ViaVii Plus, supported by QSTP’s Tech Venture Fund, Promotes Creator Economy for Tour Guides and Experience-Creators in MENA Region
DOHA, Qatar, Sept. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) announces the launch of ViaVii Plus, a comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform designed for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s travel experience creators, workshop providers, tour guides, and tourism companies offering unique activities to travelers and locals.
ViaVii Plus, developed by QSTP-incubated startup ViaVii, offers a seamless and intuitive booking management system and zero-code website builder, empowering service providers to manage and sell top-notch experiences in the region.
The platform – available in both English and Arabic – helps simplify the complexity and cost of developing and maintaining tours and activities websites and provides access to marketing and advertising tools, thus allowing a broader market reach and increased revenue for vendors.
Initially, ViaVii.com started off as an online marketplace that connects travelers with local hosts offering authentic experiences at their destination. According to the startup’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rola Fayyad, after having served over 10,000 travelers and digitized over 500 hosts from around the world, that concept has now evolved with ViaVii Plus.
ViaVii Plus supports vendors by allowing them to subscribe to the platform and promote their tours and activities. This gives them control over their brand image and how their services are presented. The platform supports a creator economy as any host can enlist within five minutes and open their own e-store without any prior technical experience.
To facilitate customer payments, vendors can opt to use ViaVii Plus’ payment services, or seamlessly connect their own payment gateway to ViaVii Plus through the dashboard, as the platform supports localized payment gateways.
The startup first received seed investment from QSTP’s Tech Venture Fund (TVF) in 2020, and then again in early 2023 as part of an institutional financing round to help develop and deploy ViaVii Plus.
Fayyad says the guidance from QSTP’s TVF team was instrumental in the startup’s growth: “It’s QSTP’s team that sets them apart from other technology parks or institutional investors. They believed in us and our venture from the beginning when they first invested in our startup during the pandemic.”
“To this day, we receive strategic guidance from the TVF team on a monthly basis on aspects like improving the product, as well as understanding and penetrating our market better. We’re very grateful for QSTP’s support throughout our journey.”
As part of the platform’s development, the team is now increasing its user-base and forming value-adding partnerships, such as that with Experience Qatar, a destination management company, specializing in personalized and custom-made tours in Qatar.
Other notable partnerships include Jordan Tourism Board and Royal Jordanian (RJ), the country’s flag-carrier airline, to re-distribute ViaVii Plus’ authentic experiences on the partner platforms. Karim Makhlouf, Chief Commercial Officer, RJ, said: “Together, we’re not just promoting tourism, but weaving a tale of authentic experiences and local traditions. With RJ’s expansive reach and ViaVii Plus’ commitment to creating digital bridges for travelers, we envision a future where every visitor leaves with a piece of Jordan in their heart.”
In 2021, ViaVii was the winner of the category Prosperity – Opportunities for Growth in the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition, and was the only Arab startup to bring that title to the MENA region.
Natalia Bayona, Executive Director, UNWTO, said: “ViaVii’s remarkable growth is a clear testament to their innovative and technological approach, aligning with UNWTO’s commitment to fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in tourism. Their noteworthy recognition as winners of the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition not only highlights their demonstrated approach to harnessing technology, but also showcases the impactful role of female entrepreneurship in driving positive change. This underscores their pivotal position in shaping the future landscape of travel in the region and fortifying the sector´s dedication to innovation and technology.”
This month, ViaVii was selected as one of the top 12 finalists of the Women in Tech Startup Competition Middle East out of over 150 applications. The startup is currently in the process of raising pre-Series A financing as part of its continued efforts to grow the business.
Learn more about QSTP – a member of Qatar Foundation – and apply for the Venture Fund via Tech Venture Fund – Qatar Science and Technology Park (qstp.org.qa)
Qatar Science & Technology Park
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation, is a Free Zone, accelerator and incubator for tech-product development in Qatar. The park fosters an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar that works to accelerate commercialization of market-ready technologies to realize Qatar’s national diversification drive.
QSTP’s focus ranges across four overarching themes, comprising Energy, Environment, Health Sciences and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), in line with the Qatar National Research Strategy announced in 2012.
Located in Qatar Foundation’s Education City, QSTP has access to the vital resources of a cluster of leading research universities. Members of QSTP’s Free Zone include Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), international corporations and research institutions. They are collectively committed to investing in new technology development programs, creating intellectual property, enhancing technology management skills and developing innovative new products.
QSTP supports QF’s economic and human development objectives for Qatar and is increasingly recognized as an international hub for applied research, innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship.
For more information, please visit the QSTP website at www.qstp.org.qa
Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development, and community development.
QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF’s world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation’s development.
QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.
For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, please visit: www.qf.org.qa