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Hugues stories - The curious case of Hadi Barkat: founder of Helvetiq

Hugues stories - The curious case of Hadi Barkat: founder of Helvetiq

This is the story of the curious case of Hadi Barkat, a thirty-something tall father of two, who believed there could be more entertaining ways of learning.

But let’s starts from where it all began.

In 2008, Hadi Barkat was an investment manager, sitting on a pile of books and preparing for his Swiss citizenship exam. Smart and creative, Hadi understood that organizing his notes in questions and answers, just like a quiz board game, would have helped him to better memorize notions and facts of the country he decided to live in.

Creative thinker, with the acumen of a successful business man and a solid education, he not only succeeded in the exam but created a visually inspiring board game which was proposed to the market with the name of Helvetiq and sold 3.000 copies in a month.

Today Helvetiq is a company employing eight people, publishing board games, but also books for families and adults.

“Inspired by the smile on people’s faces when they play our games”, said Hadi when we last met, “our aim is to create games that can be fun and mind-blowing at the same time”.

Hadi managed to transform his hobby into a start-up company with 2 offices in Lausanne and Basel and he personally attends and promotes the company into events and fairs.

“Motivated by the initial success and curiosity of the people” commented Hadi, Helvetiq came up with further ideas: Pictolingua - Fun with Words and Languages, Cantuun - geography made party game, puzzles to explore cities without GPS.

Helvetiq games are published in Switzerland and have been translated in several languages for a worldwide distribution. “Being an independent publisher is an exciting experience, as we have the chance to experiment with our creativity”. 

“We have many ideas, sometimes too many compared to the time we have available for”.  When we asked Hadi what is in the future of Helvetiq, his dark eyes brighten up with joy: “We recently launched Something Else Instead, card packs with six different topics, each including 110 questions aiming at being a smart break from our smartphone addiction, with a touch of laughter and insanity”.

Hadi is one, no one and one hundred thousand. Besides his daughters and Helvetiq, he finds the time to nurture another talent he has received: writing. “Pendulaires à plein temps” showcases a modern style within the 13 poignant short stories which compose Hadi’s first book, featuring the ordinary and yet not ordinary life of the everyday traveller.

You can find more about Helvetiq here.

All photographs are copyright of Jenny & Lucas
Hadi is wearing glasses from Viu.

Sara, London

Sara, London

Luisa, Milan

Luisa, Milan