Egypt’s Qabila TV, a new-media production company based in Cairo has put the country in the limelight already even before it pitches at Silicon Valley with other four DEMO Africa finalists.
Qabila, meaning tribe in Arabic and Swahili was founded in 2010 by Mahmoud Elshafie, Perihan AbouZeid, Mostafa Saeed, Amar Abu Shady and Ahmad Fatehlab and 10 others.
The 15 person team or Qabila wanted to give TV viewers in Egypt something different way from the clutter found in the mainstream media.
The team set out to create online documentaries, short movies, informative animations and songs.
According to co-founder Perihan Abou Zeid they focused on the group rather than individuals.
He told Egypt Today: “So we involve the community [of the audience]. This is why we have a very strong brand engagement level — our fans contribute to our videos and [suggest ideas for upcoming ones.]”
Zeid remembers: “So we started out with this language and we launched DMFS, which is a group of infographic animations that explained the hard political terminology to people. People loved it. For instance, we would say, ‘the difference between the presidential or parliamentary country is mel akher min el brince [to sum it up, who the king is.] People loved it, and it clicked with them.”
The firm monetises through video production for its clients and syndication to to other media houses. In the pipeline is the the Qabila Academy, to be launched next year to teach young Egyptians video shooting and editing, media skills and photography in a move the team says to build a stronger, freer, independent media.
Qabila TV can’t realise they can’t do much without support, it requires a strong financial muscle and a platform like DEMO Africa depicts where the startup is headed having been a launchpad for successful firms like Salesforce, Fusion.io and Picasa. The other four finalist include Flowgear, SasaAfrica,Mliyo Games and mPawa.
Qabila is unique because of its huge team of over 15 and it comes from an internet strict country.
With over 20,000 contributors and top clients like the UN and the Wolrd Bank, Qabila is focused on building an international billion dollar firm but with grass root influence but first seeking to raise an additional $250,000.
In another competition held in Dubai, Qabila TV came second during the Arab Business Plan Competition held at the MIT Enterprise Forum in Dubai, edging out 4,500 other applications by 13,500 entrepreneurs from 20 Arab countries.