‘Women can fix your phone,’ that’s the motto for Fixtag, the first woman-run phone fixing startup in Saudi Arabia.
It all began when AlJawharah Alquahtani - the founder and CTO of the company - noticed a gender gap in the electronics market when she was studying Computer Science at the Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh.
Although both men and women in Saudi Arabia own phones at the same rate, the repair market is dominated by men, meaning that women prefer to throw their phones away rather than risk their personal data being hacked at a repair shop.
AlJawharah saw an opportunity to fix the problem by offering phone repair services by women for women. She began advertising her services on Twitter in 2015 and was overwhelmed with the response.
“This moto draws attention to our company, since it’s new to the Saudi community, where men usually fix mobile devices,” CEO Alanoud Alqahtani told Wamda. “Our slogan helps increasing people’s trust in us when it comes to their privacy. They trust women more, given their integrity and excellence in what they do, which requires accuracy and patience.”
AlJawharah’s twitter services have since grown into a business run by herself, her sister Madhawi as COO and their friend, Alanoud as CEO. Fixtag now operates two stores, one on Princess Nora’s University Campus and one on Exit 6 Road - as well as an online service.
Expanding their business was no simple feat and the company had to rely on their University for support. “To register a company, you need a municipality license that is hard and complicated to get for a startup,” AlJawharah explained. Our university helped us get this license since our shop is on its campus.”
Opening a store on campus helped Fixtag reach their primary audience. “Being within a women community, and in one of the biggest women universities such as Princess Nora Bint Abdul Rahman University, helps us reach our targeted clientele on a faster pace,” explained Alanoud. It also increased their business as half the Kingdom’s population is under 30 and spend most of their time at University.
Fixtag has reached over 18,000 customers so far and is hoping to increase this number by opening in new locations next year. The team is expecting to open stores at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah and at the King Saud University in Riyadh.
The company has found hiring women difficult; however, they have noticed that promoting Fixtag’s work on social media is increasing interest from female graduates. “We used these platforms to showcase our diary and the fun in our work,” said AlJawharah. “This attracted women and encouraged them to apply for a job with us.”
Fixtag’s innovative nature has drawn attention from the Kingdom’s investors and won first place at the 910ths Accelerator Showcase event last week. Thanks to the 100,000 Saudi Riyal prize, the woman-lead startup will be able to break further ground in the male-dominated world of electronics.