Photo by Charalampos Tsirmpas
From Lebanon to San Francisco, Hind Hobeika has evolved from a young passionate swimmer to a mature entrepreneur.
Ten years of hard work and commitment did not do Hind Hobeika wrong. Over those years, she accepted the mistakes she made, pulled out the lessons she learned and worked harder on fulfilling her dream: Instabeat. When she first pitched her idea of creating smart goggles for swimmers, she was only 19 years old. Today, she is selling her product for the first time, at age 31.
Has she ever given up or hated her job?
She did this by committing not only to her dream and her passion for swimming, but also to her team, investors and clients who believed in her.
A few weeks ago Hobeika released the Instabeat into the market. Her product is what professional swimmers have been waiting for to make the most of their workout.
The name of the product is an abbreviation of the longer term, instantaneous heartbeat. Putting it in Hobeika’s words, Instabeat is “a real time heart rate trainer for swimming.” She adds, “It’s the only device that can mount on your goggles and give you a real time indication of your heart rate so that you can manage your performance and optimize your training.”
It all started with a passion
Hobeika’s idea was always fueled by her passion to swimming. As a professional swimmer, she felt the need for a tool that could count her heartbeats — rather than counting them manually — without having to wear an extra accessory on her body. So, she decided to participate in the famous science competition TV program in the Arab world, “Stars of Science,” where she was able to develop the first prototype for Instabeat. Shortly after, Hobeika registered the intellectual property of Instabeat and founded her company at 21. Back then, she was a fresh graduate from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor in mechanical engineering.
Photo by Sahra Jajarmikhayat
Kicking off at a young age
Starting her own business at a young age was everything but easy. She faced several obstacles and had to adjust accordingly. “Hiring people, raising money, developing the application and the website and creating the design and the packaging were all very challenging projects that I had to manage for the first time,” says Hobeika. So, how was she able to overcome difficulties?
“The first step is always to try,” says Hobeika. “The second step is to learn from the mistakes because there will always be an enormous number of those. Then, you need to find supportive mentors because mentorship is very important. I would say I had access to really resourceful ones who helped me at each step of the way.” She adds, “You also need to be around friends who share same interests and ideally who are running their own startups in a similar space.”
During her ongoing journey, Hobeika learned what it is to be resilient. She considers resilience as one of her fundamental keys to success. “You need to have the right attitude to keep trying after each and every mistake,” says Hobeika.
Part of this, according to Hobeika, is also to be wise enough to choose whose advice to take. “Don’t accept advice from anyone. Go only to people that you look up to and who have been successful in the industry,” she says.
Now and then
Over the past years, Hobeika has dedicated her swimming to test Instabeat goggles as a user. As she has given all her time to Instabeat, swimming has become part of her job.
She resorts to other types of exercise, like yoga, to escape daily stress.
Today, she manages a team of 10 people from her office in San Francisco, California, which is a hotbed of startups.
Her plans for the future revolve around selling Instabeat globally and developing the best versions of the product, over and over again. “I’m passionate about swimming, and I hope that through Instabeat more people will end up swimming or will enjoy swimming more” she ends with a smile.
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