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If you’re even remotely familiar with Bahrain’s nascent but fast-evolving homegrown virtual reality (VR) sector, the name “Mavi VR Studio” will probably ring a bell.

It’s one of the better-known Bahraini technology startups to have bagged a lot of media attention in the recent months — more so after emerging one of the runner-ups at the prestigious international pitch competition in March 2019.

StartUp Bahrain recently got in touch with Mavi VR Studio Co-Founders Moayed Ahmed and Shahad Alzaki, to discuss the company’s roadmap for 2020, expansion agenda, and the state of the Bahraini startup ecosystem, among other things. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about Mavi as the company braces for an exciting and eventful year ahead:

Redefining archaic approach to design

Mavi’s objective is to deploy its homegrown VR/AR solutions to turn run-of-the-mill design sketches into high-quality interactive visuals. In other words, the startup aspires to disrupt the archaic approach to design using modern technology.

While Mavi’s services are for the most part industry-agnostic, they’re particularly popular in the real-estate sector. This is hardly surprising given that the two co-founders — Moayed and Shahad — are both experienced architects. So obviously, they made a special point to fine-tune Mavi’s products in sync with the needs of the rapidly changing real estate and architectural sectors.

Fondly reminiscing the origin of their brainchild, Moayed noted:

“The idea had started when we, as architects, realized that our clients have trouble understanding 2D drawings and the extent to which it reflects their dream houses or projects. 2D designs are too technical for them, and even with 3D designs, they were able to view one side of the design only and that has led to many disappointments.”

Moayed is optimistic that Mavi’s unique approach using VR will help resolve these issues for good.

Spreading XR tech beyond gaming & entertainment

Since the company’s inception in 2019, Mavi hopes to spearhead the introduction of sophisticated Extended Reality (XR) technologies in the Bahraini market through various sectors.

For the uninitiated, XR tech is the umbrella term for a wide range of real-and-virtual combined environments involving wearables that facilitate realistic human-machine interactions. So far, XR technologies are primarily used in the entertainment sector — the video game industry is a prime example.

However, Mavi’s goal is to revolutionize the use and reach of XR in virtually all walks of life.

“XR technologies are efficient and contribute to reducing costs and hazardous risks and it goes beyond that to speeding and easing the learning cycles in the educational sectors.“

More specifically, in the case of the real estate and architectural sectors, XR has the potential to reduce the complexity of technical drawings by a great deal while simultaneously making it easier for clients to better-visualize the projects.

In fact, using Mavi’s AR/VR solutions, clients are able to live, interact, and modify their projects with the utmost efficiency much before the project enters the production or building phase.

Similarly, Mavi’s homegrown XR solutions could potentially revolutionize the manufacturing sector in multiple ways. For example, the use of VR/AR in industrial training could drastically reduce injuries and damages.

As for the education sector, the potential of easily accessible simulated realities is practically endless.

A well-calibrated expansion roadmap

With an extensive network of clients and partners, along with investors’ trust, Mavi is already a force to reckon in the AR/VR market in Bahrain. The company will possibly spend the next few months further consolidating its grip in the home turf, following which, it plans on establishing a pan-GCC presence over the next couple of years.

The company also intends to build a large portfolio of products designed to serve businesses, as well as the consumer market.

The current state of the Bahrain startup ecosystem

Acknowledging that the Bahraini startup ecosystem has come a long way in recent years, Shahad noted that things have particularly improved in the last three years.

“[….]we have noticed in the past 3 years how the ecosystem developed and became very well equipped with all the needed resources for any startup to establish and grow in Bahrain.”

Mavi seems to be particularly appreciative of Tamkeen, the labor fund that’s often hailed as the backbone supporting the Kingdom’s growing startup ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Mavi’s journey so far has its fair share of challenges. Shahad noted that the lack of awareness of XR technologies and their potential in various walks of life has been a major hurdle that Mavi needs to overcome.

Highlighting another challenge that the company has had some success resolving, she added:

“One of the main challenges we are still facing is that many stakeholders in the market view us as only a service-based company while we are a technology solutions company.”

Would you like to know more about Mavi VR Studio and its founders? Where do you see the company (and Bahrain’s homegrown AR/VR market) heading over the next 3-5 years? You can get in touch with the StartUp Bahrain team via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Do not hesitate to reach out with your questions and/or feedback.

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

Jenan Al-Mukharriq

A highly driven organizing member of the StartUp Bahrain ecosystem. And a Project Manager at Matter In Hand with a passion for content creation and empowering communities.