Leila Muhaizen, a visionary entrepreneur with a profound passion for fostering connections within the Arab community, stands at the helm of Baklava App—a groundbreaking platform that has redefined the landscape of Arab dating and friendship.
Born in Lebanon and now a resident of the vibrant city of Los Angeles, Leila’s journey to founding Baklava App in 2020 was sparked by her own personal challenges in navigating the complex world of Arab relationships. This innovative app, a testament to her unwavering commitment, has not only transcended geographical boundaries but also facilitated over 10 million matches and facilitated the exchange of more than 100 million messages since its inception.
Leila’s compelling story of resilience and determination showcases her deep-rooted desire to bridge the gap between Arab individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations. With Baklava App, she has successfully harnessed technology to provide a platform that transcends traditional matchmaking methods and the need for frequent international travel to meet fellow Arabs.
Her visionary approach to creating meaningful connections within the dynamic and diverse Arab culture has been a driving force behind Baklava’s remarkable journey, shaping the way Arab Millennials and Gen Z’ers connect with potential love interests and friends across the globe.”
Leila Muhaizen faced a significant challenge when launching Baklava App, as the traditional Arab community primarily favored matchmaking through family connections. To gain the trust of her target demographic, namely Millennials and Gen Z’ers, Leila engaged them in a dialogue to understand their needs better. She discovered that while other dating apps existed, there was a void for a genuinely Arab-centric platform that could bridge the gap between familial connections and international travel. Baklava App was born to fill this gap, offering a unique solution that caters to the bicultural identities of Arab-Americans.
Baklava App’s design, from its playful Arab-specific prompts to its stylish artwork, embodies the essence of an Arab individual. The app incorporates flexible distance filters to connect Arabs from diverse locations, from New York to Los Angeles, resulting in numerous success stories of couples who were once strangers but found their soulmates through Baklava. Recognizing the importance of word-of-mouth within the Arab community, Leila collaborated with Arab American Influencers on platforms like TikTok and Instagram to share their positive experiences with Baklava, ultimately earning the trust of the community.
Through her journey, Leila Muhaizen gleaned several invaluable lessons. She likened starting a company to a marriage, where colleagues commit to each other through thick and thin, making decisions together and navigating financial challenges as a team. Leila emphasized the importance of not always striving to be a trendsetter but rather capitalizing on existing trends, as people often desire more of the same with a creative twist.
Another crucial lesson Leila highlighted was the significance of delegation. Recognizing that no one person can do everything best, she encouraged stepping into a mentorship role and allowing colleagues to excel in their respective areas of expertise. She also emphasized the value of people skills over technical ones, asserting that charisma and a compelling vision can be more valuable than a coding degree or an MBA.
Furthermore, Leila stressed the importance of staying closely connected to users, considering them as “children” in the company “marriage.” Nurturing these relationships and building brand loyalty through strong personal connections became a cornerstone of Baklava’s success.
Leila Muhaizen’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to seek out mentors who have successfully navigated similar product concepts. She credited her own mentor, an Arab-American with multiple successful exits, for providing invaluable guidance when she didn’t even have a clear idea. Leila emphasized that sometimes the roadmap to success is already paved; it merely requires replication.
She cautioned against the misconception that one must possess all the answers, highlighting the irreplaceable value of the human experience and wisdom gained from those who have walked a similar path. Leila encouraged individuals to reach out for help, emphasizing that many people are willing to lend their expertise and support to those with the courage to ask.