Can Egyptian reminder app Before Leaving compete with Evernote?

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Who among us hasn’t lost their keys, phone, or wallet? This problem is addressed by the Before Leaving app launched a year ago by Egyptian startup Stabene, which released today an updated version. The app addresses this problem at its root, allowing users to choose the item they most often forget, and using location technology to remind users to grab their keys etc. before leaving a location..

The updated application’s mechanism is based on Google Maps. The user links the keys option, for instance, to the name of a coffee shop they’re planning to visit at a specific time (after determining its location on Google Maps). The application senses when the user has moved a few meters away from the area, reminding them immediately not to forget their keys.

Users can also use this application to write down their weekly grocery list, or to be reminded to turn in an important file before leaving work, or to switch off the lights before leaving the house, and many other easy-to-forget chores.

You may be surprised when browsing the purple and green app to find a ‘baby’ option on the list, asking yourself whether it would be possible for someone to forget their baby somewhere! However, more than one incident actually took place in different countries in 2013 of fathers who had forgotten their children because they were busy with a call or a grocery shop. This is one possibility the very thorough application has not overlooked.

Now that technology has become the unified world language, the developers feel they didn’t have a choice but to work on using technology to help save people’s time. “I got the idea when I attended the Mobile Monday conference on the future of apps in the region and heard the speaker addressing an issue that haunts him and puts him in difficult situations, which is forgetting his mobile phone,” says Mohammed El Helou, co-founder of Stabene. The startup was established in 2011 with the purpose of developing innovative apps. “Stabene” is an Egyptian slang word of Italian origin meaning, loosely, “We agree.”  

Before Leaving has been available on iTunes for the past year at the price of $2 USD. To hype the launch of the new version, however the founders have decided to offer it free of charge for a limited time.

El Helou and the other two co-founders, Chadi Ghalab and Mahmoud Hilali, are working to raise a first round of venture capital investment in order to further develop the app. “We still have a lot of improvements to do and updates to release, which we will be working on in parallel with a set of advertising campaigns on Facebook and YouTube,” Ghalab explains.

In addition, the three partners are working to reach a wider segment of iOS users in Egypt and beyond. Google Analytics shows that users in Italy, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have downloaded the app most. After examining these results, they decided to publish an Arabic version of the app targeting the GCC countries as well as an Italian version based on the numerous requests they received from users in Italy. As soon as they finish these versions, they will also add an audio format note recording feature and will start preparing for the Android version, Hilali says.

The founders don’t see Before Leaving as competing with Evernote, used for writing down and saving written, audio, video, and picture notes, which is why they added the possibility of synchronizing their app with the better-known Evernote.

Evernote has achieved a global success reaching 65 million users around the world since the launch of the service back in July 2008 and until last June, while the company value had reached more than a billion dollar by last October.

And let’s not forget Keep, launched by Google for Androids last March, which also enables the user to write down important notes, further enhancing its Google Drive cloud storage platform. Tech geeks figured this was an attempt to compete with Evernote after it had achieved success. These facts predict to a great extent the success that may await Before Leaving in and out of Egypt, given the thirst of the market for such services in light of the fast momentum of everyday life.

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