Cardo Virtual Reality (VR), an Egyptian company specialised in manufacturing VR headsets, plans to expand its products and technology solutions to foreign markets starting in 2019. Saudi Arabia will be its first overseas market. According to Ahmed Adel, the company’s founder and chief executive, the company’s investments amount to EGP 5m.
The company plans to double its investments by the second half of this year by receiving EGP 5m of funding from several Egyptian banks as part of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s initiative to support small and medium enterprises.
How did you start Cardo, given that its staff are all young?
We are a team of young people. Even myself, head of the company and its founder, I am 25 years old. We began our activities immediately after completing our university degrees.
Then we were looking for an investment opportunity in Egypt, and we found strong opportunities for growth in the technology market. After some market research in 2014, we found that VR technology is projected to grow at the global level, despite its absence in Egypt.
We believed in it as an investment opportunity and decided to start our activity in this sector to establish a company to produce VR headsets in Egypt.
We launched our first products in February 2016 and saw good results.
What are the most important challenges you faced?
We faced many challenges, most notably the lack of awareness among many users about the VR technology. There were also manufacturing challenges as we experienced a shortage of many raw materials used in manufacturing as well as difficulties in the absence of certain manufacturing technologies.
We manufactured the first and second version of VR headsets in Egypt, but the third version was manufactured abroad, though it was of our design and development.
Among the challenges that came was also the quick pace of development in the technology sector. New innovations emerge almost biannually. Hence, we had to be ready to introduce new products with the most sophisticated technologies.
Do you offer other products?
We have a wide range of services and solutions starting with the VR app and VR headsets. Starting from the third quarter this year, we will launch 10 new products, including some that are manufactured in Egypt.
Do you have patents?
We applied for patents for nine products.
What solutions can VR be used in?
Virtual reality solutions are sophisticated solutions that can be used in several fields. Ultimately, it is a simulation of reality. This can be used even in education to help students grasp some lessons that need to be simulated.
The VR can also be utilised in the scientific and medical sectors to train doctors on surgical operations, as well as in the media sector, for live broadcasting of concerts and football matches. For example, the next World Cup in Russia will be transmitted via VR.
Do you have partnerships with schools or universities to benefit from your solutions?
We have already studied the market in this aspect and have held meetings with a number of school administrators to determine their ability to rely on VR to improve the students’ learning experience and to increase their educational attainment.
We have found positive results through these meetings and we can start on this plan during the coming period.
What are your plans for expansion outside Egypt?
We plan to expand to overseas markets with our products and solutions by 2019. We will launch expansion plans in the Saudi market in preparation for expanding to a number of other markets.
What is your current business size?
Currently, we offer our products to over 80,000 clients, with plans to raise the number to 160,000 by the end of this year, especially as we introduce new products in the third quarter this year.
How much have you invested since you started your business?
The company started out through one person, who is me, as a founder. Now, we have over 70 employees working at the company directly. Our investments have amounted to EGP 5m. Our company was transformed from a startup into an Egyptian joint stock company.
Do you have plans to list the company on the Egyptian Exchange?
We do have plans to list our company on the Egyptian Exchange, but it will not be before 2020.
Do you have plans to attract new investments?
By the second half of this year, we will be receiving financing of EGP 5m from banks within the CBE initiative to support small and medium enterprises, and we plan to double this funding by end of this year.
We also plan to attract new investments from companies and investors to cover our future expansions outside Egypt, so we closed the option of obtaining funding until next year.
What is the growth rate of your business?
Currently, we are achieving rapid growth rates increasing up to 30% per month.