Dubai, Oct. 17 2018: HitchHiker, an Egypt-based P2P social network connecting travelers with shoppers, has raised a $200,000 SEED round from Angel Investors based in Dubai. This is the company’s first round of fundraising since their inception after bootstrapping for 18 months.
Hussein El-Terawy, Co-Founder & CEO, has said that “ We look forward to our growth that this investment allows us to achieve. We have a solid plan to spend our investment on targeted Marketing, Business development & customer retention to reach more Shoppers and travelers in Egypt. Moreover, we will enhance some features as well as our apps’ UI/UX for a world class experience”
He has also added that the company wants “to optimize resource usage when it comes to shipping & help shape the future of a sharing economy by democratizing travelling & making international shipping much more accessible for everyone”
For more information and greater insight into the company and the founders, you can read below our exclusive Q&A with CEO Hussein El-Terawy.
Q1: Is this your 1st round of investment as a Company? How did you manage to convince the key investors to participate based on an idea?
Yes, this is our first round of investment. We bootstrapped for the past 18 months since launch.
Gaining trust & convincing investors wasn’t an easy job. It’s very hard to raise funds in a space that no startup hasn’t exited before, they need to see if it’s working or not. Not to say how risky our business can be to some of low risk appetite investors.
We managed to convince our Key angel investor with what did we reach organically without having any marketing funds. Our travellers earned more than $290,000 of rewards in return of delivering shopping & personal items. Also, we had the chance to study and test what users want, they are totally satisfied and convinced to use such service. Our Road map was very important for our investor to understand where we are scaling and how.
Q2: How many people are you in the founding team and does the team have start-up experience before?
Founder & CEO – Hussein Mahmoud El-Terawy
My Co-founder & CTO – Hassan Selim
We had a previous experience in start-ups. Hassan founded a Virtual reality start up which is a game development studio that creates games in the latest technologies for multi platforms including VR/AR and now being used and implemented in the Egyptian market for marketing purposes by well-known corporates and multi nationals
I previously founded a travel product start-up that designs trendy travel luggage for backpackers. It was a great hit & we had the chance to sell 2,000 bags in Virgin Megastores.
Q3: What kind of talent are you looking to acquire to grow your team?
We are hiring a Product Manager to plan our road map for the next 2 years & eat Analytics for breakfast. Marketing & business development team. Customer relations manager. Junior IOS & android developers. Junior back end developer. Operations support coordinator
Q4: Scalability is often a major challenge for startups across the region. How do you look to scale into the larger markets across MENA and potentially beyond?
The service itself is all about the idea, we have no operations or restrictions to hold our expansion, we seek to enter regions that are in need of this service such MENA, Latin America, south America and others. Scaling up is a very tricky part, but we are very focused in the Growth Phase we’re implementing in Cairo.
It would be easier to scale up to a new region after having a solid business plan and team to back it up. We’re looking to scale up in Latin America, south America, MENA & South East Asia, the first has high shipping & customs fees maybe double the prices of the Middle East. Moreover, the peer to peer shipping apps there is quite expensive and has a lot of flaws that we can take advantage of easily and implement instantly. Dubai would be a perfect place to scale up to South East Asia as it has the busiest airport with 90M travelers crossing it. Expats in UAE are always sending stuff to their family and friends, we can take advantage of this habit.