Two months ago, young Egyptian
entrepreneur Kirolos Alfy pitched online entertainment
guide No5rog at Startup Weekend
Cairo, and launched it a couple of weeks later. At that point,
they were a team of four young enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Yet
after receiving US $20,000 in investment from Ziad Aly, the
co-founder of Alzwad Mobile Services, they have grown to a team
No5rog, which runs as a web platform and an application for Nokia, Blacberry, iPhone and Android, is an online entertainment guide in Egypt offering the latest in gigs, concerts, dining, outing, culture, cinema, music and ticketing in Cairo. Users can locate places around them according to the amount of money they would like to spend, or according to whether places offer the drinks, food, shisha, internet connection, games, dancing, outdoor/indoor seating, music, or smoking areas.
The application, which runs in both Arabic and English, also
reveals a venue's full menu with the price list. Essentially, you
just have to enter how much money you have in your pocket, and
No5rog will provide you with options of places you can afford
To encourage customers, No5rog gives away vouchers as part of a small loyalty system, offering discounts based on how much each fan uses the platform. "We also offer vouchers for shopping places even though the application is a guide for food and beverage locations only," says Alfy.
What distinguishes the app is also its approach to letting clients determine the vouchers, says Alfy. Restaurants and coffee shops pay for their presence on No5rog, but they decide independently the amount and type of vouchers they choose to offer customers who check in through No5rog on their location. For Alzwad, it seems like a good complement to their app Gazar, a lifestyle that also offers food ordering services. Yet it's an open question: what are the chances of success for an app like No5rog when giants like Foursquare are offering almost the same services?
Yet the startup is growing quickly, recruiting 20 clients and around 30,000 users per month. "One of our main partners is Nokia, and they are launching a big marketing campaign in the next week, during which we are expecting to triple our number of users in the coming month," Alfy illustrates. Another partner of No5rog is Samsung who is providing the team with technical equipment.
While bringing on big partners will boost the app's market, so might its homegrown nature. "The idea came from looking at our personal needs," says Alfy. "We noticed that we, as young students in Cairo, can't afford to go out anywhere in the city, so we decided to do something about it!"
Next month the application will be launched in Jordan, Lebanon, the UAE and soon go international as well.