Two start-ups – ClassTap and PARTIX – that excelled in the 8th cycle of the XLR8 programme are set to commercially launch their ventures in the local market in March.

ClassTap has developed a digital platform offering fitness fans easy access to classes and day passes to gyms around Qatar through one smartphone application and under a single membership. While PARTIX will launch an online platform that aims to digitise the automotive spare-parts business.

At the outset, ClassTap’s mission was to develop a digital product that motivates people in Qatar to lead healthier lifestyles by inspiring, connecting and introducing them to new experiences. The team recognised the difficulty people have with committing to one specific routine which becomes demotivating. ClassTap’s solution to the problem is to introduce the community to all the workouts and fitness classes available across Qatar via one app and membership, thereby giving them much-needed flexibility. The fact that 30 gyms have already signed up to ClassTap is a measure of the app’s future commercial potential.

Heading up ClassTap are co-founders Bashar Hudhud, CEO, a seasoned entrepreneur, and Chief Creative Officer Rana Majeed, an entrepreneur with two master’s degrees from IE Business School in Spain. The pair recall how, when XLR8, a programme at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, began in September 2019, ClassTap was just an idea. They credit the ‘hands-on’ programme with helping develop it into a market-viable product.

“Throughout the programme, we learned to define our value proposition, segment our market, conduct interviews and validate the market,” they said, adding: “By the end of the programme, we had a full business model, product prototype, and market validation data to support it.”

As a sign of its potential commercial impact, ClassTap was immediately approached by Qatar Sportstech, a Start-up Bootcamp branch, to join their programme ─ an offer including financial investment.

Shortlisted as a finalist in the 8th cycle, team PARTIX described how the XLR8 programme helped them develop their idea of an online platform that aims to digitise the automotive spare parts business. Via a single app, users will be able to immediately access a comprehensive list of suppliers in the area, along with their prices, allowing motorists to obtain the spare parts they need at a price that suits them, rather than having to hunt for suppliers and manage price variations in the traditional way, saving both time and money.

The four-member team comprises Ali Abbas Mohamed, Mohamed Khodadady and Mohamed Hamid Elfadl, all mobile application developers, and Fahad al Naimi, a chemical engineering graduate of Qatar University and a project manager at Qatar Shell.

The XLR8 programme has three main modules: Product-Market Fit, Customer Traction and Attracting and Pitching to Investors. PARTIX cited the ‘customer validation’ workshop as the most interesting and important, saying: “It asked us to live and experience our customers’ lives, speak their language and witness their challenges.”

Like ClassTap, PARTIX continues to get good advice from its mentors as it prepares to launch its product, boosting their confidence in its potential for future success and growth.

The team advises future XLR8 participants to use their interaction with their competitors as a spur to work harder, telling them to: “Have patience and remember that, without good teamwork, the idea will die.”

Cycle eight of XLR8 concluded in November 2019, and attracted a record number of participants. In a first, it featured the three finalists of season 11 of Stars of Science, Qatar Foundation’s popular edutainment reality TV show and the Arab world’s leading innovation show. The intensive 10-week training and mentorship programme helps aspiring tech entrepreneurs transform ideas into products with real, potential commercial impact.

A total of 23 start-ups have emerged from XLR8 so far, including five companies currently enjoying commercial success, both in Qatar and foreign markets, with the support and guidance of XLR8’s leading global network of mentors, start-up founders and industry experts with real-life experience. The ninth cycle of XLR8 kicked off on February 9, welcoming 19 potential entrepreneurs to the programme.