The first startup studio called Sqwirl Lab opened its doors in downtown Beirut. It will establish and grow its own in-house startups, handling all the administrative and managerial functions they need to become standalone enterprises. Further to that, it will also partner with the local venture capital firm Leap Ventures to provide seed funding.
The serial entrepreneurs Ziad Jureidini and Karl Abouzeid are the masterminds behind the project. They co-founded the delivery app Sqwirl back in 2015 and a year later they received funding and mentorship by Speed@BDD’s startup accelerator program. The company did over 5,000 deliveries by January 2017, however in spring it stopped making deliveries to focus on Sqwirl Lab.
Until now, it has established three new startups: Haulo ( Sqwirl’s successor); sociaLang, a platform for students learning foreign languages; and a platform for product development and design for fellow entrepreneurs. The company also existed the Speed@BDD accelerator program. The co-founder Jureidini commented:
To succeed you have to be willing to shift course radically when more promising opportunities arise. That is something we constantly keep in mind when growing our start-ups.
Karl and Ziad strongly believe in the potential of the Lebanese startup ecosystem. They have been actively looking for new starting businesses to transfer their knowledge and expertise and help them grow.