Start-up snapshot: The business behind discovering unusual attractions and breaking your routine

Godayuse founders Shadi Kamal Kandil (left) and Mohammed Shafik

Godayuse, based in Cairo, Egypt, is an online platform that allows users to discover a city’s ‘unusual’ activities and attractions, as opposed to visiting places they are already familiar with.

Businesses can list their attractions and events on Godayuse to increase foot traffic and interest. Listing is free, but upgrading to premium provides for in-depth features and greater customer interaction.

Godayuse co-founder Shadi Kamal Kandil briefed How we made it in Africa on the business’ operations so far.

1. How did you finance your start-up?

Currently, we are bootstrapping. But we’ve had an angel investment of E£120,000 (US$6,800) we secured at the end of 2015 to develop our website and release our product early 2017.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

In human resources and marketing our product. Then we will improve our website and release more products we want to provide, while expanding to more cities and countries around the world.

3. What risks does your business face?

Currently we are moving slowly because we need to spend more money marketing to be able to acquire business deals and hiring full-time, qualified employees, instead of growing with freelancers. During validation we were able to show that we can attract both B2C and B2B markets, but suddenly we’ve encountered a drop in fundraising that has limited our ability to invest in marketing and hiring the qualified staff to help us improve our service and expand rapidly.

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Inbound marketing and engaging social media posts.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

During my journey with Godayuse I’ve had many amazing moments. Maybe the best was when I received an email from Entrepreneur magazine to interview me or when I received an invitation from Google EMEA HQ to attend a special ceremony for early stage start-ups that were participating in Web Summit. When you feel that you are adding value to society, and you do something different that people really like and appreciate – this is quite amazing.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake, and what you’ve learnt from it.

My biggest mistake was when I said that I wanted to build a perfect product, and as a result, spent so much time, money and effort improving the product without marketing and only improving it according to the needs.

I exhausted myself and all my resources without pushing on the business side to secure money to keep growing. And I thought that with a good product and good achievements I will be able to secure investments to help me grow the business even without generating revenues. But I was wrong and I wasted six months trying to push this. But I’ve learnt from this, and now I’m trying to generate business deals and revenues, and focus more on my current product and acquiring more users and business customers. Then I’m sure that investments and business opportunities will come. So instead of just saying I’m building a good, unique portal – I decided to prove it.