Welcome to the first episode of the serie “5 minutes with an international entrepreneur”!
This week we met Amr Hussein, an egyptian entrepreneur who founded KoshkComics – a website for comic artists to interconnect, self-publish and share it through the application for readers to enjoy! We discussed about his adventure and he shared his tips about egyptian market with us:
Hello Amr, can you tell us the story of KoshkComics?
It all started in 2014 when my team and myself wanted to do something new with digital entertainment… We decided to build a 30-days only Facebook app with different gaming tracks and see how people would engage and react to that … One of these tracks was a digital comics series for a contemporary extension of the heritage “Arabian Nights” tale: and at the end of the month the game’s Facebook page had 40K likes, and the app itself had 10K users of which 4K users were playing everyday for 30 days.
Achieving this was super difficult given our limited marketing abilities and tools. Our team was determined to overcome these difficulties and we adopted different marketing techniques through organic communication channels, and offline meetups with friends and family backed up with a limited budget of Facebook Ads. The feedback of users helped us to fine-tune our product, and validate the regional digital entertainment market in the Arab world.
And the feedback has backed up our product direction with quantified end user response, as the majority of the app users were following the digital comics series … so we decided to build a platform for digital comics, not only for our team productions but to streamline different products of independent artists as well.
In mid 2015, when we launched the BETA Koshk Comics mobile app, we launched the 2nd season of the Arabian Nights called (Arabian Nights – Shahryaar in Lala Land); we got positive feedbacks of the audience makes me thrilled for both Art and Technology. I wrote the scripts, and my co-founder did the illustrations; we play Koshk Comics by heart because we believe in Comics and love to make new ones.
Where do your artists mainly come from? And where would you like to develop your business in the future?
We’ve been focusing on Egypt and Middle East through the past year and our next steps goes more into Europe ! We believe that Europe has a well-connected eco system for diverse cultures and it helps building our vision of cross-cultural distribution of comics to get as much diversity and uniqueness in artistic styles and stories.
The Koshk team is working on getting more feet into Europe to pilot our vision of exchange of ideas/morales through visual stories, we’ve covered comics events in Switzerland and France; also joined a one month incubation program in one of the biggest incubators in Paris – Paris&Co (here they speak about coming in France to do business); our team stayed in Paris for one month to assess the potential in the French market and outlined amazing results in terms of connections with Artists, potential partners, and comic publishers.
The Egyptian business ecosystem: How is it like to set-up there?
The Egyptian business ecosystem is starting its early steps regarding entrepreneurship support, as the country economy is struggling; this has a direct reflection on the startups adding a considerable amount of overhead costs. I spoke about it in an interview (See the article) that I did with coverage that was specific to the Egyptian ecosystem …
Although of the difficulties in the Egyptian ecosystem, startups are still trying to seize what appears to be weaknesses as opportunities – For example: the devaluation of currency makes the development of apps and systems cheaper than ever before; which would create a good opportunity for the business of outsourcing.
Would you recommend Egypt for entrepreneurs? And what are the main aspects to take into account when developing there?
Egypt has very good development skills with relative cheap cost, this seems to be an opportunity under the lens.
And having local expertise is very important to develop business in the Egyptian environment. It is considerably important for Foreign investments to have Egyptian operating hands when doing business in Egypt …
Any “special tips” fo our community ?
Keep on moving forward, and bypass obstacles with endless persistence :))
Thank you Amr and wishing you more successes on this new year!