📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Entrepreneur Ziad Sankari Distinguished At The White House As a 'trep, there might be almost no bigger validation of your success and innovation than having an award presented to you by a head of state, and that validation only increases when your enterprise is based in a highly competitive and developed market.

By Fida Chaaban

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Founder and CEO of CardioDiagnostics, Ziad Sankari, with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House

As a "trep, there might be almost no bigger validation of your success and innovation than having an award presented to you by a head of state, and that validation only increases when your enterprise is based in a highly competitive and developed market. Ziad Sankari, the founder and CEO of CardioDiagnostics, had that honor in May of this year. Speaking at the White House, President Barack Obama discussed "empowering pioneers like Ziad Sankari," noting how the young entrepreneur had first gone to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship and later won a competition that earned him seed funding to develop his invention, a heart-monitoring technology that clips to clothing waistbands. "Today, he is improving the way we respond to cardiac incidents, which will have enormous ramifications not just in places like Lebanon, but potentially all around the world," the President said, before thanking Sankari for "helping to save lives."

And how has being officially applauded by the White House impacted CardioDiagnostics' business? According to Sankari, demand increased immediately afterward, and the company had to speed up recruitment to keep on top on the new-found consumer demand. "The recognition was a remarkable moment in the progress of CardioDiagnostics. It has raised the bar for us to deliver more and more," Sankari said. "Although the cardiac industry in general is thought of as mature, our particular segment -wireless cardiac monitoring, long-term off-hospital monitoring- is quite nascent and hungry for innovation. Innovation in technology and business model have been the keys to [our] success in the advanced U.S. market."

At the age of 17, Sankari lost his father to heart failure, and that is what first spawned the idea for his invention. "The idea of monitoring patients with heart problems started after the loss of my father in 2003," he explained. "My education in computer engineering exposed me to the use of technology and modern communication to real-time monitoring of patients. [The] first prototype appeared as part of my final year project in 2007; technology was improved during my graduate education in the USA from 2008-2010. Then, a more advanced prototype appeared in 2011 through Stars of Science, a reality TV program sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. My first endeavor was raising money from Berytech fund and launching CardioDiagnostics in 2013."

Currently, the largest segment of the company's business comes from the U.S., followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Lebanon, with Sankari adding that the Turkish market is next on the expansion agenda. The company's devices, currently manufactured in the U.S. are FDA-approved, but at the outset, the biggest challenge faced by CardioDiagnostics was the "access to high-quality standardized manufacturing, which is required to produce a world-class product." Sankari says that CardioDiagnostics' innovations are two-fold: "creating a unique technology that allows dummy sensors to turn into lifesaving tools by leveraging the power of real-time analytics and cloud technologies. Our second innovation is building a lean business model to run an otherwise capital-intensive operation."

As someone who's extremely interested in the startup space, Sankari says that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. "Never have I read about a period in time that startups and innovation had that much attention," he said. "Never have we seen that many unicorns being born in [such] a short period of time."

While he is keen on self-enrichment, he doesn't necessary believe in the work/life balance debate in the established sense, instead referring to a "work/life integration," a mixture of social and learning time that he says works well for him as an active "trep. A big fan of Elon Musk, Sankari dubs the entrepreneur's ideas like Tesla and SpaceX as being "very bold and beyond this era. He acts upon his thoughts and dreams." What about tips for "treps looking to successfully penetrate a challenging enterprise space? "Analyze the market carefully, focus on innovation, exceptional customer service is key to success, and find the right partnerships."

Fida Chaaban

Chief Communications Officer, KBW Investments

Fida Chaaban is the Chief Communications Officer of KBW Investments, a privately held Dubai-based investment concern that works across multiple sectors. Prior to her most recent appointment, Fida was the founding Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East and Entrepreneur Qatar magazines. She is a big believer in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region’s startup ecosystem, and endeavors to use both print and web to positively encourage development in various entrepreneurial spaces and across industries. Based in Dubai, UAE, Fida is a social media enthusiast and sees it as the medium of today’s effective enterprises.
Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Women Entrepreneur®

Big Goals, Bold Choices: Nyla Khan, Founder, Casa Da Louisa Group

"My motivation to work in early childhood education is driven by the belief that every child deserves a chance to thrive, regardless of their circumstances."


5 Ways Solopreneurs Can Scale Their Business Through Collaboration

Our culture loves to perpetuate the myth that entrepreneurs must go it alone. But for many, the path to success is found in collaboration.

News and Trends

PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs, and Partners Come Together To Launch The Mega Green Accelerator With Eight Startups From The MENA Region

At the end of the program later this year, one winning company will be awarded US$30,000 in funds to continue its expansion.

Starting a Business

From The UK To The GCC: The Journey Of Aramas International Lawyers Founder Samara Iqbal

"Once the business is set up, it is then marketing the brand, and then networking, to make sure you are getting the work. Also, working with local agencies, officials, other lawyers and the government- it is all challenging, but truly rewarding!"

News and Trends

UAE-Based Param Labs Secures US$7 Million In A Funding Round Led By Animoca Brands, With Support From Delphi Ventures, Mechanism Capital, And Others

Strategic investments were made by Animoca Brands co-founder Yat Siu and FaZe Clan co-founder Richard "FaZe Banks" Bengtson as well.