CAIRO: Inspired by his father’s illness, Mostafa Nageeb, CEO of Ekshef.com, created Egypt’s first online directory where patients can search for doctors and book their appointments in minutes.
“A few months ago, my father woke me up in the middle of the night, handed me a doctor’s directory, and asked me to find him a doctor and book him an appointment,” Nageeb told Daily News Egypt.
“It took me three hours of searching before I could find him a doctor, I realized then that we have to find an easier way to facilitate this process for patients,” he recalled.
With over 80 million Egyptians and only 200,000 registered doctors, the search for the right specialist, can be tedious and nerve-wracking.
After months of mentorship and hard work, this was one of five new Egyptian startups incubated by Flat6Labs that showcased their projects to potential investors.
Flat6Labs is a technology start-up accelerator established by Sawari Ventures in conjunction with the AUC School of Business’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. It has hosted, mentored and funded these young Egyptian innovators, giving them the tools to turn their ideas into budding startups.
Two of the graduating startup teams, Careerise — which helps job seekers find the right positions — and Ekshef focus on social development.
Snapze, Tabshora and Neatly are all technology-based, providing customized services to meet clients’ needs.
These five businesses, although very different, have one thing in common: They came up with brilliant ideas that caught the attention of Flat6Labs, and about to become self sufficient.
Ekshef, which means “check up,” will have its beta launch this month. It eases the process for patients as well as giving young doctors the opportunity to boost their name in the business.
While the service is free for patients, doctors pay a fee to register on the website to display their experience and education.
Careerise, which launches in March, is a recruitment platform that matches talents with opportunities using trusted social connections where companies from around the country and the world can reach out to potential candidates from Egypt.
Ahmed AlMalkey, the platform’s co-founder and an information technology engineer, has always wanted to help others find jobs by making use of social connections.
“What makes our project different is the human factor. A company is able to reach you for a position through a mutual reference or a friend, and this referrer actually has the chance to make money if their suggestion is hired,” said AlMalkey.
AlMalkey said Flat6 helped expose his team along with the other startups to a sizeable network of high-profile connections, instantly setting them apart at the outset of their career.
“We did not just receive lessons with academics, Flat6 helped us by giving us the opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs,” said AlMalkey. “We met so many connections and set up a wider network through AUC and Flat6.”
The opportunity is open to all entrepreneurs in Egypt who can apply to the Flat6Labs program. After an intensive selection process, the chosen projects are given $10,000, office space to work, and are mentored by top notch academics from AUC.
“Apple started like these five companies,” said Ahmed El Alfi, chairman of Sawari Ventures, comparing the graduating startups to Steve Jobs’ legacy.
“Hewlet-Packard started with two friends in a garage and Google was started by two college buddies. We want to find Egypt’s smartest youth and teach them business,” he said enthusiastically.
Changing the way Egyptians have fun, Snapze, a mobile application, gives users “smart” recommendations based on interests on app profiles, Facebook, Twitter, friends, and people with similar interests.
Launching at the end of February as an iPhone app, Snapze will provide users with recommendations such as television shows to watch, movies to see, events to attend or books to read.
“If you are browsing something that is purchasable, you can make purchases directly on the application. We are also growing Snapze into a personal assistant,” said Rania Riad, CEO of Snapze.
Similarly, F16Apps, a software company that develops mobile applications, is debuting by launching Neatly, a mobile app designed for the Twitter-savvy.
Neatly provides users with the option of rearranging their social timeline according to relevance and interests, saving 30 to 40 percent of the user’s time. The company was able to land a deal with Nokia as a Priority Partner, where Nokia will help the team launch their product not only in Egypt, but globally.
Launching first on the iPhone at the end of February, Neatly will help users prioritize their incoming Twitter updates, aiming to eventually help save 80 percent of users’ time.
“I started off doing this at home on my computer to save time using my own scripts, and this is all based on the behavior of the user,” said Ahmed Essam, CEO and founder of Neatly.
“This is what people call the second generation of mobile apps, which will know their user more,” he added.
Finally, Tabshora.com, an online service that enables creative professionals to collect, organize, and collaborate on feedback from their clients and peers, is expected to launch in February.
Launching first in the United States, Tabshora aims to aid the creative arena from web designers to interior or fashion designers, by acting as a middle ground for them and their non-creative clients or co-workers, allowing them to communicate and receive feedback from each other in a more efficient way.
“There are 16,700 companies in the field in the US, with about 1.5 million designers making up a $7 billion industry,” said Hadi Ahmed, CEO and founder of Tabshora.
“Creative designers are not given enough credit in Egypt, and this gives them more exposure,” he added.
Ahmed El Alfi, chairman of Sawari Ventures.