Noor Sweid started her professional life as a strategy consultant in biotech and pharma; she then moved back to Dubai where she joined her family business, Depa, an interior contracting company. She helped grow it from $60M in revenue to $600M over 8 years. When it became the biggest such company in the world, Noor led its IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
In parallel, Noor founded ZenYoga, the first yoga and pilates studio in the MENA region. It grew to become the largest chain of wellness studios in the Middle East and was sold to a private equity firm. Noor currently owns and runs Global Ventures, a Dubai-based, growth-stage VC firm that invests in emerging markets.
I was curious to know, given these very different life & work experiences: what were the big lessons learned? It kept coming back to just one: you need a good story. Whether you’re building a yoga business or selling a contracting firm, people need to understand and believe in your vision. I also asked Noor why and how she does what she does. My favorite quote of the episode is “Good enough should be the bar” – am delighted that Noor shares my distaste for perfection. You’ll have to listen for more context – and loads of book recommendations.
In 2018, Noor was named by Forbes as one of the World’s Top 50 Women in Tech, and she received the Arab Woman Award for Finance. She has been named in the Arabian Business 100 Most Powerful Arab Women list three times. Noor is Chairperson of the Middle East Venture Capital Association, was on the Founding Board of Endeavor UAE, and serves as a Director for MIT Sloan, TechWadi, and The Grooming Company.
By the way, some funky stuff happened with the studio’s recording system this time, so today we are literally going to get right into it!