By Fatma Ibrahim
Have you ever eaten at a restaurant that you despised or loved so much that you just needed to tell the world about it? To suggest or warn against a book, restaurant, product, or anything else for that matter? Well now you can. Two computer science graduates have launched Trustious, a website for you to brag or berate all things related to you as a consumer.
Omar Maher and Yusuf Saber shared a dream to create a platform that would assist start-up projects and small businesses to succeed and improve themselves, and in doing so help allieviate the dire Egyptian economy, as well as create easier access to information. Trustious started off a year and a half ago, with only Maher and Saber on board. “It was not easy to set up a business like this in Egypt without being confronted with many obstacles. One of them was funding. How could we convince someone to invest in such a novel idea? So we decided to talk to family and friends,” Maher said. Through seeking support from those close to them, the two were able to gather EGP 1m.
Gathering a team was yet another problem. “All the great students and programmers travel and settle abroad because there are better opportunities there. Not many stay in Egypt because it is hard to find a place that will nurture their talents and support their ambition and potential. We wanted to change that,” Saber said.
The team currently consists of 11 full-time employees and some of them have rejected offers to work for Google, Facebook or Microsoft. They prefer living in Egypt with their families, while still working in a place that offers the same kind of work atmosphere and level of professionalism of multinational technology companies. Trustious also offers internships and allow talented senior students to carry out their graduation projects.
“Successful companies like Google or Facebook have a very simple flexible corporate structure, and this makes it easier for employees to maintain their creativity and work hard without dealing with routine and bureaucracy,” Saber added.
One of the main concerns of the the Trustious team is the Egyptian economy in general. “It is very embarrassing that 23,000 workers in Silicon Valley can produce more capital than millions of workers of Egypt,” Saber said. “We’re jealous; we want to create the very first Silicon Valley in Egypt. We want Egypt to be recognised on the map of countries with actual technological industries. It is not impossible; it just needs dedication, hard work and persistence.”
The Trustious team encourages members of the website to post as many reviews as possible. The reviews are rated by other users and for every favourable comment the writer of the review is awarded points. The points determine the amount Trustious donates to charities and the writers of the best reviews are rewarded with cakes, mugs and signed cards.
“Our five year plan is to see Trustious as an inspiring entity for all start-ups and small businesses. We want to keep creating hardcore technology to push the wheel of the Egyptian economy. We want to see Trustious as one of the most important review websites in Egypt,” Saber said. “And if we achieve this, maybe we’ll expand to Latin America or Asia in the future. Who knows?”