Meet José – Co-Founder & CCO of Key2enable, one of three startups chosen to represent Team UAE at this year’s Entrepreneurship World Cup. Innovating in digital accessibility, startup company KeyeEnable empowers people with disabilities to develop their skills and individualities.
What did you do before becoming an entrepreneur? What inspired you to switch?
Actually, I became an entrepreneur at 17 years old and by taking such a huge risk, I have no regrets. My parents were poor, and this motivated me to work for myself. The overall experience of being an entrepreneur has taken me through ups and downs, but I always enjoy trying to build the best solutions for the biggest challenges. I have learned a lot from my mistakes over the years and I advise others to always ask for help when you don’t know something.
What markets do you hope to enter in the next 12 months?
We hope to enter the Indian and Asian markets and are in the process of rolling this out soon.
How important is a business mentor for startups?
Finding the best business mentor is not easy, but when you find them, you also gain their circle of connections. They can introduce you to important people that can support the future of your startup and get you into events you didn’t have access to before, and of course, their experience.
Who is your business mentor and what is it that they offer you?
I would say Swethal Kumar, who is ex-Mubadala. He is more than a mentor; he is a true long-term friend who is now part of Key2enable UAE. He is not only helping us with our financials but also with making important connections and developing our business plan, opening our minds to many other possibilities and approaches.
What would you say to an investor/VC that’s never been to the UAE?
Please come, because this country will be the best place to live, invest and flourish in the next few years. The world is paying attention to everything that is happening here.
What makes a good investor?
I once was an investor back in 2005, and like many others, I made some mistakes. What I learned is that investors need to research the market correctly and be in sync with you and your business goals or at least pair you with someone who can help guide you, especially if you don’t have the time to do it yourself.
What are the biggest areas for Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning tech sector?
We always hear about FinTech and HealthTech. But I see that almost all sectors here needing technology or at least increasing its use. For example, as a tourist there are now apps available if you park your car and you don’t have coins with you.
What advice would you give anyone who’s considering starting up for themselves?
Please, please, please, don’t think your idea is the best in the world, unless you have spent months searching for everything that is already in the market. Additionally, try to build your MVP the best you can and check how the market responds. Once you win your first client, go ahead, you’re on the right track!