The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women 2015
Thu 26 Feb 2015 12:00 PM
Mariam Abultewi

Mariam Abultewi

Industry: Technology

Company: Wasselni

Designation: Founder

Country: Palestine

Gazan entrepreneur Mariam Abultewi has become one of the most prominent young business founders in Palestine thanks to her ride-sharing application, Wasselni.

The tech start-up allows Gazans to find nearby taxi drivers and car-driving Facebook friends, similar to Uber’s offering which is popular across much of the globe.

Despite its similarities to Uber, Abultewi has ensured there are key cultural differences to her proposition. While Uber lets you take a ride with random drivers, Wasselni doesn’t. Only friends and vetted cab drivers are available.

The young entrepreneur thought up the idea for Wasselni while waiting for a lift in the middle of the Gaza Strip. Putting the business together, she now has several thousand subscribers to the app, as well as about 70 drivers, who all pay a portion of their Wasselni-linked earnings back to the company.

The company was boosted by seed funding from Palinno, a Palestinian mentorship programme.