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Instabeat: A pioneering journey from Beirut to San Francisco

A ground breaking swimming monitor mounted on your goggles that tracks, stores, and displays instant feedback of your heart rate to reach your training goals.

A little-known device has taken the world of wearable technology and swimming by storm. "Instabeat is a heads-up display for swimmers to track, store and visualize their heart rate in real-time to optimize their workout and allow them to reach their peak performance".

The brainchild of Hind Hobeika, a Lebanese-born tech entrepreneur, the device has revolutionized the way swimmers track their performance.

Hobeika herself, a competitive swimmer and avid yogi, Came up with the idea for the device while she was in college at age 22. She would spend the next few years perfecting the concept. She participated in the Stars of Science competition in 2010. She won 3rd place after developing Butterfleye’s (now Instabeat) first prototype.

Hobeika told Wamda that the team has worked for two years before finally settling on the product’s features, design and moving onto the manufacturing process. Little did Instabeat's team know that this is where things will get feistier. In that same interview, she described undermining manufacturing as “her biggest mistake.”

When the company started out eight years ago, the world of wearable technology wasn't as fragmented and as competitive as it is today. Now, to cope with the diversity of the products in the marketplace and competition from tech giants like Apple and Google, Instabeat commits to providing a tailored experience for everyday users, not only professional swimmers.

Following in the footsteps of many well-known entrepreneurs, Hobeika quit her job in 2011 to focus on Instabeat full time. She raised around $6 million from various investors, including $56,374 via Crowdfunding and established her headquarters in San Francisco. The device quickly grabbed the swimming worlds attention.

Instabeat won first place in the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Business Plan Competition in 2012. Moreover, the product was selected as one of the 7 hottest Global startups of 2013 by Forbes. Also, voted the Best Wearable technology in CES 2014 awards. In 2014, Hobeika was also named one of BBC’s 100 Women List for “igniting change around the world.”

Hind and her team at Instabeat

Hobeika’s leading vision was indeed inspirational to women in the MENA region. Not only for defying traditional gender norms, but also managing to use whatever resources on hand to create innovative prodcuts and services. In 2012, she spoke at the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland as a “Leader of Tomorrow”. Later she was selected to participate in TED’s INK Conference in India. Lastly, she was invited to speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit by former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016.

Earlier this year, Instabeat’s team has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. They managed to sell 1,000 products and raised twice their targeted goal. The campaign contributors came from all over the world; Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S.

#instabeat #hindhobeika #startup

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