Along with all these, my professional background acted as a catalyst. Knowledge, contacts, and experience conglomerated, and the business kicked off.
Is the Startup growing at good phase according to your plans? What are the upcoming plans from your end?
My goal is to help families travel, explore and enrich their time together without having to break their bank or back, and I am thankful that I have been receiving bouquets of good responses. Well, the success doesn't come overnight and is not always a bed of roses; there were bumps in the form of technical issues or delays in understanding the customers' needs in my earlier days as an entrepreneur. One thing is that you can’t expect or plan where you’re going to be. For example, who knew two months ago that 99% of the world’s airlines would be generating almost 0 revenue today (referring to the impact of coronavirus).
In terms of plans, you can be sure we’ve got some great ideas on how we can serve our parent audience – some fun content plans, new features, and new markets. Stay tuned!
I think everyone has some inspiring person in their life and some taglines? who are they, what is their role in your Startup life?
My family, my kids have been strong support forever. I have been grueling and working tirelessly to put up this infrastructure for families like us to have fun moments without any waylaid. With a lovely family, a fantastic team, amazing enthusiasm, and great customers, things have snowballed and are in a progressive continuum.
What is your stack on the competition? Who are your competitors? How you are overcoming them?
Competition motivates me. I see them as a push for more and better endeavors. It inspires and influences me to create out-of-the-box ideas and bring them to the audience’s table. Bill Gates said, "We have some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes." And I unwaveringly believe that high-quality competition is a blessing and it only brings out the best from your team. Fortunately, I have an enthusiastic team that has been challenging themselves to reinvent and bring something extraordinary to the customers.
What is your experience as an Entrepreneur?
It's challenging, but also very special at the same time. Definitely, you miss the security of a 9 to 5 job and that ability to go home and just not worry. However, the most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is how this business has groomed and helped thousands of families make wonderful memories. The feel that every action and decision you take has a direct impact on the real world is quite an adventure! It makes me fascinated by the travel industry and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am passionate to extend the services and make a meaningful contribution throughout the region and beyond. I am working around it since there are insufficient businesses that focus solely on kids’activities.
What do you suggest people who are interested in starting their own business?
Have a realistic idea, work as a team, work for society, know your strengths and weaknesses, set a backup strategy, take smart risks, and do not stop inventing.