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Raising Capital

My startup story: Chadi El-Moussawi, Terap.io

How does it feel to be at the very beginning your idea? We asked Chadi El-Moussawi, CEO at Terap.io, a few questions about his startup journey.
Introducing Chadi, could you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you were doing before Terap.io?

Chadi: For most of my career I have been working in investment banking as a Portfolio Manager. Before fully devoting my energy to Terap.io, I was responsible for investments at pension funds and insurance companies of one of the biggest banks in Czech Republic.

Do you remember the first time you two thought of the idea for Terap.io? What was your vision back then?

Chadi: Yes, I remember the moment as if it happened yesterday. I was sitting on a balcony at my sister’s place and contemplating my next career steps. I knew that I wanted to build something of my own and do something that would positively impact society around me. At the time I was seeing a psychotherapist who was helping me to cope with my divorce and I just thought why such a beneficial service could not be done online. That evening I came up how it would work and that vision still carries until today. But of course the idea has been reiterated many times.

What were the first reactions you got from your friends about your mission to start an online therapy program?

Chadi: Most of the people around me were quite supportive. Of course that does not guarantee you success immediately. I would say that the first proof that this idea is onto something was when I introduced the concept of online therapy to my friend and soon-to-be co-founder Jan, who came on board soon after the idea was born.

What were your biggest fears when starting out? 

Chadi: Well I do not want to sound too self-confident but when we started working on Terap.io everything was exciting and that it overcame any fear. Of course you worry that you are working on something that might not pan out in the end, that somebody else will come up with the same idea before you, that you will not be able to convince investors that this project is worth their consideration and you run out of money, energy, etc. But I said that it will be a great experience for me no matter what happens.

Do you remember one epic mistake you made along the way? What happened?

Chadi: Well I would say that before we launched our first MVP we were obsessing with the perfect product and how to achieve it instead of bootstrapping, and having a leaner approach. We could have saved some money and time along the way.

If you were to choose one moment in the history of Terap.io you are particularly proud of, what would it be?

Chadi: I would say that I’m proud of the whole team, our therapists and volunteers who joined us during the early days of COVID-19 in spring 2020. In a short time we were able to react to the situation and leverage what we were capable of and through our initiative (free crisis interventions 30min.) help hundreds of people who were going through a tough period (as we all were). When you get positive feedback from users that we helped them, it was very gratifying.

And finally, what advice would you give to all the upcoming entrepreneurs out there?

Chadi: Have an open mind and be willing to listen to people around you who can help you along the way. Be able to provide and receive feedback that is constructive even though sometimes it is not simple or pleasant to do.

Adri Lejsková
Marketing Specialist at CzechCrunch Shine
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