Entrepreneurs in Egypt: Meet Ahmed Negm
With over twenty million people, Cairo is the biggest city in Egypt, making it the largest city in Africa and the Middle East, and the fifth largest metropolitan area on earth. The increase in the population, without a modern transportation infrastructure, makes the traffic jams in Cairo unbearable, especially during rush hour when there are more than two million cars in the street. There are many consequences from the traffic congestion, not only pollution from cars, and wasted hours of the day, but more seriously blocked pathways prevent ambulances from getting through, which leads to death.
Transportation infrastructure doesn’t only mean building new roads, it includes maintaining the old ones, creating traffic light systems, and ensuring safety in the streets. Many entrepreneurs have tried to solve the traffic jam problem by using mobile apps, but they only help avoid crowded streets. The real problem that Cairo is facing is the number of cars that are moving in 236,000 miles of road.
Carpooling has been successful at solving the traffic jam problem in many crowded cities all over the world, and it’s time for Cairo to use carpooling which is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel. It reduces travel costs, stress of driving, and, most importantly, the number of cars on the street.
For many of the Egyptian entrepreneurs, carpooling in Cairo seemed impossible because of political instability and safety issues, but in 2014 Ahmed Negm, with his sister Samira Negm, succeeded in founding Raye7 (which translates in English to “Going”), the first carpooling mobile app in Egypt.
Ahmed studied at the Faculty of Engineering at The Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport in Egypt (AASTMT). From a young age, Ahmed travelled all over the world for conferences, trainings, and internships, and has been to more than twenty countries. Ahmed used to work as an Experience Manager at the RiseUp Summit, one of the biggest entrepreneurship summits in North Africa. He also used to organize leadership conferences and exchange programs around Africa with AIESEC. Ahmed was inspired during his time in Tokyo, where he lived for six months as a solar cells intern at Ulvac Technologies. “I used hitchhiking many times in Tokyo and I have travelled over than 2,000 kilometers by carpooling,” says Ahmed.
Ahmed and his team faced many challenges when founding Raye7 in Egypt, but the most challenging and complicated obstacle they faced was how to ensure safety with the political and economical instability in Egypt. “We had to try the mobile app in small communities to build trust,” he says. “That’s why we built partnerships with companies and universities so their employees and students can use Raye7’s mobile app.”
Ahmed and his team usually update Raye7’s mobile app to make it as friendly and easy as possible. During the last year, Ahmed has joined many international competitions inside and outside of Egypt. Ahmed and his team won 2nd place in mobile app competitions, Demo Africa in Egypt, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Ahmed is planning to use the Raye7 mobile app in major events in Cairo, where all attendees can come together instead of each of them coming alone in his/her car. In addition, they plan to use Raye7 in multinational companies around Egypt, and are very keen to try the app in small communities where people already trust each other.