The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on July 15, 2008 watch like an Egyptian watch like an Egyptian
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Five Questions for Start-upsEvery week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views.

This time we’re interviewing Ahmed Samir from Cairo-based video site Sometimes European entrepreneurs complain about not working a flourishing start-up culture like Silicon Valley’s. Well, they should try Egypt, where the start-up culture is even worse. Partly because the regular tech press doesn’t really pay attention to this country.

The Next Web is to blame too, from the 374 posts we wrote the last couple of months, only once concerned a Egyptian start-up. This was a review about MeOwns – a site where you can show off your belongings. So when Amhed Samir and his business partner Osama Awwad (left in the pic) mailed me with some news, I gladly offered him to participate in this start-up series. Here we go. is a video site, revolving around the same idea as YouTube: share your videos with the world. This would, according to their tagline, be a “great web experience”. Let’s dive a little deeper in that.

How did you come up with the idea of

Question number“When I sat along with my two partners Osama and A.Abdel Aziz, we thought what would happen if our government suddenly banned YouTube. Would there be an alternative for young Egyptians? In addition, when thinking abroad, we wondered how we could compete with YouTube.

So we’ve decided to take a quick look at YouTube to see if there’s an essential feature that they’ve missed, so we could introduce it to our clients. We found that many users would love to be able to download some videos to their computers. So if we allowed them to download movies directly from our servers, they might find that amazing.

Another important issue was the content. We want to have nice, updated and family-friendly content. That means a lot of extra work for us, since we have to approve every single video before streaming it to our servers.”

What was your biggest challenge during the development process?

Question number“Our biggest challenge was to have a nice, clean, and simple website that also has a rich collection of content. Moreover, the streaming services were a little bit challenging as we have to hide videos till we have approved them.

Can you describe the Egyptian start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?

Question number“I think there is a tremendously huge difference. As in Egypt there aren’t any web events for start-ups. However we think that the web has no boundaries and we still can grow in Egypt and abroad. The web is an open world.

Also the idea of funding for web start-ups hasn’t landed in Egypt yet, which of course isn’t the case in Silicon Valley. When looking to this deeply you will find that this funding was the reason for the growth of sites like Google and Facebook.

What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?

Question number“Well I think that when it comes to the future of social communities , the one that offers the easiest and most user-friendly website will win the game. Here at we’re doing a lot of research and are working hard to see what our users want. By doing that, we hope to cope with their demands and also penetrate the market more efficiently.

You can make up this question yourself!

Question numberAre there any investors that might be interested in providing a seed funding for (taking in consideration that we are an Egyptian website and that the issue of seed funding for an Egyptian website has never took place before)?

Just wondering if this question might find a positive answer and not the usual answer: NO!!