We had the opportunity to speak to Suna Zoabi-Othman, Founder and CEO of Tawazon - a mobile application that provides personalized guided meditation techniques in Arabic to reduce stress, stimulate relaxation and induce deep sleep. Tawazon consists of a vast, integrated library of body-guided meditative techniques to choose from. Created with the help of mental health professionals, the app incorporates AI technology to curate the most effective meditations for an individual based on the dominant emotion they feel.
Suna speaks to us about her experience starting up in Abu Dhabi and the importance of meditation and wellness in the current environment, as well as the long car drives she had, that eventually lead to the creation of Tawazon.
What inspired the idea behind Tawazon?
Tawazon was an idea in the works for a year before it emerged into the final product. I came across the concept of mindful meditation through audiobooks and TED Talks that accompanied my long drives to work. Curiosity on the topic soon drove me to do my own research on brain activity before, during, and after the meditative process. Limited market availability of wellness apps in Arabic provided the perfect opportunity to launch Tawazon.
By organizing customizable meditative techniques that cater to various psychological needs, Tawazon brings about a positive change in emotional intelligence and intuitive development at an individual and community level. The Tawazon app is available in all app stores, enabling users to choose between free and paid subscription packages.
How did you find your way to Hub71? What attracted you to Abu Dhabi?
We applied to Hub71’s Incentive Program after a recommendation from the folks at MIT Enterprise Forum. We got selected as one of eight startups that were picked for the 2020 Hub71 MENA Growth Competition 2.0.
I found that Abu Dhabi welcomes entrepreneurs to set base in the country, by providing business opportunities in not one, but many sectors. The UAE government has also been very supportive of small and medium businesses in the form of laws and legislation that encourage investment - to diversify the economy and enable growth.
How have the challenges caused by the pandemic affected demand for your app?
The demand for meditation and wellness is still on the rise during the prevailing pandemic, as people continuously face challenges in navigating their lives. Tawazon acts as an effective tool in dealing with stress and anxiety by cultivating a positive mental headspace and thereby enhancing the quality of life.
We at Tawazon, seek to improve the life of the common Arab person, and the Arab community at large, by developing a mobile application that provides short, concise, and scientifically proven meditation sessions daily.
How do you see technology shaping the wellness sector in a post-COVID-19 world?
With social distancing and lockdown orders in place, many people are currently dealing with anxiety and depression. As a result, meditation and mindfulness apps become a necessity. I believe Tawazon will likely see continued demand even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, as people have come to recognize the importance of mental health and maintaining one’s psychological well-being.
What tips would you give to founders who want to succeed?
Understand your goals and create a chart plan. Listen to your inner voice and bring in people that believe in your vision. A business plan might change in time, but the core of your concept should remain. Surrounding yourself with people who can also mentor you is an incredible way for your business to thrive in the market.