SME story: Interview with Ziad Toqan, founder of Leap
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SME story: Interview with Ziad Toqan, founder of Leap

SME story: Interview with Ziad Toqan, founder of Leap

Leap’s on a mission to teach kids good money habits at an early age

SME story: Interview with Ziad Toqan, founder of Leap

What inspired you to start Leap?
I moved to Dubai after a stint in New York with a leading marketing agency.

Dubai is a city with massive opportunities. I briefly worked for a tech startup based here and that’s where I started to really think about gaps in the market and how we could introduce something impactful in the region.

After several months of researching the market and shortlisting a few potential ideas – the concept of improving financial literacy among the youth seemed most impactful.

Firstly, the financial literacy rate in MENA is currently below the global average (30.5 per cent) and at the same time, smartphone adoption among youth is one of the highest in the world. It was a perfect recipe for us to come in and bridge the gap between the two.

Leap’s on a mission to teach kids good money habits at an early age.

The concept of an app that teaches kids money habits really came from spending time with young relatives and noticing parents were still using the points system for rewards. Basically, the same point system my parents used on my brothers and I growing up in the 90s.

That was an eye-opener and I started questioning how something as important as this hasn’t still caught up with technological advancements.

There are many other financial literacy apps in the market, what makes Leap any different?
When we first set out to build Leap, we carried out a deep dive into the market to really understand what parents and kids wanted most in a pocket money management app.

We used that as a starting point and narrowed down on how can we create an incredibly easy experience that’s designed for both parents and kids.

The app is built from the ground up and puts the combination of financial literacy and user experience at its core. The app encourages a transparent, fun and engaging education in money management that’s very easy to use for both parents and kids.

We’ve made it simple for kids to learn by doing with the parental oversight needed to help guide them along the way. We’ve also rolled out unique features such as ‘Savings on Autopilot’ and ‘Savings Streaks’ and that incentivises responsible spending and saving habits.

And there’s more to come: new bespoke features, bundled subscription plans and a few more updates to look forward to.

Any challenges creating Leap?
Starting any business has a lot of ups and downs, learnings and of course, challenges. With that said, the UAE has really invested in the startup community by putting policies in place that foster and support entrepreneurship.

Setting up base in DIFC made it a lot easier for us to build a strong foundation and be able to hit the ground running – building an app from the ground up and truly turning our vision into reality.

What is Leap’s business model?
Leap offers a monthly subscription at Dhs20. We will be launching annual and family plans soon so stay tuned.

Have you received any funding? What about your future plans?
We’re pleased to have recently closed our pre-seed round. From the get go, Leap has been an extremely lean business.

We take the same mindset of cautious spending that we’re teaching kids as an approach to how we run our business. Spending cautiously and keeping a lean yet efficient approach is something Leap will carry on as we scale up.

Also read: SME story: Interview with Rami Shaar, CEO of Washmen (ShoeCare)

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