Will this Egyptian startup be the next Pinterest of the Middle East?
With women making up 70% of worldwide Pinterest users, and 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook fans, one image-sharing social network startup from Egypt is cutting straight to the chase, targeting Arab women with their new platform, EveArabia.
Much like Pinterest, EveArabia is an interactive social community where users can create their own accounts and share photos to express their personal style. Users can also follow and chat with friends and add photo captions to further share their interests and comments on fashion, jewelry, and makeup products.
Its founder is Egyptian serial entrepreneur Islam Zween, who first tested a trendy fashion network targeting high-income women in the Gulf in September 2010, building on his experience as CEO of stock market consultancy argaam.com and classifieds platform bezaat.com.
That same year, he quickly moved to buy out his investor, Dubai-based Danat eVentures, to have more creative control over the platform. He moved his team of nine back to Cairo, and relaunched as EveArabia this past April.
Their target market is large. “The number of internet users in
Egypt is near 31 million today, and at least 40% of them are women.
Facebook users in Egypt exceed 12 million users, 2.5 million of
whom are women living in Cairo, with almost 700,000 living in
Alexandria,” says Amira Hafiz, EveArabia’s PR manager.
With more than 10,000 users visiting the site daily, 2,000 registered users since April, EveArabia is growing quickly; users have posted more than 15,000 images so far.
Unlike Pinterest, however, EveArabia allows non-registered users to browse the full site, but the amount of ads on each page is a bit distracting and the dark motif also makes the platform appear a bit heavier than Pinterest.
While the platform is a good way for users to stay up to date on the latest fashions in the Arab world, EveArabia will have to attract more users to be able to generate sustainable revenue from its advertisements. The team also hopes that allowing women entrepreneurs and regional brands to embed ads within the content tiles will further boost premium ad sales.
The only risk with becoming too ad-heavy is that the social network could veer towards an online marketplace, but hopefully they can find a balance.
The team also plans to launch new features to the platform soon, including “Eve Answers,” a fashion Q&A discussion board that solicits answers from the community. It’s an ambitious project, but with a quick upswing in users and some creative maneuvering with their business model, they'll be able to join the Arab world's most popular women's portals.