Every Thursday, ILQ features a different Qatari startup in our ‘Startup of the Week’ segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all across a variety of industries in Doha—from fashion and beauty, to food and dining, health, education, technology, and more!
This week, we're featuring hapondo, a property rental platform created to help tenants find the next place they will call home. It seeks to provide users with all the information and content needed to find their new house, apartment, or condo (hapondo) that they will call home.
Founded in July 2019, Abdulla Al-Fadhala, hapondo's Chief Executive Officer, shared how the idea was born.
While waiting for the bill after a casual dinner, our team laughingly complained about the expensive and challenging process of finding a new home in Qatar.
From the time-consuming activity of browsing unrealistic, low-quality photos, to not knowing exactly how much new rental properties cost given all the added fees, finding a new home in Qatar just wasn’t easy.
Our desire to create an innovative product/technology that could fill this gap and help solve the problems we (and many people living in Qatar) had faced was the driving factor for us in creating hapondo.
In December 2019, hapondo got incubated by Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), a Member of Qatar Foundation.
The QSTP Incubator program helped hapondo with their establishment and growth, business facilitation, and provided access to a network of mentors, funding programs, training, and prototyping facilities.
When asked about what makes hapondo different from similar businesses in Qatar, this is what Abdulla has to stay:
One of the main things that separate us from or competitors in our niche product – hapondo is focused on residential rentals. Also, we are based in Qatar, which means any future developments to the platform will cater to the needs of the Qatari real estate market.
For example, if we see a trend that most real estate companies are using the 3D view as a feature, then we can provide this feature in no time.
The CEO of hapondo also shared with ILQ their customers' feedback: "Our primary customers are real estate companies in Qatar. They have been very supportive to be part of the platform. Not only that, but we have been receiving fantastic feedback on the product and worked on it to cater to the needs of the market."
The ILQ Team also asked Abdulla his thoughts on startups and how beneficial are they on Qatar's economic growth.
Abdulla: "Our team is very keen to be part of Qatar’s digital transformation. Hapondo will contribute to the national goal of creating an integrated digital society that enhances people’s ability to participate in the building of a knowledge-based economy. Companies like hapondo enable Qatar to keep abreast of the digital boom, the world is witnessing, and advance the nation’s economic development."
ILQ: What is your advice for young entrepreneurs who are interested in establishing startups of their own?
Abdulla: Find a problem, solve it and build a business case around it. Building a startup is fun and rewarding, but always keep in mind the risks that come with it. Don’t start something that you can’t give 5000% of your time and energy to.
Look for someone (or a team) and become a cofounder – especially if it is your first time establishing a startup. Having a team will always push you harder and the thoughts of giving up will not even be a question.
If you make it, then perfect! But if you fail, it is alright, you’ve learned.
Renting a property in Qatar is not necessarily the most straightforward job. Hapondo is dedicated to delivering the best user experience possible through the platform.
The platform will officially launch next month – We are in the process of adding properties. However, users can freely access the website and start searching for the next place they will call home! - hapondo
Office Location: 2nd Floor, Innovation Center at Qatar Science & Technology Park, Al Gharrafa Street
Email: [email protected]
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