US GAN Tour: Flat6Labs Jeddah Start-ups Aim for the US Market
Sunday 15 February, 2015
Kanoosh and Smartable, two Flat6Labs Jeddah graduates, took part in theGlobal Accelerator Network (GAN) tour in the United States sharing the experience with entrepreneurs from across the world (11 countries in total).
The tour took place across two states in the US (San Francisco, California / Los Angeles, California / & Boulder, Colorado) during which they visited notable locations including 500 Startups, Techstars, and Silicon Valley Bank. Both Kanoosh and Smartable aim to launch their products in the US market, with the tour proving to be a vital asset and eye-opening experience for the KSA-based entrepreneurs.
Photo: Aqeel & Bawazeer at 500 Startups accelerator
Kanoosh is a mobile app which connects people’s needs to relevant products and services. Kanoosh graduated Flat6Labs Jeddah in the Fall 2013 cycle. Smartable is a Spring 2014 cycle graduate that aims to narrow the gap between education outputs and workforce skill requirements through optimal utilization of psychometric and aptitude exams.
The tour mainly focused its activities around expanding and launching a business in the US market. Visiting a multitude of accelerators, meeting mentors and entrepreneurs alike in the US gave the Saudi entrepreneurs the exposure and experience they required in order to gauge what was needed to tap into the American market and possess the knowledge to allow them to one day launch their product there.
“We visited several accelerators and have seen very innovative ideas and that made us even more confident towards the startup community back home and at Flat6Labs Jeddah.” commented Saud Bawazeer, Smartable co-founder. He added, “We believe that the innovation in Saudi start-ups is up-to par with the ideas here of what is considered to be a global hub of startups and innovation.”
Both startups took this opportunity to study and investigate which state would be their best bet to kick-start their business in. Kanoosh CEO Hashim Geoffrey said that for the nature of his business, Los Angeles would be most appropriate as the state is known with its major media production capabilities and a proliferation of SMEs; allowing for their business to tap into expanding the use of their mobile application. Smartable co-founder Mohammad Aqeel however concluded that their best bet to start is Boston. “The young talent in Boston is exceptional with a high concentration of colleges” Aqeel noted.
Hashim Geoffrey at Google HQ in Mountain View, California
The founders of Kanoosh and Smartable both echoed how the GAN founders trip was a segue to a new stage of their respective businesses; it also gave them assurance that Saudi entrepreneurs and their ideas are innovative enough to be able to compete in diverse markets.