Meet Amr Ashraf. He is the founder of TEDx AUC, he hosted the largest TEDx event in the MENA region, and is now launching a mobile social network for food lovers. How will he do it? In a chat with Barakabits, Amr explains how a Koshary Festival and a Guinness World Record will build brand image for his startup.
Let’s start by the beginning. How did TEDx AUC came up?
In 2010, I was studying computer engineering at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and I got invited to the “Just Peace Summit” in New York. A year later, when the Egyptian revolution broke out, I was invited by TEDx Teen to give a talk about social media and the revolution, so I took the chance to apply for a license to host a TEDx in AUC. In 2013, we hosted the “Catalyst for Change” event and we had 1,700 attendees; that made me really proud.
And what pushed you to create your own startup?
I felt more comfortable being an entrepreneur than sitting in an office and waiting for a bonus. I like to take risks and be always on the move. I am also a foodie, always passionate about finding an idea that involves both food and technology; so I thought why not a social network for food? That’s how I created Engezni, together with three colleagues in 2013. We founded it with around 30,000 USD and so far it is sustainable. We have received offers from investors, but we’ve been refusing them because I believe in bootstrapping.
You are also behind Egypt’s first Koshary Festival and we are guessing it is not just about food. What’s the idea behind it?
We are aiming for the Guinness World Record for making the biggest Koshary in the world! We are inviting the Guinness delegation to the Koshary Festival, where 100 restaurants will be displaying their food around a gigantic Koshary plate. The reason we are hosting it is to build brand image for Engezni by breaking a world record, and to a network among the restaurants that will be present in the app.