Mai Medhat was all over Social Media last week when she appeared on the panel of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 alongside Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and President of the United States Barack Obama. Mai Medhat’s project which she co-founded with Nihal Fares is Eventtus, an app which helps its user find the nearest events around them in their city, as well as keep attendees informed with the event’s agenda, speakers… etc. We spoke to her soon after the summit to find out more about her work, her thoughts on entrepreneurship, and her experience as a whole.
“And since then Eventtus has become the partner to the top conferences, exhibitions and most entrepreneurship events in the Middle East.”
When you started Eventtus did you ever imagine it would go this far so quickly?
When my co-founder Nihal Fares and I quit our jobs to start working on our idea, we had not thought about what success looks like. We just had passion and determination to fill a gap that we experienced ourselves at events.
In no time after it launched in Egypt, Eventtus took the first steps toward expansion and opened its first office in Dubai. And since then Eventtus has become the partner to the top conferences, exhibitions and most entrepreneurship events in the Middle East. More than 800 organizers have used Eventtus to manage more than 7,500 events.
Normally people will bring a franchise into Egypt, but to start an Egyptian brand that goes international is something that doesn’t happen every day. Is this what you wanted to do from the get go?
Yes, building an International brand is our goal from day one. We believe that we have all it takes to build a global product. We have great talents in Egypt and we were lucky to have the best Engineers in Egypt join our team and work to solve a worldwide problem.
“this is the message I want to deliver to entrepreneurs from Egypt and the region. Do not give up. The path is long and hard, but your hard work and perseverance will pay off.”
Sitting on the panel next to one of the world’s most successful, and probably the best known, entrepreneur as well as the President of the United States, and representing your work, can you finally say all your hard work paid off?
Yes of course! Hard work really pays off. And this is the message I want to deliver to entrepreneurs from Egypt and the region. Do not give up. The path is long and hard, but your hard work and perseverance will pay off. Sitting on the panel with President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg is a big milestone for Eventtus, but it’s not the end.
What do you think makes Eventtus so special?
Eventtus was triggered by a need. And what we do is recognize and identify our customers’ needs and find solutions using technology to fulfill it. We listen to our customers, users, mentors, and we’re constantly looking for ways to further develop and enhance the event engagement experience for attendees and organizers alike.
“This was more than just the opportunity of a life-time, this was a moment that arrived after a long and challenging journey”
The instant reaction in Egypt was positives, how did that make you feel?
This was a very, very proud moment not just for me, but for the entire Eventtus team. This was more than just the opportunity of a life-time, this was a moment that arrived after a long and challenging journey that we endured to make Eventtus the successful event engagement platform that it is today. I am very thankful for all the positive feedback and support I received after the panel.
Were there any people who wanted you to have a conventional job and let go of Eventtus at the beginning?
No! I am very lucky to have a very supportive family and friends who were always pushing me to purse my dreams.
How did you react to some people’s negative reactions on Social Media on your picture with Mark Zuckerberg?
To be honest, I was so overwhelmed with the positive calls, emails and messages from a lot of supporters, friends, family and mentors. There will always be someone who’s looking at the empty half of the glass. I was never this person, and I don’t intend to be.
“Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa is ready to compete on a global level.”
How do you feel about the entrepreneurial scene in Egypt? We’re starting to see summits like Riseup, for example, has this changed things on the scene?
Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa is ready to compete on a global level. Sitting on that panel with President Obama and one of the world’s most admired entrepreneurs, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, made me feel like there is so much hope and optimism for our regional ecosystem. The past two years especially we have seen many success stories. And the incredible success of the RiseUp Entrepreneurship Summit is definitely changing the scene.
What’s a word of advice you have for young entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up! Entrepreneurship is not easy at all, but you need to believe in yourself and surround yourself with smart people who believe in you and push you to your limits. Always keep learning and reading about new trends and latest technologies and don’t be shy to ask for help or advice from fellow entrepreneurs and mentors. Having a supportive team and ecosystem is key for success.