Lebanese Startup Cuevox is Scheduling on Steroids

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Sometimes all it takes to spark an idea is witnessing a simple incident. The ability to see the possibility for change in everyday life is what differentiates inventive entrepreneurs from the rest. This is exactly what led Mackram Raydan, a young computer engineer and independent software consultant, to found Cuevox.

How it all Started

The idea for Cuevox came while Raydan (pictured left) was waiting for his turn at a clinic, and noticed that a patient had missed his appointment without cancelling because he allegedly forgot about it. What shocked Raydan more is that the clinic had to turn away a walk-in patient because the doctor was fully booked. This made him think about the ways this kind of problem could be solved, especially since both the clinic and the patient were losing out.

Thus the basic idea for Cuevox was born: No Lost Appointments.

 Raydan built Cuevox using Twilio software, which allows you to make calls using web protocols. Cuevox is designed to call, SMS, or e-mail clients to ask them whether they will be making the appointment or not. It then notifies the business of clients’ responses, allowing them to deal with short notice cancellations and reschedule appointments to accommodate new clients.

Setting up reminders with Cuevox

Cuevox is mostly aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. revenue model is based on a monthly membership. Several plans are available for clients depending on their rate of use. If a business exceeds the allotted number of monthly calls, it can purchase extra calls and any unused credit will be transferred into next month’s account. Cuevox differentiates itself from its competitors by allowing businesses to support multiple users and schedules under one account.

Growth and Challenges

As of now, Cuevox is primarily used by customers in North America, but Raydan’s plan is to establish the product in the Middle East market as well, since there is demand; scheduling tends to be a bit chaotic and reminder software would be useful in many businesses.

Screenshot of Cuevox’s user interface and its various options

However, when it comes to having a local presence, Raydan notes that it has been difficult to establish a self-funded independent company in Lebanon, where the government rules are not very accommodating for entrepreneurs. Regulations require new companies to have an attorney and a certified accountant, both of which drive costs up. The impossibly slow internet connection in Lebanon, while it may be changing this year, has also been a barrier. These factors drove Raydan to establish his company offshore, in the U.K.

On a personal level, Raydan has also had difficulty juggling his job as a software consultant and the creation of Cuevox, but this has become easier after going through the initial development cycle. Another recent challenge he has encountered is the rising cost of the Twilio license, which is causing him to consider other options for building Cuevox’s platform.

Yet despite these challenges, Raydan is pushing forward with plans to scale. He has made his backend solution available to companies who want to develop their own branded version of Cuevox, as he described in an interview with Wamda last year. He also intends to create a local sales force in Lebanon who use door-to-door sales tactics to reach potential offline clients. He also intends to further increase his presence on the web with an explanatory video of how Cuevox works, and improve its ability to integrate with other calendar applications like Outlook and Google.

Solving a problem one call at a time

The story of Cuevox is, ultimately, a universal startup story; the spark that inspired Mackram Raydan was the simply the realization of a problem could be solved. It addresses a larger societal need- the need for enhanced productivity and less time wasted- with a very simple solution. And as infrastructure in Lebanon improves, Cuevox may just be able to expand its market right at home.

[slider and thumb photo courtesy of Seeqnce]

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