Kuwait-Based HOT Technologies Wants To Bring Arabic Fitness Content To Wherever You Are
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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.
Founded in 2018 by Nezar Al Saleh, HOT Technologies (which stands for “healthy online training”) is an application which aims to make fitness accessible and rewarding. The platform fosters a community of athletes and fitness instructors for guided workouts featuring bilingual fitness content (available in English and Arabic), access to live classes and various workout programs, as well as achievement badges and opportunities for prizes with the startup’s brand affiliates. Al Saleh says his startup is driven to “make fitness accessible, affordable, and fun” for a healthier lifestyle. The startup leverages fitness ambassadors across MENA and beyond, and so far, Al Saleh notes that they have been able to reach over 150,000 users actively using the HOT app to train regularly.
With a user base spread across the GCC, Al Saleh recalls how customers in Kuwait and beyond needed some time to get used to the concept of training online. But even so, the concept has been gaining traction, with many pleased with the rise of a platform that provided fitness content in Arabic. But Al Saleh notes that the COVID-19 pandemic “forced the world to digitize fast, and online fitness is now a new norm.”
Source: HOT Technologies
Available to download for free for iOS and Android devices, subscribing to the HOT app offers a free trial period, and a monthly subscription model starts at KD5.95 to get access to all of its fitness content. Being receptive to negative feedback has allowed the startup to bolster its offering- Al Saleh explains how customers weren't happy that subscriptions were allowed only through Apple Store and Google Play Store’s in-app purchases. “We have come to the realization that in-app purchases are not yet widely accepted in the MENA region,” Al Saleh says, with his startup now allowing subscriptions to be availed using credit and debit cards as well.
Al Saleh also reveals that the startup recently closed a seed round of US$1.1 million from strategic regional angel investors at an undisclosed valuation. In terms of future plans, Al Saleh wants to grow the business and further develop its product offerings by including features such as one-on-one virtual coaching, live classes, nutrition support, and tracking key health metrics, as well as onboaring top coaches across Middle East. “We [want to] look to understand what hinders the user in the MENA region from reaching their health goals, and will not rest until we have provided them a solution that empowers them to be the best versions of themselves.”
Nezar Al Saleh, founder and CEO, HOT Technologies
What’s your advice for fellow entrepreneurs to get their businesses through the COVID-19 crisis?
“Be ready to adapt immediately, which means not to be entrenched in any process or system previously set up. Set up your operations in a way where it can scale without a lot of effort. Most importantly, invest in your team by creating an environment that allows them to thrive, because when a crisis hits, nothing other than solid and smart team effort will make a startup succeed.”
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait, and why?
“Because technology allows us to go defy any border, I would urge any entrepreneur to create a solution that is scalable into other markets. Kuwait is an excellent market with a lot of opportunity to test out various concepts, but real success comes when your solution helps people regardless of where they are.”
What are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
“Kuwait is an economy that is heavily dependable on fossil fuels, I see a great opportunity in beginning to explore solutions that help with energy diversification, environmentally friendly solutions, and sustainable consumption.”