Castpace, Taskty & Rawy: Flat6Labs Demo Day Graduates - Fall 2012

Ahmed Zidan, Jan 18 2013

Yesterday, we ran through 3 recently graduated Flat6Labs startups from the autumn 2012 cycle Demo Day, which was held on Monday, December 14 of 2012 in Cairo.

We reviewed Go Ejaza, PushBots and CIRQY yesterday, and today we will be looking at the remaining 3 startups. Similar to what we did yesterday, we will be starting with the ones we believe are most likely to succeed and secure an investment at the top.

Castpace

Castpace is a social media platform aimed at connecting regional movie makers and helping them locate human resources for the projects.

Artists can create a page to display their works, apply for a role or job, as well as create, manage and plan projects and budgets.

Producers and directors can use Castpace’s search engine to find and filter their crew based on the physical traits as well as their skills. The site also simplifies finding local talent by foreign production houses.

The platform targets indie artists, whether amateurs or professionals, the team behind it however hopes to archive as many as they can from cinema and TV personnel.

The founders state that the site is a first of its kind service in the GCC and North Africa region.

When we asked Emad Mutter, Technical Manager for Castpace, about crowd funding small projects, his answer was that the feature will be added in the future whereby the audience would be able to fund indie projects.

“Our service is a mix of Basecamp, Match.com and LinkedIn,” explained Emad during his presentation. Emad however missed the most important ingredient in the mix: IMDb (the Internet Movie Database). The site will be available in both a free and a paid version with premium features.

“The acceleration phase at Flat6Labs helped us acquire new skills, receive support and guidance, solidify our business model, and broaden our network,” says Emad to ArabNet. It was a bit peculiar that during the presentation, the slide that was used to show the website's features was of “The Shawshank Redemption”, considering that the site prioritizes the local and regional projects!

The logo is fairly simple. It is made up of the service’s name written on top of a colored film strip.

Taskty

Taskty is a social ecommerce platform that connects service providers with service seekers. The services vary from office tasks to online assistance, all the way to household services such as cleaning, electrical, carpentry, plumbing, etc…

Users can keep certain details of the required job private, specifically regarding personal information, and later disclose more details to the service provider himself, meaning that Taskty acts only as a link between the two parties without interfering with the client’s privacy.

The company’s income comes from the payments made by clients to providers, which is done exclusively through the platform.

According to Wamda, which broadcasted the event live, the website's success will depend on whether they’ll be able to get enough committed individuals to join to make the service function smoothly.

Clients can request craftsmen through the website, but will eventually be able to do that through a mobile app or a customer service center through phone.

“It is crucial that you work full time on a startup in the first months of its life, time however was a major drawback in the acceleration phase, 3 months are just not enough,” says Dr. Ahmad Galal, Founder and CEO of Taskty.

The team plans to expand beyond Cairo initially, and later in the GCC.

Again, the name here is difficult to pronounce and rather unappealing, and I did not see a logo for the company. Regardless of English origin of the word, why did they go with Taskty and not Tasky for instance?

Rawy

Rawy is a company dedicated to conceptualizing and producing Arabic educational content aimed at children aged between 3 to 6 on smartphones and tablets, in addition to digitizing, animating and gamifying print content.

While presenting his company, Mahmoud Ghoz didn't mention whether the business model is based on subscription, purchases, or both. It is quite clear however that digitizing content will be done in exchange for a onetime fee.

BookBake is a similar but older service, with a clearer concept for digitizing print content.

Digitizing print content is a good way to encourage kids to read more often, gamifying books however contradicts the idea fundamentally.

I was pleased to see that ‘Adam’s Family’, the company’s first prototype, represented various categories of the society: males, females, elderly people, people with special needs, as well as animals.

What I disliked however was that the founders failed to state the message that they are trying to deliver to the children – especially since the company’s flyer mentions “Eastern customs, values and traditions” twice.

From what I saw from ‘Adam’s Family’ the company is devoted to traditional societal values, and fails to push kids towards innovation, self reliance, and simple decision making, because if you take your own decisions, like what Adam did, you will suffer dire consequences. I hope that the company will promote independence rather than obedience in the future.

The intro made by Ahmad Bdeir, Manager of Dar al Shorouk publishing house and Rawy’s mentor, was marred by some inaccuracies on the origins of writing and proliferation of reading, since he ignored the East’s cultural role in the old civilizations and middle ages.

Despite its the focus on Arabic content, the English naming of the company was seen more frequently than the Arabic one. Moreover, the Arabic spelling was flawed: "راوى"  instead of "راوي" .

The logo's can only be deciphered by developers and programmers.

And now after we finished reviewing all of the startups, which one do you think will be the most successful?






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Flat6Labs also hosted 3 alumni from previous cycles to showcase their progress and discuss life inside and outside of the incubator. Those companies were Ask Native, Eshtery and Gyro Labs. The latter 2 companies, in addition to the 2ogra, recently secured a 2nd round of investment from Vodafone Ventures. Gyro Labs also announced a new service called Remotak.tv.

The names and logos of this cycle’s startups aren't particularly successful, and the color schemes of 3 startups are different shades of blue; CIRQY and Rawi share Facebook’s blue, while Go Ejaza’s blue looks quite similar to Twitter’s. I think that the colors were missing consistency and diversity, and some of the responsibility falls on Flat6Labs itself, especially that these startups are part of the same cycle.

“This is one of Flat6Labs’ best cycles to date,” concluded Ramez Mohammad, CEO of Flat6Labs, celebrating an exciting day where we learned of new ideas, and witnessed the graduation of startups that will help push the regional entrepreneurial scene forward.

The 4th cycle, Spring 2013, will kick off during the coming few weeks.

It is worth noting that Flat6Labs is part of the Global Accelerators’ Network (GAN)

You can read the first part of our review of Flat6Labs’ 3rd cycle here.

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