Palestinian entrepreneurs develop their startup in Estonia

Ismat Tuffaha and Lama Mansour founded BOLD Gadgets in the Palestinian territories, but decided to develop their company in Estonia, after being accepted to the Buildit Hardware Accelerator. Today, their Indiegogo crowdfunding project has already surpassed the initial goal by over 400%. The campaign has raised US$66,000 from 76 countries around the world and counting. We sat down with the company’s co-founder, Ismat Tuffaha.

What is BOLD Knot and how does it differ from other portable charging devices currently on the market?

BOLD Knot is a fashionable and fast power bank that is made to save you out in emergencies. It comes in a form of a stylish key chain and has the power of boosting your phone’s battery for up to three hours more talk time. It also charges your phone two times faster than other cables when it is used to charge the phone off of a computer.

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Other charging solutions in the market are bulky, heavy and ugly. BOLD Knot is a fashionable and light-weight solution that goes in harmony with your lifestyle and saves you out in dying battery emergencies without having to worry about the hassle of carrying those bulky chargers with their entangled cables, also because it has its USB cable attached to it.

At what stage is BOLD Knot now and what is the BOLD Knot team working towards for the next six months to a year?

We have started to sell our first product through Indiegogo about a month ago and today we have more than US$66,000 in sales. After the campaign, we aim to scale our sales through distribution and retail deals in the US, Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. We already have ongoing talks with several of them and we aim to expand larger. We will also be raising a round of investment after the campaign to scale faster. We are currently preparing for the manufacturing of the first batch of production which will be delivered to buyers in October 2015.

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Why have you decided to register and run your startup in Estonia?

45359_4927468747964_986932741_nAfter having joined an Estonian accelerator and worked among the Estonian startup scene, we have come to realise that Estonia is a very start-up friendly country that tremendously welcomes and supports new startups, whether local or international ones. We have found a very warm reception among Estonian organisations, entrepreneurs and people in general, which proves Estonia has an excellent start-up ecosystem. We are very happy to operate and manufacture BOLD Knot in Estonia.

What do you think is the biggest challenge in founding a startup?

Allocating the necessary funding to get you through the first stages of the business until you have achieved some notable traction.

Where can people buy BOLD Knot?

Currently it can be bought from Indiegogo.

What are the challenges that you faced due to working from the Palestininian territories, and how did you overcome them?

The most important challenge is the lack of resources and facilities to build a hardware company or even a simple tech product. The entire country does not have a proper 3D printer for example. We had to order every sample and print every circuit version abroad, and then because of the political restrictions on the borders, we had to wait for about a month to get every small piece we order to the country.

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At one point, it was impossible to go on with the project in Palestine, so we started to seek international funds and accelerators, and joining BuildIt in Estonia was the right move that made the biggest impact for the project.

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About the author: Taavi Raidma

Taavi Raidma is splitting his time between Estonia and the UK. He has studied in the US, Australia and the UK, most recently at the London School of Economics. He explores topics around data, marketing, technology and startups.