There are not many startups in the region that focused on Muslim market. TaqwaTech as coined by Gobi Partners represents a tech industry which focuses on serving Muslim consumers, communities and business on their daily needs.
Early this year, when I returned from Umrah, I found out that there are some similarities of problem statement for our earlier product called Favorwatch which is meant to monitor the elderly person’s health and safety who stayed at home alone.
Every year, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) hosted to 2.3 Million of Muslims around the world to perform their pilgrimage. This number will increase to 30 Million by 2030 when Mecca has completed it’s massive expansion. This number does not include almost 7 Million pilgrims performing Umrah all the year around.
For the the first timer, many elderly pilgrims have difficulty to remember their way back to their hotels. With a language barrier, they have difficulty to communicate with other pilgrims. Pilgrims who stayed near the Abraj Tower might be fortunate since the tallk building can help them to find the direction but for many who stayed further away from the big mosque will have a big challenge to find their way.
Another worrying cases are the health condition when almost 80-90% of pilgrims will encounter what we called “Hajj Cough”. It can be a long period of cough and there’s no way for the health authorities of each country to monitor them.
In fact, there’s no technology or tool to monitor the pilgrims during the peak Hajj period when there are at Arafah, Mudzlifah or Mina. There are so many cases of people gone missing everyday. This does not take into account when there are emergency happen such as stampede that occurred several years ago that caused deaths to hundreds of people.
Thus, we have expanded the Favorwatch solution which is earlier meant for Hajj to become a solution to monitor the safety, health and also providing a peace of mind to the family members back home. The service is now called “Raqib” which meant “oversee or overwatch”.
The solution comprised of wearables to be worn by the pilgrims and be monitored via mobile app or web dashboard by the family members of the responsible Mutawwifs from the Travel Agencies. Currently, Raqib has been launched in Malaysia in Sept 2018 and have now received many queries from other Muslim countries. In fact, Favoriot is seeking investors to expand this service to other countries with the local partners for the upcoming Hajj season next year. meanwhile, this service is also available throughout the year for people who wants to perform Umrah.