IFC’s investment in Ibtikar is part of its $30 million Startup Catalyst initiative, which backs incubators, accelerators, and seed funds in emerging markets to deepen venture capital ecosystems and spur entrepreneurship. The aim is to build an ecosystem that can support entrepreneurs through the various stages of a start-up’s life cycle – from concept development right through to expansion.
For entrepreneurs like Zoabi-Othman, this type of support can often mean the difference between success and failure.
“We needed a partner to help us invest in marketing and scaling up and Ibtikar has been the best possible partner for us,” she says. “They offer more than just funding – they’ve given me a lot of help and have a lot of connections I don’t have, which allows me to focus on the app.”
Her vision is now is nothing less than to build the first and leading platform for mindfulness, mental health, and emotional intelligence for the Arab world and to improve the quality of life for Arabic speakers globally.