This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of The Explorer, Aramex's thought-leadership magazine that investigates issues critical to businesses, communities and the planet.
As co-founder of iFusion Labs in Lebanon, Elie was one of the men responsible for Woopra, a real-time web tracking application with an excess of 100,000 fee-paying users. Elie also created YallaStartup, a project that seeks to support Middle Eastern tech entrepreneurs.
What was your “Eureka” moment?
Elie Khoury: I’m not sure about a Eureka moment, but the turning point was the day I launched the service and realised that there were people who really needed it. That proved us all right!
How long did it take to go from original idea to commercial project?
EK: From the idea to the point of going “live” was around two and a half years.
What was the biggest challenge in developing your business that you successfully overcame?
EK: There is a generally weak ecosystem for entrepreneurs or SME development here.
What help or resources do you wish you would have had when you were starting out?
EK: The right connections very early on in the process, especially experienced mentors to guide me through the more difficult parts.
What are the key barriers to entrepreneurial development in the Middle East right now?
EK: The education systems and curricula in schools around the region are holding us back, definitely. But a lot more government support is also needed at the funding level.
What key piece of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting their journey?
EK: Stop wasting time looking for support and commit to perfection.