Egyptian brand new android browser Wasla just secured $180,000 which marks its first round of funding led by Omar Barakat and followed by several other strategic angel investors.
Wasla aspires to build a product that would facilitate this ever-increasing need to stay connected through subsidising user mobile-data costs by leveraging digital advertising.
With the investment, Wasla will launch the beta testing phase and fuel the browser’s user growth in addition to build the necessary marketing and technology infrastructure. After a year of developing the platform in stealth, Wasla finally launched its product during the sixth edition of Rise Up Summit, between 7thand 9thof December.
“We sealed the deal before the summit, however, the buzz created during the summit put us in contact with interesting investors,” one of the three co-founders behind Wasla, Serag Meneassy tells Startup Scene.
“RiseUp Summit was part of the launch strategy we had in mind and it was great exposure to test the waters and understand more about what our customers wanted,” says Taymour Sabry. “We got up-close with our users and asked specific questions to help collect feedback for version two of Wasla which we are rolling out in a few weeks; the Wasla you see is just the beginning.”
The Wasla co-founders are on a mission to provide over 500 million people in emerging markets with free mobile internet. “We plan on growing our team and focus on product development,” says Wasla’s third co-founder Mahmoud El-Said. “Test marketing channels as well as partnerships. This phase will enable us to build the foundation on which we can scale up Wasla and prepare it for the next round. This is a small milestone to unlocking mobile internet to the masses.”
Wasla’s target market comprises of prepaid smartphone users between the ages of 13 and 40 which represents the majority of the Egyptian population; around 50 million. In Egypt, over 97 percent of households have access to mobile internet, while only 42 percent have access to ADSL, which leaves almost 55 percent of households reliant on mobile internet.
Egypt’s digital advertising industry is still developing with double digit growth expected throughout 2025. Currently, advertisers still heavily rely on traditional advertising channels such as TV, billboards and radio - even though consumer habits have significantly shifted towards digital and mobile channels; with the average Egyptian spending over 26 hours a week online through their mobile phone.
This represents an unprecedented opportunity for a consumer internet product for the masses; which Wasla Browser plans to fill. Meneassy also points out that it was the media exposure that helped them get over 2,000 downloads in less than 48 hours without a single advertisement. “This landed us a spot on the top trending apps in Egypt across the Google Play Store,” the co-founder adds. “Imagine what would happen when we start promoting Wasla!”