Startup Reedz brings English literature to the Arab world
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Tunisia-born Reedz is bringing English literature to the Arab world: A startup to watch

Tunisia-born Reedz is bringing English literature to the Arab world: A startup to watch

Designed as a mobile app, Reedz offers audiobook summaries of international bestsellers in Arabic

Marisha Singh
Reedz app offers arabic summary of english audiobooks

The startup Reedz, founded by Haithem Kchaou aims to democratise learning by offering Arabic speakers a window into the expansive world of English literature. Offered as a mobile app, users can access Arabic audio summaries of English non-fiction bestsellers along with a curated library of the most interesting podcasts.

Since its launch, the app has been downloaded by users across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Kchaou, the co-founder of the app speaks about his journey in this exclusive interview.

What inspired you to launch Reedz?

While studying in the US, I had the chance to read a lot of English literature. I extensively explored the non-fiction genre. However, upon my return to my home country – Tunisia, I realised that many Arabs had limited access to such valuable resources, often resulting from language barriers and the scarcity of translated work. As a matter of fact, Spain translates more books into Spanish each year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the ninth century.

Reedz app offers arabic summary of english audiobooks
Image credit: Supplied

This realisation was frustrating, but it drove me to find a solution to bridge this knowledge gap. This led to the creation of Reedz. Designed as a mobile app, Reedz offers audiobook summaries of international bestsellers in Arabic. Through the app, users can discover the crux of the book in just 20 minutes.

Our users won’t have to wait for the original book to be translated into Arabic, which might take years if it will ever be translated. Instead, through our app, they can find an in-depth summary just 24 hours after the book’s initial release. However, we are more than an app providing book summaries; we hope to be a gateway to empower individuals with the power of knowledge and foster a society that thrives on pursuing enlightenment.

What challenges did you face when you started Reedz?

Like all entrepreneurs, I have encountered my fair share of challenges on this journey. One of the most significant hurdles I faced was finding the right partner, which took several years. Building the product and fundraising is incredibly difficult without a cofounder/partner who possesses complementary skills and a shared vision. However, once I met Chehir Dhaouadi, things fell into place. We tackled the subsequent challenges associated with scaling and growing the business. We have built a strong foundation that enables us to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence and resilience.

Tell us about your offering, its USP and business model.

Our customers can use our app for free and access free content. They can also upgrade to the premium version for unlimited access to the entire library and additional premium features such as the offline mode, and the sleep timer. We are working to leverage the new capabilities of large language models to automate our content creation process, allowing us to offer much more content at a fraction of the cost. We also have upcoming exciting features for our users where they will experience the power of AI models to deliver quality personalised content.

How do you plan to raise funds to support the business?

Reedz has secured backing from Flat6Labs Tunis. Currently, we are in the process of raising a pre-seed round, aiming to secure $700k in funding. These funds will be strategically allocated to enhance our product’s capabilities, particularly bolstering our computing power for advanced AI algorithms.

What are your expansion plans?

We launched Reedz in Tunisia, strategically choosing it as a test market. Over the course of our first year, we refined our product based on user feedback. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with over 500 favourable reviews.

Empowered by this early success, we identified an opportunity to expand our reach to the GCC market. Armed with the insights gained from our Tunisian operations, we are now poised to make a meaningful impact in the region.

How has MBRIF helped you with your business?

We had the privilege of being part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) incubation programme in the UAE. This opportunity proved to be a game-changer for our startup as it provided us with unparalleled support and resources to expand our presence in the UAE market.

Through the programme, we were connected to a network of industry experts, mentors, and investors who not only believed in our vision but also provided guidance and mentorship along the way. The MBRIF programme accelerated our growth and gave us the visibility we needed to showcase our solution to a wider audience.

We are excited to continue our journey, leveraging the knowledge and connections gained through MBRIF to make a lasting impact in the UAE and beyond.

Read: GCC: Top startups to watch in 2023

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