October 20, 2014
“We want to be the culture for music, in a place where there isn’t any,” says Fahed Farraj, Co-Founder and COO. The word Feesheh translates to “plug” in Arabic, and the team wishes to connect Arabs to music by empowering the playing of music through their online instruments store.
Feesheh launched back in 2012 with the aim to disrupt the music industry in the MENA region and make playing music accessible to Arab musicians. The market in the Arab World is very fragmented offline as musical instruments shops are scattered in different cities with no go-to destination. Shopping online from US and Europe-based big players is not an option either; credit cards are not widely used in the Middle East, the brands that have distribution is the Middle East are restricted from shipping internationally, shipping is very expensive and takes forever, and language is a huge barrier.
Feesheh was founded by Nur Alfayez & Fahed Farraj. Alfayez is an architect, a vocalist, and a musical instruments lover/collector. Farraj is guitar player, a gamer and a rocker. He worked in various gaming startups in Jordan before co-founding Feesheh.com. Later on the team grew to consist of 2 sisters and 2 brothers and a Syrian musician along with freelancers in the Philippines and India.
The team is made up of young Arab musicians who understand what the market needs: though they are online, Feesheh offers the option of paying cash for products. They also pride themselves in being highly proactive in helping their customers choose the best instrument for their needs. They intend to expand access past the Middle East, as they have found that Arab and Oriental instruments are not easily accessible throughout Japan, Brazil, Italy, and India where they have received inquiries. The team looks to strike international partnerships to start providing ouds (the Arabian guitar) to global markets.
“Our company vision is simple but ambitious: a musical instrument in every Arab house,” says Nur Alfayez, Co-Founder & CEO.
Feesheh was launched after receiving training and a seed fund from the Jordanian accelerator Oasis500. After launching their platform in Jordan, the founding team of 2 decided to bootstrap and fund the startup from friends and family until they proved they were up to something. Farraj adds, “We needed to prove we had a market fit before expanding, and to do so we went beyond limits; we lived without salary for 2 years and worked endless long hours.”
Earlier this year, they closed an angel round from regional and international investors and accelerators. They followed this up with a 1st place win in a pitching competition in Jordan for emerging market startups called Seedstars World. Joining 500 Startups meant global validation and fast-track iteration of lessons learned. “You’re constantly racing with time to implement what you learn every day,” says Alfayez. She adds, “as an international founder, I had the privilege to see how the startup seen is in the US and interact with American and international founders. Interestingly enough we all think alike; an entrepreneur has the same DNA regardless of where they come from. The challenges are only different.”
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