Part of our “Better Together” Photo Story series, featured in the February 2017 issue of Inc. Arabia. Insider stories from sibling and spouse pairs in the MENA Region that co-run companies; and the good and bad that comes with running a family business.
Karim Elsahy and Abeer Elsisi – Cairo, Egypt-based Couple
In 2016, Karim and Abeer co-founded Elves, an application that connects its users with real-life assistants for several kinds of tasks, such as buying gifts, booking tickets for special occasions and so on. They estimate the value of their company to be around $5 million.
KARIM: I have always spent a lot of time learning about Artificial Intelligence. Abeer and I were both working on another startup at the time but when the idea for Elves came to us in December 2015, we decided to hack into it immediately. We received seed funding and built Elves in one week. It’s funny, Abeer and I have co-founded three startups so far, and at the same time had two kids; the latter is the harder part!
ABEER: We try not to bring our work home with us, but we somehow always do. It’s hard because launching a business has its ups and downs, and it is a daily struggle. We both give it 100% and hope that it works out. We understand when the other is working towards a deadline. If I have to spend more time at the office, I never have to explain myself. Karim is more than happy to help out with the children.
KARIM: Abeer is very much a social, people person.
ABEER: And Karim, not so much!
KARIM: She has tremendous amounts of empathy, and that is why our app’s users are not just something digital to her, but a natural embodiment of herself. I am more mathematical; I love the metric side of things. The way we balance each other out in our job translates into how happy our users are with us. We get all sorts of help requests, but the romantic ones are my favorite.
ABEER: Oh yes, we get a lot of challenging wedding proposals that we orchestrate with a lot of precision and effort. It is rewarding when we’ve converted our consumer’s vision into reality.
Photograph by: Nada Elissa