One of the Middle East’s Hottest Start-Ups is an Obituary Site

The site allows users to post death announcements and funeral notices.

In the years since the 2011 Arab uprisings, countries in the Middle East and North Africa have plunged into protracted violence and political unrest. From Benghazi to Damascus to Baghdad, war and displacement have become the permanent conditions of many of those who live in the region. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, and profoundly poignant that one of the top new techonology Middle East start-ups of the year is an online obituary platform called El Wafeyat. The website allows people to memorialize their dead loved ones publicly, as well as announce details of the funeral and recieve condolences. Yousef Samaa, a CEO of El Wafeyat, says it’s a service that was once provided by a newspaper industry that is no longer capable of delivering news efficiently.

"You can miss a wedding or a birthday, but you can’t miss their funeral," Samaa told Fast Co-Exist. "Not everyone reads the newspaper anymore, so there are no proper tools to get the news."

Based out of Cairo, the company was founded Samaa, Omar Hamdalla and Nesma El Far. After presenting their website to angel investor Dave McClure, he awarded them with a $100,000 investment throught his seed accelerator, 500 Startups.

“Ultimately, we would like to build a global product by changing people’s behavior towards obituaries, funerals and condolences; by offering a personalised, instant and cost-effective way to announce and send condolences,” El Far told CairoScene. “We have a unique product, so maybe in five years we’d get acquired by a giant tech company in Silicon Valley. Who knows?“

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

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