By Tamara Pupic
Mai Medhat, co-founder of Eventtus, talks about the international recognition of MENA entrepreneurs.
Mai Medhat, co-founder of Cairo-based Eventtus, an all-in-one events platform and networking app, recently made headlines when she joined a five-member high profile panel discussion on entrepreneurship at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016, held at Stanford University, California.
She was sitting alongside fellow entrepreneurs from Rwanda and Peru as well as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and US President Barack Obama. “We first met Mark Zuckerberg who asked us about the connectivity and the ecosystem support in our countries,” says Medhat.
“Then we met President Obama. He is a very friendly, very down-to-earth person. He asked us about our businesses, but he actually knew a lot about it. For example, he asked me: ‘I believe you do ticketing as well, it is not just a mobile app for events, right?’
“I have received a lot of support after the panel. I do not feel the new attention as a pressure, but I do feel responsible because of it.
“There are many start-ups in the region and many people are working very hard here to support us. That was our chance to show to the world that we can build something very useful. It is not about me and Eventtus, but about our region.”
At 29, Medhat employs more than 20 people in her native Cairo.
“As a teenager, I wanted to be an engineer. When I got my first computer, I loved it, and that was it,” she says. “I used to manage different groups on the Internet, such as Yahoo groups and various forums, and I used to help my friends build websites. However, I learnt to code at university.”
Medhat and her co-founder Nihal Fares earned their bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering from Ain Shams University in Cairo. “We used to work on side projects, in addition to our full time jobs,” Medhat says. “We used to analyse start-ups, think of different problems and try to solve them. We even used to take a few days off from work to research and interview people about some ideas that we were interested in.
”We enjoy working together and that has always been very exciting for us.”
The Eventtus mobile app enables event organisers to consolidate event planning and execution, curate interactive event experiences, and create user-friendly tools for attendees to connect and share ideas.
It has brought a number of industry accolades to its founders, including winning AT&T’s Most Efficient App Award at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2013, and taking part in Silicon Valley’s BlackBox Connect accelerator in 2014.
Having raised seed funding of $175,000 from Vodafone Ventures and Cairo Angels in 2013, and an un-disclosed amount from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Saudi Arabia’s Raed Ventures in 2016, Eventtus, which now has offices in Cairo and Dubai, has grown to work with more than 800 event organisers, managing more than 8,000 events.
Read the full interview with Mai Medhat HERE
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