Dialife, a diabetes tracking platform, is one of the few Algerian tech startups to gain recognition. Although its founders won third place in the cloud software challenge at Microsoft's Imagine Cup competition last year and just won first place in the 2013 HCT-Wharton Innovation Tournament, their road hasn't been easy.
For one, "The ecosystem in Algeria just doesn't exist," co-founder Tahar Zanouda said at the recent MITEF Arab Business Plan Competition finals in Doha. Zanouda, who was inspired to build the platform after his grandfather passed away from diabetes. Both of his parents are Type I Diabetics and he's at risk to develop diabetes as well.
He and two friends, Amine Aboura and Amine Bounoughaz, developed Dialife to help educate the population about diabetes and allow diabetics to track their blood sugar levels over time and receive input from doctors on the platform. As they look to take the platform regional, here Bounoughaz and Zanouda discuss the difficulties they encountered in the beginning.
Well-regarded national competition, the feedback was unbelievably negative. "You should throw it in the garbage. No one's going to use it. Instead of giving up, we stuck together and worked even harder," says Bounoughaz. "We keep fighting against everything, against the system."
"We keep swimming against the river flow. we have to double the effort that an Eurpoean or American student would give, because we don't have a good entrepreneiral ecosystem in our country, unfortunately," says Zanouda. "We [don't have] good incubators. We [have] the school of life, to learn from."
Watch above to see their take on entrepreneurship in Algeria.