Meet the Teams that Pitched at Cairo Culture Shift

by Omar Aysha, May 13, 2012

The British Council Culture Shift event in Cairo this month brought together an interesting mix of teams and ideas: 

Competing Teams

  • Meshabbek (“connected”): Won 1st prize of EGP 30,000 
    A web-based match-making service designed to connect people from the arts together to collaborate and share knowledge, and also connect them with the producers and suppliers that are, at present, hard to locate.
     
  • Torathna (“our heritage”): Won joint 2nd prize of EGP 10,000
    A web-based book-club designed to encourage Arabs to read and share Arabic books.  Also includes an offline book-scanner to allow the digitisation and sharing of rare and out-of-print books.  The book-scanner hardware and software are based on open-source technology, and can be built for a fraction of the price of similar commercial systems.
     
  • Tour Story: Won joint 2nd prize of EGP 10,000
    A mobile app tour guide.  Using either QR codes or image recognition (e.g. from Google Goggles), the user’s phone recognises the building, monument, or location, and presents the user with relevant facts and links.
     
  • ididi: Won a month’s mentorship from Gemiza
    Geolocation-based web/mobile app to connect creatives so that they can help each other achieve their goals by motivating each other and sharing knowledge.
     
  • Quest.ly:
    A mobile app that provides “the next level in tourism.”  The user is given “quests” of increasing difficulty to fulfil e.g. "eat koshary," "travel on the metro," "haggle with a shopkeeper."  Challenges are crowsourced from locals. Points are awarded for completing these challenges, and the user attains higher levels of local expertise, going from “foreigner” all the way up to “local.”  A very interesting idea, it gamifies the travel experience, giving the user an experience outside the ordinary, in a safe and fun way.
     
  • 7eita w Zeita (“wall and hullabaloo”):
    A geo-location based web and mobile app designed to document, encourage, and monetise revolutionary street art.  Graffiti artists can upload geo-tagged photos of their graffiti. People can then view graffiti they normally wouldn’t be able to see, and an archive is built up of the art before it’s lost.  People can also ask artists to decorate their walls and have a street party at the same time, with musicians and other artists.  Graffiti artists can also have their designs sold on apparel.

Judges

  • Moataz Nasr El-Din: Artist and founder of Darb 1718, the Egyptian contemporary art & culture center
    Particularly liked the “7eita wi Zeita” idea as it addressed the problem graffiti had of “how can I legitimately make money from my art?”
     
  • Karen McGregor: Social investor with FirstPort in Scotland
    Really liked “Torathna” as it touched the “hearts and minds” of the society.
     
  • Tarek Naga: Architect and founder of Naga Studio
    In love with the Egypt centric clever wording of “Meshabbek”, and how the team provided a “practical & realistic solution.”
     
  • Hesham Wahby: VC, founder & CEO of innoventures

Local partners

  • Kijamii: The social media marketing agency that organised things locally.  Set up the agency after their success founding TEDxCairo.  Definitely ones to watch.
     
  • Eventtus: The company all about events. 2 of the 3 founders are female.  They have a mobile app coming out that promises something new.
     
  • Cairo Hacker Space:  These guys build things, from food, to electronics, to carpentry, to software.
     
  • Start Up Weekend Cairo & TEDxCairo: No introductions needed.