ITAGIT TECHNOLOGIES’ ADHAM MAGHRABY
On Disrupting Music & Tv with Apps That Bring “Never Seen Before” Real-Time Mobile Experiences
From being born and raised in Kuwait, the first Egyptian employee [number 13 to be exact] at Egypt’s first mobile operator, Mobinil; to establishing his very own tech company, MediaWave [now ITAGIT technologies]: Adham Maghraby defines disruption as “facilitating convenience in context.” In this particular case, the context he’s referring to is how people engage, interact and consume music, TV and Live events via mobile apps.
“Disruption is directly related to solving existing consumer problems or business model related problems, those are the areas where opportunities lie, where growth and market tangents hide,” Adham elaborated. While some forms of this disruption can turn entire industries obsolete, others can transform the dynamics in the market. With help from his angel investors, Mr. Moustapha Sarhank and Mrs. Shahira Zeid, Adham’s venture with ITAGIT Technologies is changing the way users interact with their favorite content.
You’ve previously likened entrepreneurship to big wave surfing. Why is that?
Have you witnessed big wave surfing? I am not talking about 10 or 15 foot waves, but about 35 to 65 foot waves! You need to have a special mind set to go for that. It’s not for everyone, it’s not easy, it can kill you, and you need to be 1000% committed to succeed. Once you take off, there is no turning back, you are going to get tossed around like a rag doll and your heart is going to be pounding against your chest. Once you take off and surf down the face of that wave with a wall of water chasing you as you make it through; there is no feeling like it on earth. This is why I think entrepreneurship and big wave surfing are very much alike.
How did establishing MediaWave fare for you, and what did you learn from the experience?
I think that MediaWave was a major learning experience. Being an entrepreneur requires a quantum shift in your mindset and I was fortunate enough, with the grace of God, to witness that. My mentor and angel investor, Mr. Moustapha Sarhank, not only listened to my ideas, but also believed in my vision and incubated MediaWave through its early years and the turbulent years of the revolution. Early versions of the technology were pushed forward and evolved into multiple apps, each designed to disrupt a specific mobile media market segment. In light of this evolution and technological development, Mrs. Shahira Zeid, my second angel investor, came on board. We then underwent a corporate restructure, where ITAGIT technologies was incorporated and became the holding company and MediaWave Egypt became a subsidiary with ownership to all IP, code and commercial rights to all the apps and brands.
What led ITAGIT Technologies to develop TETHER?
I was in my car listening to the local radio station and a ‘golden oldie’ came on, brought back memories, and I wanted it. Three days later I downloaded the song, and ended up downloading a file that was infected with a virus. It basically destroyed my hard drive and I lost all my work – over a song! That was the inspiring moment for me, that’s when I developed the very first version of TETHER.
It was an innovative SMS service that allowed listeners to tag and download their favorite music directly off live radio directly on their mobile phones and email, in high quality.
That was my first patent in the US and Europe. TETHER, as it is today, with all its progression in features along with the TVTAG and LIVETAG apps all evolved from that first innovation.
How is TETHER different from other music apps? What were the disruptive strategies utilized to differentiate TETHER from other apps?
We enjoy a technology advantage with our IP, along with considerable cost and content advantages, the average person carries between 3 and 6 music related apps: One or two for streaming, one for their downloaded playlists, one for music audio ID, YouTube for search, and another for radio. The market is fragmented, leaving the user scrambling between all these apps to get his complete music experience.
With TETHER, we’ve consolidated and integrated these music discovery tools into a single app. This way, the user has unlimited access to search, browse, discover, stream, share, capture and or buy all the music his heart desires all in audio/video. We have also innovated with radio as a discovery medium. No one does radio like TETHER!
TETHER is free to download with unlimited search, streaming, song ID along with other features but with limited access or choose the premium version and enjoy unlimited access to all features for only $1.99 (0.61 KWD) per month.
What is the disruptive strategy utilized throughout TETHER, LIVETAG and TVTAG to allow users this unique interaction?
We employed multiple disruptive strategies in the development of our apps. We innovated with our technology, we leveraged existing players and added value to them and we integrated them to deliver a seamless experience. A big part of our strategy is “realtime interactivity”. We focus on connecting consumers to content in real-time via mobile, regardless of the source of the content, be it radio, TV or LIVE, satellite, digital or analogue based.
Can you tell us about TETHER’s journey so far?
TETHER has been well received, we have some feedback from users that allowed us to work on updating the app to streamline the user experience further. We have learned that when it comes to music, users want convenience, access and control. Accordingly, we have just expanded our content offering to include radio based charts and archives, our free trail of the premium version of TETHER has also been expanded to 60 days and of course, our trademark real-time browsing and streaming of radio playlists was expanded to include top stations from Egypt, Dubai and London our music catalogue is extensive because it is based on YouTube and other music providers worldwide. Look out for V2 of TETHER it is going to have some very cool new music features.
Did the development of TETHER organically lead to the development of LIVETAG and TVTAG? Could you tell us more about these two apps?
Yes, it did. With TVTAG viewers can tag and capture minute long video directly off the channel they are watching. It is then delivered to the app allowing the user to edit and share the video across social media. LIVETAG does the same with live events.
In your mind, where and how do you think users engage most with content?
Video is the fastest growing form of digital content across social media sites. With the internet booming, streaming digital TV and digital radio is starting to boom, but it still represents a small share of the overall content consumption category.People still listen to radio in their cars, but they also carry smartphones with radio apps making it a hybrid experience that will continue to shift and change – just like magazines and newspapers. But, in the future all content will be streamed to devices anytime, anywhere. Personally though, I love the feel of a glossy magazine in my hands and the rustle of the newspaper in the morning. And of course, you can’t really swat a fly with a tablet.
Can you tell us about ITAGIT’s apps’ latest updates?
For TVTAG we recently added new TV channels to the app allowing more diverse tagging options from more TV based content. We have also started working on V2 of TVTAG and will enjoy more cool video editing tools to help users make their tagged videos their own. And we’ll also be introducing LIVETAG very soon.
How is 2017 looking for ITAGIT Technologies?
This is going to be our break out year. We are very excited about the introduction of our new app versions and the strategic partnerships we are currently cultivating to close in Q2 of 2017.
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