My Startup World spoke to Mohamed Farid, the CEO of ferrycode, to learn more about the products and solutions his company offers and the entrepreneurial journey so far.
Can you tell us something about Mohamed Farid?
Mohamed Farid is an Information Technology expert, CEO of ferrycode company and one of the core members of the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), Cabinet of Ministers, in Egypt, with over 12 years of experience in building various information systems.
Farid holds a Masters degree in Business Information Technology from Middlesex University, UK and has obtained his dissertation in Knowledge Management. Mohamed Farid is an Information Technology expert and one of the core members of the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) in Egypt, with over 12 years’ experience building various information systems. Farid holds a Master degree in Business Information Technology from Middlesex University, UK and has obtained his dissertation in Knowledge Management.
He participated as a guest speaker, in the European Conference of Knowledge Management (ECKM) 2011 in Germany, discussing his paper “Enterprise 2.0: Knowledge Management for Decision Support”. He also authored publication titled “Modern Methods of Information Provision and its Role in Development and Promoting the Civil Society”, in context of the 1st on Information Circulation in Egypt. In 2006-2007, he was invited by the Japanese government to participate in “Web Application Specialist for e-government using Open Source technology” program in Okinawa International Center.
How did you arrive on the idea behind Ferrycode?
The initial idea to start my own business came to me, when I was in Japan between 2006 and 2007. I had a real customer need to develop an editorial workflow management solution, something that would be competitive with the solutions made by foreign companies.
After analyzing the media market, meeting national and foreign experts in both knowledge and content management, I set out to start planning for the development of the first product by ferrycode called “NEWSROOM 247” from scratch.
How and when was the company started?
Our company was started on 9th December 2010. The idea started with a real customer pain – I had spoken to someone who works in the media sector and had a problem with managing content and business workflow efficiently and effectively. That was the real birth date for the idea behind NEWSROOM 247, an editorial workflow and multi-publishing solution.
Give us details on how you collected the funds for the company, the people you contacted and so on.
ferrycode is a self funded company. The company started with just one employee, who had to take on the roles of a manager, a developer and a marketer at the same time.
How do you think will products from Ferrycode change the way companies look at IT solutions, software services and web applications?
ferrycode solutions was driven by an actual customer demand. When the solution was developed and ready, we tested it directly, and that made us believe in the top quality of our services and solutions.
NEWSROOM 247 is is the first and only editorial management system in Egypt. It can be accessed anytime using different devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and so on. There are different pricing models available – from fixed price, to monthly and yearly subscription fees.
What is the primary source of revenue for Ferrycode?
The primary source of revenue is the subscription charges for using our solutions and the annual support services we provide for a fee.
Did you encounter any hurdles while setting up the company?
Nothing is easy in the beginning, and we’ve faced many hurdles while setting up and developing our first product. One of the major challenges for us was the economic and political circumstances in Egypt and the Middle East, when we were just starting up. The lack of software development and well-educated specialists was also a hurdle, as was the fear of adopting new technologies.
What kind of investment was made to launch Ferrycode? Have you broken even?
A huge investment has gone into building what ferrycode is today. Most of the funding has come from my personal savings. Yes, we have reached the break even point for now.
How do you market your services?
We focus a lot on the local market. Hence, we try to capitalise on each and every media contacts we have in this region. We want to build a list of stable clients and reference list to start expanding and entering into new market segments. We also use e-mail marketing campaigns and social media to spread the word about our company and the products and solutions we offer. In addition, we also attend local and global media events in order to make new connections as well as maintaining the good relationship with current ones.
Apart from being involved in Ferrycode, are you also involved in other business / initiatives / companies / startups?
We’ve been participating in start-up competitions with two different projects, as we are aiming to make them a real product and go live with them locally and internationally. My plan as an entrepreneur is to go into more sectors, serve more industries, and develop advanced solutions in the Middle East. At the end of the day, starting a business is easy, but maintaining the success is the hard part of it.