Today DUPLAYS turns 10

“Today, as DUPLAYS turns 10, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Dubai’s first sports + wellness co-working space to help the next generation of entrepreneurs grow their business.

Starting a sports business is never easy and we have faced our fair share of ups and downs. Every day we hustle. We have spoken to many of you over the years who are passionate about sports and wellness, but have found it hard to strike out on your own. High set up costs, changing regulations, rent, insurance and lack of access to mentoring have all contributed to dissuading many of you from starting your own sports businesses. We have collaborated with DMCC, Dubai’s leading Free Zone, to address those challenges.

‘nook by DUPLAYS’ has been designed with one thing in mind; supporting the growth and success of your sports, fitness and wellness business.

nook, in the heart of JLT, will enable you to:

  • 100% own your own sports business with a Dubai license + company bank account
  • obtain required insurance cover, NOCs, VAT registration, business support to operate legally
  • apply for NOC permission to operate in mainland areas as a free zone company: more info
  • work from an “enabling environment” where you can network with fellow sport + wellness startups & SMEs
  • activate your business at our on-site group studios, gym, training and event areas at One JLT
  • pay monthly as your business grows

10 years ago, DUPLAYS started out with a simple but important mission: help connect people in our city to play sports.

From that first pick up game of Ultimate Frisbee at the Met Hotel we have gone on to organize hundreds of nightly leagues and brought together thousands of like-minded sports’ enthusiasts to play the sports they love. We are proud that our sports leagues have brought people together, helped forge friendships, find better jobs, and heck — have even led to a wedding proposal on our softball fields (true story!). Along the way we also got to work with Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ronaldinho, among many other sporting stars.

Thanks for your support over the years. As always, your feedback and ideas are welcome, as we embark on this exciting new addition to the industry.

See you on a field/court somewhere soon.
Ravi & Derv
Cofounders, DUPLAYS

New co-working space for fitness companies opens in Dubai’s JLT

The 10,000 square foot workspace is located in the One JLT tower
A new co-working space dedicated to sports, fitness and wellness professionals has been opened in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).

Called nook, the facility has been established by the owners of sports provider Duplays and is located at the One JLT tower.

Nook will offer 200 licences covering over 35 industry activities with specialities in sports, fitness and wellness sectors, a statement said.

The facility will help members through the set-up process – from application, to registration and the issuing of trade licence.

The 10,000 square foot workspace offers three options including a shared collaborative workspace, a micro office for one person, and a premium office for larger businesses, seating up to four.

The monthly workspace rental plans are priced at Dhs2,500 for a shared space, Dhs3,000 for a fixed desk, and Dhs4,450 for private offices.

That does not include the yearly DMCC trade licence fee of Dhs11,000, and the monthly nook membership fees and company registration fees that start at Dhs499.

For industry professionals and companies not requiring physical office space, nook also offers a mobile startup package.

All packages include 24/7 access; free internet, printing and business support services; access to practice/training studios; and access to meeting rooms and PRO services.

Flexible payment terms are also available as an additional launch support service for start-ups getting their businesses off the ground, the statement added.

Duplay founders Ravi Bhusari and Davinder Rao said they established nook in response to the “business opportunities presented by the UAE’s growing sports, fitness and wellness industry”.

“We have been working in the sports and fitness industry in the region for almost 10 years now, and have seen the growing demand for professionals wanting to establish their own business,” said Bhusari.

“Setting up your own business as a personal trainer, sports coach, nutritionist or anyone in a complementary field, can be costly, take time and be a complex process.

“Because of our long-term relationship with DMCC, we have been able to work together to create a one-stop business support platform at nook. Our packages save industry professionals the time, cost and hassle of setting up their business.”

Nook will also host regular community socials, talks and training workshops, the statement said.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of DMCC added: “Supporting the journey of start-ups and small and medium enterprises is something we are deeply committed to at DMCC. We have a number of success stories, spanning different sectors, including technology such as Astrolabs – Middle East’s only Google Tech Hub, and have no doubt that the sports and wellness industry will follow the same path.”

The UAE’s fitness market is growing rapidly, and is expected to reach Dhs3bn by 2022, according to Indian market intelligence company Ken Research. The number of fitness outlets in the country will also exceed 1,400 by 2022, the report found.

Nook set to open in one JLT

Dubai’s first co-working space dedicated to health and fitness industry set to open in DMCC’s JLT district. Located in One JLT, nook will offer support to health and fitness entrepreneurs to set up business in Dubai through the provision of flexible workspace, licencing, and IT and business support services … reports Asian Lite News.

Nook – Meet & Greet (Supplied Photo)

Nook, the region’s first co-working space dedicated to helping sports, fitness and wellness professionals, announced today its partnership with DMCC, the world’s flagship Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, to open a co-working space in One JLT to support industry entrepreneurs setup business in Dubai.

Ravi Bhusari, CEO and co-founder of DUPLAYS. (Supplied Photo)

Ravi Bhusari and Davinder “Derv” Rao, the founders of DUPLAYS, the largest sports provider in the region, established nook in response to the business opportunities presented by the United Arab Emirates’ growing sports, fitness and wellness industry. The concept behind the pioneering idea is to provide all the necessary tools required by stage entrepreneurs to build businesses in a collaborative and inspiring workspace.

Bhusari, CEO and co-founder of DUPLAYS, said: “We have been working in the sports and fitness industry in the region for almost 10 years now, and have seen the growing demand for professionals wanting to establish their own business. Setting up your own business as a personal trainer, sports coach, nutritionist or anyone in a complementary field, can be costly, take time and be a complex process.”

Nook – studio (Supplied Photo)

“Because of our long-term relationship with DMCC, we have been able to work together to create a one-stop business support platform at nook. Our packages save industry professionals the time, cost and hassle of setting up their business, will offer them a premium address, flexibility of workspace to expand as they grow, and importantly, an environment that fosters networking and business opportunities in a like-minded community,” he added.

With 200 licences covering over 35 industry activities, a broad range of specialities within sports, fitness and wellness sectors can operate from nook. The nook team can guide members through every step of set up, from application through to registration and issue of trade licence.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC added: “Supporting the journey of start-ups and small and medium enterprises is something we are deeply committed to at DMCC. Our business-friendly environment, modern infrastructure and vibrant community provide the ideal setting for start-ups to grow and thrive. We have a number of success stories, spanning different sectors, including technology such as Astrolabs – Middle East’s only Google Tech Hub, and have no doubt that the sports and wellness industry will follow the same path. We are thrilled to be partnering with nook and look forward to contributing to the growth of the health and fitness industry in Dubai.”

Nook – Town Hall (Supplied Photo)

Start-ups will be able to plug into DMCC’s ecosystem; from the world-class smart district platform and high ease of doing business, to the supportive regulatory environment. The 10,000ft² workspace in One JLT, situated in the heart of the JLT District; offers a variety of options – from a shared collaborative workspace, to a micro office for one person, to a premium office for larger businesses, seating up to four. nook monthly workspace rental plans range from AED 2,500 for a shared space, AED 3,000 for a fixed desk, to AED 4,450 for private offices – not inclusive of the yearly AED 11,000 DMCC subsidised trade license, and the monthly nook membership fees and company registration starting at AED 499. For industry professionals and companies not requiring physical office space, nook also offers a flexible ‘Mobile Startup’ package that includes a number of time-saving features and services. Flexible payment terms are also available as an additional launch support service for start-ups getting their businesses off the ground.

Nook – The Village Well (Supplied Photo)

All packages include access to purpose-built practice/training studios, and a range of amenities and facilities such as 24/7 access; free internet access, printing and business support services; access to meeting rooms and PRO services, both internally and from a range of partners. nook will also host regular community socials, talks and training workshops delivered by external providers, experts and SMEs for added community networking and knowledge exchange.

Bhusari concluded: “Our vision is for nook to be a springboard to success for the hundreds of ambitious industry talents coming to our region to contribute their skills and services in their field of sports, fitness or wellness. Our industry has developed considerably since we set up our business, and helping others to succeed is something that is important for us. We look forward to many exciting success stories in our nook history.”

nook: Dubai’s First Co-working Space Dedicated to Health and Fitness

Located in One JLT, nook will offer support to health and fitness entrepreneurs to set up business in Dubai through the provision of flexible workspace, licencing, and IT and business support services.

nook, the region’s first co-working space dedicated to helping sports, fitness and wellness professionals, announced today its partnership with DMCC, the world’s flagship Free Zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise, to open a co-working space in One JLT to support industry entrepreneurs setup business in Dubai.

Ravi Bhusari and Davinder “Derv” Rao, the founders of DUPLAYS, the largest sports provider in the region, established nook in response to the business opportunities presented by the United Arab Emirates’ growing sports, fitness and wellness industry. The concept behind the pioneering idea is to provide all the necessary tools required by stage entrepreneurs to build businesses in a collaborative and inspiring workspace.

Bhusari, CEO and co-founder of DUPLAYS, said: “We have been working in the sports and fitness industry in the region for almost 10 years now, and have seen the growing demand for professionals wanting to establish their own business. Setting up your own business as a personal trainer, sports coach, nutritionist or anyone in a complementary field, can be costly, take time and be a complex process.”

“Because of our long-term relationship with DMCC, we have been able to work together to create a one-stop business support platform at nook. Our packages save industry professionals the time, cost and hassle of setting up their business, will offer them a premium address, flexibility of workspace to expand as they grow, and importantly, an environment that fosters networking and business opportunities in a like-minded community,” he added.

With 200 licences covering over 35 industry activities, a broad range of specialities within sports, fitness and wellness sectors can operate from nook. The nook team can guide members through every step of set up, from application through to registration and issue of trade licence.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC added: “Supporting the journey of start-ups and small and medium enterprises is something we are deeply committed to at DMCC. Our business-friendly environment, modern infrastructure and vibrant community provide the ideal setting for start-ups to grow and thrive. We have a number of success stories, spanning different sectors, including technology such as Astrolabs – Middle East’s only Google Tech Hub, and have no doubt that the sports and wellness industry will follow the same path. We are thrilled to be partnering with nook and look forward to contributing to the growth of the health and fitness industry in Dubai.”

Start-ups will be able to plug into DMCC’s ecosystem; from the world-class smart district platform and high ease of doing business, to the supportive regulatory environment. The 10,000ft² workspace in One JLT, situated in the heart of the JLT District; offers a variety of options – from a shared collaborative workspace, to a micro office for one person, to a premium office for larger businesses, seating up to four. nook monthly workspace rental plans range from AED 2,500 for a shared space, AED 3,000 for a fixed desk, to AED 4,450 for private offices – not inclusive of the yearly AED 11,000 DMCC subsidised trade license, and the monthly nook membership fees and company registration starting at AED 499. For industry professionals and companies not requiring physical office space, nook also offers a flexible ‘Mobile Startup’ package that includes a number of time-saving features and services. Flexible payment terms are also available as an additional launch support service for start-ups getting their businesses off the ground.

All packages include access to purpose-built practice/training studios, and a range of amenities and facilities such as 24/7 access; free internet access, printing and business support services; access to meeting rooms and PRO services, both internally and from a range of partners. nook will also host regular community socials, talks and training workshops delivered by external providers, experts and SMEs for added community networking and knowledge exchange.

Bhusari concluded: “Our vision is for nook to be a springboard to success for the hundreds of ambitious industry talents coming to our region to contribute their skills and services in their field of sports, fitness or wellness. Our industry has developed considerably since we set up our business, and helping others to succeed is something that is important for us. We look forward to many exciting success stories in our nook history.”

Riding High: Duplays and Nook Co-Founder Ravi Bhusari

Having built a thriving business over the last decade, the co-founder of Duplays is now embarking on a new entrepreneurial pursuit with nook, a co-working space dedicated to the health and fitness industry.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

If there were a secret to breaking into the sports industry, it might be too naïve to think that organizing a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee could lead to a business boasting upward of 130,000 registered members, raising more than US$1.2 million of outside investment, alongside expansions into other markets and business verticals. However, this statement sums up a decade for Ravi Bhusari, who co-founded his Dubai-based sports league business, Duplays, with Davinder Derv Rao in 2007.

Founded as a community for expats by expats, Duplays has grown its customer base by offering affordable and organized amateur sports opportunities, while shouldering the burden of registration, communication, and scheduling. Its strong market traction did not pass unnoticed by regional investors -namely Wamda Capital and BECO Capital, but Bhusari notes that he and his co-founder were keen on not stopping at just that. Duplays is currently going through a transition stage by moving away from a pay-to-play sports services (events management) model, to a platform model that will help empower others to actualize their sports interest. “This means continuing to build our technology offering to make playing sports easier, but rather than just connecting the community to play in our own managed sports leagues, we want to make it easier for people to book sports facilities via our app and website,” Bhusari adds. “We are trying to build Booking.com for sport, focusing initially on our home market of the UAE, and the growth market of KSA.” According to Bhusari, Duplays is currently servicing only a fraction of their membership base with its weekly leagues, which has opened an opportunity for future growth, by connecting their users with more sports facilities. In this, Bhusari adds, lies the company’s unique propositionbuilding a true platform to connect sports enthusiasts (demand side), with access to third party and internally developed sports facilities (supply side), thereby providing a seamless user experience.

Last year, Duplays made headlines by forming a joint venture with its local partner and Saudi Arabia-based developer, Al Hokair Group, to build community sports facilities in the Kingdom at scale using air-supported dome technology, for an undisclosed amount. The first in a series of new privatelyowned football sports complexes has now been built in Jeddah, and should become operational by October 2018. With wins like these in the bag, Bhusari is definitely someone other entrepreneurs can learn from- and he’s happy to offer advice for others wanting to secure success for their startup ventures. “Firstly, don’t take the first ‘no’ for an answer,” Bhusari says. “If you believe in what you are doing, treat objections as opportunities, and figure out a way to get to a ‘yes.’ Entrepreneurs are designed to challenge the status quo, and if you believe in your business mission, then follow it through. Secondly, entrust your team to make decisions. I’m a big believer in hiring people better than yourself that complement your key skill sets. And lastly, be amenable to change. The phrase ‘the only constant is change’ definitely rings true. Ten years on, the conversion of Duplays from Dubai’s only de facto adult sport and social club, to now becoming a developer of community sports facilities and central platform for sport, can only happen with an openness and willingness to accept change, and the buy-in of your team to help you drive your evolving company mission.”

This year has seen Bhusari and Rao take a step further with their business by partnering with Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to establish nook by Duplays, dubbed as the region’s first sports and wellness coworking space. The concept behind nook is to provide all the necessary tools for aspiring entrepreneurs to seize opportunities presented by the UAE’s growing sports, fitness, and wellness industry. Bhusari sees nook as a natural evolution of Duplays’ business strategy. He adds, “The sports, fitness and wellness markets are underserved in the region. At nook, our vision is to pioneer an industry specific platform for the development of these sectors of the economy. We want to provide the best possible service and solutions for the industry, to help foster its long-term development and success.”

Nook’s 10,000 sq. ft. workspace at One JLT in Dubai’s Jumeriah Lakes Towers neighborhood offers monthly workspace rental plans ranging from AED2,500 for a shared space, to AED3,000 for a fixed desk, to AED4,450 for private offices- not inclusive of the yearly AED11,000 DMCC-subsidized trade license, and the monthly nook membership fees and company registration starting at AED499. For industry professionals and companies not requiring physical office space, nook also offers a flexible Mobile Startup package that includes a number of time-saving features and services. Flexible payment terms are also available as an additional launch support service for startups getting their businesses off the ground. “We currently have the capacity to offer 200 professional licenses covering 35+ industry activities,” Bhusari says. “nook secured more than 10% of its license allocation in the first three weeks of its prelaunch phase, and expects to achieve full membership within the first 12 months of operation. Expansion of the nook concept into other locations and markets is expected within the next 18 months, and will mirror Duplays’ expansion across the region. Priority markets include Saudi Arabia, followed by other GCC countries.”

Nook is located at One JLT in Jumeriah Lakes Towers. Source: nook.

The idea for nook was born in 2015, and Bhusari credits Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of DMCC, for his tremendous support in its implementation and realization today. This kind of support and mentorship is one of the most unique aspects of the professional networks in the UAE, he says. “Mentorship in this region is key,” Bhusari adds. “We leave our families, our friends, our professional networks at home, and come to a new city. Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship is terrifying (and exhilarating) enough, to say nothing of the additional financial risks one has to stomach here. We have been grateful over the years not just to receive mentorship from Endeavor UAE [The Duplays cofounders became members of Endeavor UAE in 2013] and our existing investors, but from friends and business acquaintances, who are more than willing to give advice and help us. Most people are no more than a LinkedIn or networking event away, and I have met so many incredibly helpful people over the years.”

When asked about the main lessons he has grasped from three most critical moments in Duplays’ growth –i.e. raising capital from outside investors, focusing on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as a growth market, and being amenable to change- Bhusari’s replies make it clear that he has taken the time to reflect on all of his entrepreneurial pursuits so far. “On the investment front, most entrepreneurs aspire to achieve a certain level of success or market traction in order to scale their business, and investment is key for that to happen,” Bhusari says. “We have been fortunate to have supportive and patient investors who have championed us. For entrepreneurs, the key lesson to consider is not to rush to accept the first investors who express an interest in your business. What is important is to build a relationship with these people, and they will be with you for the long haul.” “On the KSA expansion side, the key lesson is patience,” he continues. “Tapping into this market is not something you can do from the comfort of your Dubai office. Business is always relationship driven, but even more so in KSA. KSA is a unique, fascinating market and you have to put in the time on the ground to assess the opportunities and build relationships with key partners- the Dubai experience does not easily translate into Saudi.” And as for being open to change? “On the change side, business in this region is much faster paced than other markets,” Bhusari notes. “Be open to change, and adapt as conditions alter. Do not be set in your ways, and pivot where possible if your product-market fit isn’t working. Don’t be overly in love with your idea, if your customers are not.”

‘TREP TALK: Ravi Bhusari, co-founder, Duplays and nook, shares his five tips for entrepreneurs
1. Build your tribe
“Surround yourself ASAP with good people, whether that’s co-founder(s) or key first hires.”

2. Focus on your finances
“Be laser focused on cash flow- it is the lifeblood of your organization; if you have a business model that has a longer or variable sales cycles, ensure you have adequate capital to get you through the rough patches- everyone will eventually face them.”

3. Look for smart money
“Find supportive investors who provide not just capital but active mentorship; be open to advice.”

4. Be kind to yourself
“Protect your personal free time and invest in yourself; you are no good to your business or your employees if you are not of sound body and mind.”

5. Give back whenever you can
“Don’t forget to thank the people who have helped you along your way.”