Wasla, a browser that subsidizes users costs, has launched with $180,000 in pre-seed funding. The startup made the announcement at the recently concluded RiseUp Summit in Egypt.
"After a year of developing the platform in stealth, Wasla successfully launched its product at the 2018 Rise Up Summit," they wrote.
The startup claims to have "attracted over 2,000 users organically in under 48hours" after the launch. "This traction landed Wasla the #2 spot on the Google Play Store Trending Apps," they added.
The startup raised the funding from a group of "strategic angel investors" led by Omar Barakat.
According to the press release, Wasla will channel the funds to the launch of the beta testing phase. They will also focus on "fueling user growth as well as to building the necessary marketing and technology infrastructure".
Serag Meneassy and Taymour Sabry - both ex-Rocket Internet - founded the company. As well as Mahmoud El Said - an investor turned co-founder - and an Investment Banker at Beltone Financial.
Wasla’s target market comprises of prepaid smartphone users between the ages of 13-40. This, according to the startup, represents the majority of the Egyptian population.
"In Egypt, over 97% of households have access to mobile internet, while only 42% have access to ADSL, which leaves almost 55% of households reliant on mobile internet."
Currently, they only have the Android web browser. But, it is unlikely that they will launch on any other operating system. Especially, when you consider their target market.
The Wasla Browser subsidizes user's mobile data costs by leveraging digital advertising.
"It gamifies the user’s experience by allowing them to freely surf the internet all while completing in-app missions and actions to earn points. [These] are ultimately redeemable for free mobile data and airtime directly from Wasla’s very own ‘Wasla-wallet’."
The startup's goal is to connect 500+ million people across Africa and the Middle East to the internet. But, starting with Egypt.