Mohammed Kilany is a Palestinian social entrepreneur who graduated from the AAUJ in Palestine with a bachelor’s degree in IT and masters in MBA in Birzeit University, Mohammed is the founder of SnapGoal which is a first and fastest mobile app notifies football fans with Goal Videos in the live match, and founder of Sabbar, charity initiative to help less fortunate people through video story telling. and co-founder of Souktel, the first mobile phone-based service that helps job seekers in the Middle East . Mohammed has received several awards that recognize his innovation
Tell us about your business. What exactly does SnapGoal do?
SnapGoal is the first mobile app that let you watch the 10 second video of the goal as soon as it happens in the live match, and guess what, you only get goals of your favorite teams.
What motivated you to be an entrepreneur?
Challenges are the mother of innovation, people have different eyes when it comes to looking at problems, my eyes are always connected to finding the opportunity from turning these problems into solutions, and these eyes are always stand by when I practice my life. being an entrepreneur is a decision I took to show respect to myself, show love to my family and show pride to my country, because being an entrepreneur means creating the change in your and others’ lives.
How did you start SnapGoal? Can you tell us how did this all start?
Personal stories most the times are the motive why our mind is triggered, Let me tell you a story of where the idea for SnapGoal originated. My family and I were out watching my favorite team germany play during the 2014 World Cup. SUDDENLY, as the match started, my daughter started crying. Being the wonderful father and husband that I am I rushed to my daughters side. She wouldn’t stop crying so we decided to go home, missing the best parts of the game.
I started to look through Youtube to find the game highlights and noticed that every time I refreshed the window, there where thousands of more views. Many people search for these highlights, they’re the best part of the game. As you’re watching the game and the momentum builds up as the player is going through defenders to the goal and is about to score…….even when he does score the announcer screams….GGGOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!! Its the best!
But people aren’t always available to sit for the entire 90 minutes………and searching for the highlights can take time.
SnapGoal makes its easy! Through our app, users will receive highlights of their favorite team during the game in real time.
In 2014, I started in development after studying the market, completed the app design, in early 2015, I launched a beta version, since starting SnapGoal I was looking for a co-founder who believed in the idea and have everything to take this to the next step, I was lucky to find Hasan Odeh, in Aug, 2015, who was very interested in joining SnapGoal although we had no financial resources.
Does one goes to a proper school to become who you are? Where did you acquire this expertise?
We both studied in governmental schools like 95% of Palestinians, Experience comes from failing, standing up, and failing again, we both have started other startups who failed and we succeeded to gain experience about the next startup.
Who was your inspiration to go into this line of business? What made you wake up one day and say, “This is what Iam gonna’ do.”
We believed that football is a rich industry that is still hungry for new innovation specially in Arab World. we lived the experience of not being able to afford time to watch every single match of our favorite teams so we wanted to find a solution to better maintain the relationship between fans and their favorite teams. the promising future and the market opportunity what inspired us to work 20 hours a day in the last 2 days, faith all what we had to make this happen.
Who were you before becoming an entrepreneur?
I started 4 other startups in the last 10 years, only one (www.souktel.com) that made its path to be an international companies to provide SMS services for employment. I couldn’t stand the idea to work for a traditional company., I believed that I have the skills and determination to have my own company, after finding the problem, and studied the market I decided to quick Souktel and travel with a new adventure, this decision only took me 24 hours to make.
Did you ever think you will be running a company like SnapGoal one day? What would you have been had you not been is you were not in this kind of business?
Being an entrepreneur is not about the nature of the business but rather about loving challenges and determination to make marketable solution for these challenges, technology, experience and resources are keys to start your own business, but most importantly, the decision that will change your entire life which is deciding to dedicate and put everything single breath into something risky and you’re the only one to make it happen.
What was the hardest moment during those early years? (The most challenging part in this line of business).
I have put all of my saving from the previous company into SnapGoal, and I assumed to get funding in a short period after launching the application, unfortunately, We didn’t secure any type of funding, which made me run for a bank loan,then we ran out of cash again, then I started looking for a job to save the business and my family, and I succeeded to find a job that make both of us barely survive. investment is one of the biggest challenges that face every entrepreneur around the world, in Palestine, investment is unstructured and controlled by donation money which is even making the problem bigger as ecosystem is disconnected.
Secondly, We started with premium mobile where users have to pay for team subscription, and we found it very difficult to monetize the app through the premium service for one reason is that purchase power in Arab world is very rare, people would not pay for app although they think it’s valuable, additional to that, payment method difficulties.
How did you overcame them? (Your challenges and difficulties).
To be honest, I have not overcome the investment issue, however, We started looking for different ways to replace the financial challenge such as looking for international investors rather than local ones, and recently, we submitted a proposal to one of the biggest telcom companies in Palestine to build SnapGoal for the Palestinian local leagues. and we’re in final stages of closing the deal.
For the app monetization, we pivoted and turn the app to be for free while integrating app advertisement to fit the end users’ preference in arab world.
The market is tough on the blade when it comes to this line of business, how do you keep SnapGoal by being competitive in this industry?
Providing a unique competitive advantage is what will make us win the competition, other competitors are providing so many other services like news, stats and others, while SnapGoal is focusing on being distinguished by providing the fastest video goal in the live match, We wanted to be number 1 as a reliable source who brings the goal first to your mobile.
What makes you different from all others?
I believe focus is the most important thing in business, We created SnapGoal and we have one dream is to be remembered first when talking about who watch the goal first.
Who has been your greatest influence that inspired you in setting up this venture?
Dr. Ahmad Ghazawneh, is a friend and a public figure who is a professor in business field in IT IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark , Ahmad believed in me and always helped me remotely by discussing some issues and providing some advise, and i can’t forget the day i launched the app and i was concnered that i don’t have a marketing money, he said, stories are the marketing money and he published a post on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DrAhmadGhazawneh/?fref=ts to talk about my story and how SnapGoal is a good app to have. 5000 users downloaded the app in the same day. this is the power of inbound marketing.
What are your future plans for the business?
We’re working to legalize the local leagues in Arab world and build a partnership where we cover the local leagues in Arab countries, moreover, we have started to open channels with well-known sport channels who might find SnapGoal as a valuable element to their channel.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs when setting up their business?
Take advantage of priceless network you have and convert these networks to money. we have spent all of our lives building these networks, it’s the time to make user of it.
Always hire team members rather than employees, team members have responsibility and feel their part of the team, but employees always think of 8 hours. in SnapGoal, all team members are shareholders.
What business lessons would you like to share.
Best business idea may fail, and worst business idea may succeed, the only recipe is the people behind the idea, determination has power, and it’s the only motive that wake us in the middle of night to write down a note.
Tell us your future plans.
We’re focusing on building partnership with local leagues in Palestine, and then we’re replicating this experience in other Arab countries.