When the team behind ARVEX VR decided to take the leap into tech entrepreneurship, they entered a new reality – in more ways than one.
Based at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), they are currently incubating innovation that enables people to see life through a different lens, changes the way they view the world – and which they hope can bring a new dimension to education and entertainment.
A tech development and production company, ARVEX VR focuses on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications. The services it offers range from the generation of creative content – such as 360-degree video production and live streaming – to the development of AR apps, with some of the most recognizable names in Qatar already among the five-strong team’s client base.
AR has, in the words of ARVEX VR Co-Founder and CEO Ali ElDous, myriad potential uses and “endless possibilities”. He and his colleagues – all friends from their time as Qatar University students – therefore had to decide where their focus should lie. And they have chosen education because, as Ali says: “We saw it as a way of bringing something, and giving something back, to Qatar.
“We see AR as a tool for transforming digital education, by making the process of learning faster, and increasing students’ attention, engagement, and academic performance.”
And if this is to happen in Qatar, a Qatar-based startup like ARVEX VR is in prime position to make it happen, according to Co-Founder and Software Engineer Salman Badnava. “AR’s effectiveness in learning process is proven,” he said. “It enhances learning capacity and abilities, it leads to better decision-making, and it allows students to better digest information.
“And because we are a local company, made up of people who have grown up in Qatar and know the country so well, we are aware of Qatar’s culture and heritage and can reflect this in the technology we develop. It removes the need to outsource expertise. We want people to come to Qatar and see our technology, rather than simply coming here to provide us with theirs.”
The ARVEX VR team have already made a name for themselves. In 2015, they were among the winners of Challenge 22, a regional innovation award launched by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the organization tasked with delivering venues and projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“We know what we want to do, and we know what we want our technology to be capable of doing,” says Ali. “It all stems from curiosity – starting with nothing more than an idea, but knowing you can achieve something with that idea, that it can make an impact and bring benefit to your country and to the world.
“We all have our own skills and knowledge and we had a great idea, so we felt we could put that to good use and develop a homegrown product that touches people’s lives.”
This self-belief and sense of mission explains why the team see education as the ideal sector for their AR efforts. Having conducted testing to assess the visualization capabilities of their technology, they are now aiming to stage school pilot projects, focusing on chemistry, physics, and math. “Our aim is to demonstrate that this is something students will want to use, that it can enhance their understanding and improve their learning outcomes,” says Salman. “From there, we can look to develop our AR technology on a bigger scale.”
The home of this technology is QSTP, whose XLR8 program the team – which now also includes Creative Content Producer Ahmed Salih, and Co-Founder and Creative Content Director Ahmed Abdelaziz – graduated from in 2016, and whose Incubation Centre they have been based at since January 2017. “It’s a challenging place where we can challenge ourselves,” says Ali. “Being part of the QSTP network means we’re surrounded by people who have had the same experiences and emotions as we have. We share common challenges, and we help each other to overcome them.”
“We’re alongside 20 other amazing startups, where we all go to each other for feedback,” adds Salman. “Basically, I love it here, and I’m here even if I don’t have anything specific to work on.”
The ARVEX VR team have worked on plenty, and know what they are working toward. “We have a strong service delivery path and a clear product development plan,” outlines Ali. “We’ve secured clients and delivered projects and services to them. We aim to tap into different sectors – from education to sport to culture. And while we know we will face competition, we stand by our creativity and reputation for delivery.”
These fundamentals are the source of their belief in what ARVEX VR can achieve. “We’re a service-based company, but we know we have a unique product,” says Salman. “In the long-term, we will be well-placed to provide our own products, as well as our services, to customers. Ultimately, in the field of VR and AR, I hope we will be seen as pioneers.”
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Ali ElDous says: “Recognize that the team is the most important thing, and that a team needs to have a shared vision and shared commitment. It’s not a part-time exercise.”
Salman Badnava says: “Make sure you maximize your strengths and identify your weaknesses; develop the necessary skills that you don’t already have; and realize that every failure is a learning experience that adds a new piece to your life.”
To discover more about ARVEX VR, visit www.arvex.co