Kuwait's SnackBook Wants To Let You Listen To A Book Every Day
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This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
If you’re keen to read books but find various obstacles, this Kuwait startup wants to give you the tools you need to make devouring content easier. Founded by Saad Aldousari, Yousef Alhusaini and Naser Almesnad, the co-founders launched app-based SnackBook to offer high quality content one might find in a book through an audio library of book summaries. Pointing out people’s busy lifestyle and short attention span, they also say that consuming a whole book may be too distracting. “One cannot truly comprehend the solid points of a book if he is listening to it intermittently, which is the only way ever to listen to an audiobook,” says CEO and co-founder Aldousari.
The co-founders proposed offering a platform wherein users can browse through an library of book summaries in audio format. “We do the hard task of reading the nonfiction books, summarizing their essential concepts (we call them Snacks), and record the summary which is 20 minutes long. Easy digestible Snacks that you can feed your mind, and perfectly fits the time constraints of our modern lifestyle.” The startup offers subscriptions to SnackBook’s audio library with an accessible pricing plans for their target audience- and so far, they’ve received positive response, with numerous customers stating it’s become part of their daily routine.
The startup officially launched in January 2018, while its app debute in June 2019. With their first year dedicated to building the product itself, as well as summarization, recording and app development, they also focused on improving content and copywriting. “We chose narrators who speak commonly used dialects in the Gulf region, and we trained them to master the enthusiastic tone of SnackBook,” says Aldousari. And as for what’s next, they will focus on marketing activities and collaborations with strategic partners.
Excerpt from a conversation with Saad Aldousari, co-founder and CEO, SnackBook:
What has been the most negative feedback on your products/services/business solutions that you have received and how did you go about it?
The negative feedback usually revolves around the size of the library, that is, the number of book summaries available. This encouraged us to revise and develop our whole operation so that it becomes faster and more productive. We now work with talented and passionate individuals who love to read and summarize books, and we also work with talented narrators. Very soon we we will release our 100th book summary on the app.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
First of all, issuing the trade license and doing all the government procedures is a tiring process. It improved over the years, but it still is lengthy and bureaucratic. And whether in Kuwait or abroad, entrepreneurs should always have their target customers in mind and think of real solutions to real problems they’re facing. This would ensure the business is finding a good ground to stand sow whatever seed they have.
The other consideration any entrepreneur should have is to be patient to see results. Creating a business is a tough game. Forecasted costs almost always happen to be higher in reality. Competition is going to rise once the concept has proved itself in the market. Given all of this, patience and being there for the long run is key.
Lastly, what are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
The mobile application business is always full of opportunities, and it is full of creative potential in a numerous market. If there is enough audience, there is a good opportunity for that audience. My advice to fellow entrepreneurs is make a quality product, keep enhancing it, and build a system for communicating with customers constantly.