Archvalley: Bridging the worlds of architecture and entrepreneurship

December 7, 2023
Share on

Insaf Neili is a passionate architect turned entrepreneur who has harnessed her creative talents and enthusiasm to create Archvalley, an innovative venture that empowers architects and interior designers to thrive in the digital age. Supported by the Minassa Lab, a programme under Innov’i – EU4Innovation, Insaf’s journey is a testament to the power of EU initiatives in fostering positive change.

With a solid educational background in architecture, Insaf is a graduate of the National School of Architecture of Tunis. At just 25 years old, her journey into entrepreneurship was driven by a profound love for both architecture and innovation. As she puts it, “I fell in love with entrepreneurship, despite being an architect. Architecture has my brain, while entrepreneurship has my heart.” This fusion of her architectural expertise and entrepreneurial spirit was the core of her path towards creating Archvalley.

Archvalley: Bridging the Gap for Architects

Archvalley represents the culmination of Insaf’s creative vision and her professional education. It is a unique venture that stands at the intersection of architecture and entrepreneurship. The concept for Archvalley emerged from Insaf’s personal experiences during internships with various architecture firms in Tunis. She observed a glaring gap in the field – the absence of effective marketing, particularly digital. Her initial foray into addressing this issue began with an online magazine that she created, showcasing architectural projects that she believed deserved more recognition. It was a labour of love, and she offered it for free, sharing it on social media. The overwhelming response on social media sparked a realisation: there was an opportunity in this “untapped market.”

Archvalley’s approach is holistic. Insaf assembles a team of experts in digital marketing, web design, and copywriting, tailoring strategies and content to the unique needs of her architect and interior designer clients. She engages in consultancy sessions with clients to understand their objectives, identify gaps, and provide support to help them achieve their professional goals through digital marketing. Archvalley’s commitment extends to ongoing support throughout the implementation of the strategy, ensuring that clients reach their targets.

As Insaf enthusiastically recounts, Archvalley’s journey began with just 4 clients. The first client discovered the start-up through a video posted on Minassa Lab’s social media platforms. This encounter led to a collaboration that not only met but exceeded the client’s expectations. The client appreciated Archvalley’s unique value proposition and the fact that such services were previously unavailable to architects in Tunisia.

A leap from a magazine to a start-up

Going off the beaten track, Insaf defied the expectations of friends and colleagues who advised her to pursue a stable career at a renowned architectural firm. Instead, she embarked on an entrepreneurial venture that not only carved a niche for her in the architectural world but also delved into digital marketing.

In her own words, “Minassa pushed me to discover a rich universe, that of entrepreneurship.” Insaf attributes her journey’s turning point to the support she received from Minassa Lab: “I started with an idea, and it was thanks to Minassa Lab that it became a reality” She explains, emphasising the pivotal role played by Minassa Lab, both in refining her idea and providing essential funding. She acknowledges that funding was a significant hurdle, especially when creating a website and navigating the intricate administrative processes necessary for establishing a company. Minassa Lab’s financial support and guidance proved indispensable during these complex and often costly stages.

In fact, following the success of her free online magazine, Insaf simply applied to Minassa Lab with the idea of creating an architecture-focused magazine, both in digital and print formats, showcasing the works of Tunisian architects. Through Minassa Lab’s comprehensive training programs, workshops, and interactions with experts, Insaf conducted an in-depth market study that reshaped her vision. It was during these engagements that the true potential of an untapped market became evident – digital marketing for architects in Tunisia.

Reflecting on this pivotal moment, Insaf shares, “We found a true need for digital marketing, and we just developed a basic business model and realised how profitable it would be!” Whenever obstacles arose during the implementation phase, Minassa Lab was her go-to source for assistance. Their quick and effective support played a crucial role in keeping her project on track.

Even after the formal support from the programme ended, Insaf remained closely connected with Minassa Lab. They continue to provide a nurturing environment, inviting past beneficiaries, including start-ups and entrepreneurs like Insaf, to participate in public events. These opportunities for networking and increased visibility underscore the enduring impact of Minassa Lab’s support.

Charting the Future of Archvalley

As Insaf continues to evolve both personally and professionally, her vision for Archvalley transcends geographic boundaries. Currently on an internship in Switzerland, she is immersing herself in the world of architecture while simultaneously diving deep into the intricacies of digital marketing. In her words, her Swiss experience has been “An eye-opener, particularly the remarkable digital communication of Swiss architects. They have an amazing online presence.”

With a zest for cross-cultural exchange, Insaf envisions infusing the knowledge she’s acquiring in Switzerland into “the DNA of Archvalley”. Her aspiration is to create a fusion of business cultures and artistic traditions. She sees this as a means to not only enrich her company but also to extend her reach to clients and partners in other countries besides Tunisia. She notes “It’s the digital world after all, so there are no borders.”

In line with her expansion plans, Insaf aims to expand her team, bringing in fresh talent that can help attract clients and contribute to the company’s growth. Currently, she personally conducts one-on-one consulting sessions with clients, but her vision includes training and delegating these responsibilities to other aspiring young professionals. Her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge reflects her commitment to nurturing emerging talent and fostering growth in her community.