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The launch of the Egyptian carpooling innovation: Wadeeny

Two young entrepreneurs aim to prove that Egyptians can carpool, and are determined to offer the safest rides around town.
The story was simple: a group of six students decided to create a carpooling website for Egypt in fulfillment of a course curriculum at the German University in Cairo (GUC). Yet, they were constantly confronted with the same reaction: “You cannot carpool in Egypt!”

This sentence was very provocative for Aly ElGuezery, now a graduate of the Computer Science department at GUC and the initiator of the idea.

The students passed the course, and the group was downsized to 2 members. And then, the project became reality. the newest and safest ride sharing website in Egypt – as they call themselves. Wadeeny (in English: Take me there) is a simple service and example of entrepreneurship with two causes: Firstly, proving that Egyptians can in fact carpool, and secondly, decreasing Cairo traffic.

Aly ElGuezery and Hesham Ghandour, co-founders of Wadeeny and graduates of GUC, launched their website to the public on the 26th of August 2011, and in less than ten days, over 600 users have already registered and 70 people created trips.

When talking about the biggest obstacle they had to face, ElGuezery stated: “The hardest part was to customize the idea for Egypt. After conducting interviews, we realized that we had to overcome issues like safety and the lack of internet-trust.”

Yet, the idea of carpooling is bound to be successful, Ghandour explains. “In foreign countries, people mainly carpool because they want to share fuel-costs. But here in Egypt, the problem lies not in the fuel-price, but rather in the chaotic traffic of the city.”

After introducing carpooling to the Egyptian society – a lot of people did not know what carpooling meant –, the co-founders decided to overcome the safety-issue through creating social media integration among their users via the Facebook and Twitter network, and thus offering online authentication of drivers and passengers.

“Since people who want to register are recommended to enter their university or work e-mail address, users of the same network can connect. Other than that, we have rides for females only, so that girls and women can feel safer when offering trips or looking for them,” ElGuezery adds.

Ghandour states: “We ask drivers and passengers to rate each other, demand car details of the driver, so that others can view them, and use Google Maps in order to offer a precise map of all streets in Egypt.”

Up till now, other carpooling websites had only offered vague specifications of locations, mostly according to regions, and ElGuezery and Ghandour were determined that this was on of their competitors’ main weaknesses. Google Maps on the other hand, allows users to specify their location and destination by exact addresses.

What proves that this project can be successful?, one of Egypt’s leading event-ticket-providers, has asked Wadeeny to manage the transportation of music-lovers to Omar Khairat’s concert at the Pyramids on the 8th of September, 2011.

The young entrepreneurs are even planning on establishing a Mobile Application and an Arabic Website in the future.

For more information, tune in to RadioMasr (88.7) today at 4 pm, where ElGuezery and Ghandour will be interviewed in “Kalam Wust ElBalad” (Downtown Chatter).