Gadi Nir began as a physiotherapist but now finds himself as one of the first Israeli CEOs to make a deal with a company in the United Arab Emirates.
Nir co-founded Bo&Bo Ltd. in 2015 with the idea of using interactive technology to make rehabilitative therapy more efficient and fun at a lower price than methods that had existed before. Bo&Bo now sells its Bobo rehab and fitness products to hospitals, clinics, trainers and more, with an eye on significant expansion now allowed by the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE that was facilitated by President Trump and announced in August.
"We started to try and enter the UAE market a long time ago because we know this market is good," Nir said in a phone interview with FOX Business. He noted that the medical market there is still in its infancy and there are great opportunities for innovation.
The problem in the past, however, was that there were too many hurdles in the way of gaining a foothold in the territory due to the lack of relations between the two countries.
"Every step we found an obstacle," Nir said.
In order for an Israeli firm to have their product in the UAE before the peace deal, the company had to "shift some operations to China or use a third party company to sell," Nir said. Such steps were too expensive and time-consuming for a small business like his.
"When we heard about this historical agreement," Nir said, "we were all very excited."
Nir said his company quickly moved forward, and for the first time was able to direct phone calls with UAE company that they will be working with to have their products sold to the Arab world. Another result of the peace deal is the establishment of direct commercial flights between the countries, allowing Nir’s staff to hop on a plane and be in the UAE in three-and-a-half hours so they can train the sales team there.
With other countries rumored to be on the verge of making similar peace deals with Israel, Nir recognized that there is potential for an even greater Arab market. With that in mind, Nir made a deal with the UAE firm, which has not publicly identified itself yet, to give them exclusive distribution rights for all Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Those include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Clinics and hospitals in all of these countries will now be able to purchase Bobo medical devices, as well as remote treatment programs that the company offers during the coronavirus pandemic. They will also be selling athletic training programs for children and athletes directly to consumers online.
With Israel on the verge of establishing diplomatic ties with more and more of the Arab world, Nir believes business will pick up for everyone involved.
"Things are going to change very soon," he said.