Hind Hobeika speaking about instabeat at a press conference to launch Al Fikra 2013 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel yesterday. (Kammutty VP)
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Hind Hobeika, one of the youngest women CEOs in the Arab world and the inventor of instabeat — a heartbeat monitoring device for swimmers —was here recently to share her great learning experience, at the MIT Forum with young Qatari entrepreneurs.
The Beirut-based entrepreneur was the first prize winner of MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Arab Startup Competition and third prize winner of Qatar Foundation’s “Stars of Science” Competition in 2010.
She spoke to The Peninsula about her innovative product, her learning experience as a young entrepreneur with the MITEF on the sidelines of the launch of this year’s ‘Qatar National Business Plan Competition, Al Fikra 2013’— an initiative of Enterprise Qatar (EQ).
EQ, an arm of the Ministry of Business and Trade, is responsible for developing a positive ecosystem for startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This year, it has entered into a partnership with MITEF of the Pan Arab Region.
The MITEF’s Global Startup Workshop (GSW) on Elevator Pitch Training and Competition provides innovators from around the globe with the opportunity to sharpen their presentation skills, build confidence and present ideas in 60 seconds or less to the GSW audience and win cash prizes.
“MIT business competition was very intensive and useful experience for me. It started with a workshop. The first 50 teams were taken to Abu Dhabi where they were trained in writing business plans and making presentations.
Training was provided by high profile professionals who imparted valuable advice that is very useful,” said Hobeika.
She added: “At the end of the competition, we had the perfect elevator pitch to go on to investors in the right way. It helped us achieve the ability to move on from ‘an idea’ to a ‘start-up business.”
Asked about the use of the product, she said: “Instabeat is the first waterproof heads-up monitor that tracks, stores, and displays instantly your heart rate during swimming to optimise your training and allow you to achieve your peak performance.”
The idea of the product came to her mind from her need as a competitive swimmer to keep track of her heartbeat while swimming.
“When you are swimming you cannot wear watches, belts and other cumbersome devices. As competitive swimmers, we were not able to monitor our heartbeats instantly with full accuracy while swimming. So I always thought of a device which is more practical and sleek that would help me swim faster,” she added.
Instabeat is an ultra-light device that can be fitted with the swimming goggles as an accessory. Swimmers can use this to get an instant reading of his/her heartbeat to optimise the workout accordingly.
Asked the present status of the device, Hobeika said: “Its manufacturing has started in different parts of the world, including the US, the EU and China. And instabeat will be available within four to six months in the market.”