The competitive edge of TAQADAM

KAUST startups iStoria and Seavo don’t have much in common at face value. iStoria is a self-study English learning app. Seavo develops electric, e-mobile water scooters. What the startups do share is a competitive edge that sets them apart from other startups, thanks to the power of TAQADAM, a Saudi-based accelerator founded by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). 

Both startups are graduates of the KAUST Innovation 2022 TAQADAM cohort 6. Like others from across the Middle East and world who have joined the accelerator, the founders of iStoria and Seavo did so knowing that TAQADAM would help them transform their business visions into reality.

iStoria: succeeding through stories

iStoria team led by CEO Abdullah AlJaberi

Led by CEO Abdullah AlJaberi, iStoria is on a mission to be among the top language development apps in the world. Unlike other English learning apps, iStoria engages subscribers through immersive reading and storytelling to help busy learners improve their English vocabulary. Using a graduated learning model and custom learning plan, readers can gain 400 new words a month, and master English in as little as eight.

When iStoria first joined TAQADAM, the benefits were obvious to AlJaberi. The program provided access to mentors, investors and resources — essential tools to build a world-class business. What AlJaberi didn’t expect was how important TAQADAM would be to the iStoria journey. 

“The impact of TAQADAM exceeded our expectations. The high-quality content and well-designed programs not only strengthened our proficiency, but also elevated the overall quality of our work,” AlJaberi said. 

This guidance helped iStoria achieve some incredible wins, gaining more than 200,000 registered users, 10,500 subscriptions, a 4.5 star rating on the app store, $260,000+ USD in generated revenue, and a 10x growth rate. That’s an impressive start.

As a result of completing the six-month TAQADAM accelerator, the business now has a more compelling pitch and strategic business plan, as well as access to investors and a wide network of community and startup founders. KAUST Innovation is proud to see that iStoria is well on its way to being a top language learning app. 

Seavo: going the distance

Seavo Founder, Aly Mohamed, pitching on stage at the TAQADAM 2023 showcase

The water sports market has traditionally been niched and slow to change, but Seavo discovered that the market is ready for new ideas and growth. Seavo develops electric water vehicles and a fleet management system to make marine e-mobility more affordable, accessible and safe. The experience is enjoyable for the consumers, and businesses can rent, collect payments and geofence the marine e-scooters with ease.

Since launching the company in 2021 and graduating from TAQADAM in 2022, Seavo has certified its first e-water scooter model, partnered with marinas and water sports rental companies, and implemented the fleet management system. 

“TAQADAM enabled us to address various challenges, which significantly boosted our progress. The comprehensive support in financial, design and legal consulting as well as dedicated mentorship tailored to our startup’s needs has been particularly beneficial,” Seavo Founder Aly Mohamed said. 

Seavo has now entered the Saudi Arabia market, and continues to expand its product line and improve the fleet management system while contributing to the sustainable growth of the marine recreational industry in the Kingdom. 

Building momentum

Both Seavo and iStoria are well-equipped to build on their momentum to date, and TAQADAM is designed to continue to be a part of their journeys. 

As Seavo Founder Mohamed said, “We have found the strong sense of family and community within the TAQADAM team and alumni to be incredibly beneficial. Our network of experts and entrepreneurs has expanded exponentially, and we believe that wherever we travel, there will be a fellow TAQADAM participant to connect with and collaborate.” 

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