Published on July 10th, 2012 | by Senior Editor0
Africa’s Response to Google? Ingenious Search Engine from Egypt
Ashraf and Haytham El Fadeel created a search engine that attempts to mimic human language. From growing up as computer-absorbed teens to award-winning entrepreneurs, the brothers are the hottest commodities in Egypt’s emergent IT sector.
Growing up in Portsaid, Egypt, Ashraf and Haytham El Fadeel were interested in with computers from an early age. Ashraf, for starters, has been coding since as far back as elementary school. Based on a self-taught understanding of computer science, the two initially built and designed the Kngine website themselves in 2008, running a streamlined, albeit modest, site on about US $1,000 a month.
By 2011, the company had grown to 12-employees, but, as with most young technology start-ups, Kngine needed an influx of capital to expand. Their big break came when the company participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Program hosted in Cairo for Egyptian entrepreneurs. As part of the event, the Chamber of Commerce, the American University in Cairo and a venture capital firm based in Cairo hosted a business plan competition to identify two promising entrepreneur organisations.
A panel of eight experts recognised Kngine as one of the top two positions at the competition, awarding them a USD $20,000 prize. In addition the company draw the interests of Ahmed el-Alfi, founder of Sawari Ventures, who have since become one of their main investors.
Modelled after the human brain, Kngine continuously reads information added to the Web, attempting to comprehend it and then storing the knowledge to memory. The result is a ‘smart’ search engine that, when faced with a question like, ‘what date did the Titanic set sail?’ understands the question in a similar way a human would by taking the context in account.
Ashraf and Haytham El Fadeel are inspiring examples of pioneering entrepreneurs who had faith in their skills and were willing to take the leap of faith. From there, they created something that filled a gap in the market for the one thing that humans always want: convenience.