April ‘17
The Innovative Entrepreneur

April ‘17
Ramez Youssef
Ramez Youssef


    


It might seem too eccentric to synthesize an idea never before done in Egypt; to establish a business with a limited financial budget, but a river of phenomenal pitches. Ramez Youssef was able to participate, along with his partner Mohamed El Bassiouni, to found Egypt’s first online media hub. We got to speak to Ramez, one of the masterminds behind the demiurgic agency, and he’s told us all about his journey.

Tell us how Tayarah happened.

After I took my degree in architecture and finished my army service, I ran into Mohamed El Bassiouni by accident back when I used to do stand-up comedy at AUC, El Sawy Wheel, and in carnivals. He suggested we make an online show, and I was up for it. Mohamed ElBassiouni and Magdy Omar founded Disalata in 2012. It was the first online platform to air online-only content, other than Bassem Youssef. We carried on with shows and parodies including ‘Mish impossible’ and ‘Huppa Egyptian Style’ until we decided we wanted to upgrade our project to an agency. That’s when Mohamed Bassiouni and I founded ‘Tayarah’, an online creative & media hub. That’s how it all started.


What made you leave ‘Disalata’ behind and start over with ‘Tayarah’?

‘Disalata’ was a name of a project rather than an agency or a platform, so it was started as a brand that was run by a team. For instance SNL is run by a group of talented people that perform a show made of sketches. ‘Disalata’ was the same. We had a team of talented individuals who worked to offer something creative to the public, be that a sketch, a song or a show. But then our agenda kept evolving into encompassing programs, branded content and online ads, as well as branded or unbranded songs. It self-evolved from being a team-based project to almost an agency with different products, so we decided to officially take it to the next level: creating ‘Tayarah’.


Why did you chose the name ‘Tayarah’?

Because we had very few tools and a limited budget, but our ideas went up the sky. Tayarah: “ like a kite” ... Great ideas with simple tools, yet capable of reaching the clouds.


Why the internet?

Because right after the revolution, the internet was much more powerful than any other platforms with no limitations. By using a single picture or a video, you could stir up controversy and spark an entire movement.


What is your philosophy?

‘Tayarah’ exists to educate, entertain and inspire people. The fasted way to do that is through the internet. Since then, we have been doing our best to add value to our work; we give back to the community through our positive, optimistic content. The most influential medium back then in order to do so, and until now, is the internet.


What was your breakthrough?

About a year and a half ago, Hend Sabry decided to venture into the realm of the internet by choosing ‘Tayarah’ to invest in. She’s now our partner, and ever since, we’ve been trending even more due to such a woman with her star status investing in our business. Our second breakthrough was our Orange campaign, which was originally my idea. We initiated it, too; we had the idea, we proposed it, and they accepted. The idea was a generation song on the behalf of our entire generation dedicated to the whole world.


Name some of your most important clients.

We don’t really use the term “client”, because we don’t work by client, but by project. We start a project and we find whomever this idea can fit. But to answer your question, we have worked with Pepsi, Orange, Vodafone, Almarai, Juhayna, Nestlé, and L’Oreal. Lots of big names in the digital media.


How do you juggle between your business and your personal life?

It’s not easy, but you could say I was forced to learn through experience. I am an architect; I worked in Philips Lighting and had to juggle between that and ‘Tayarah’. It was very challenging, so I took a big step last month to quit my job as a designer, and give my 100% to ‘Tayarah’. It had to be done because I have to take my business to the next level.


How does the ‘Tayarah’ team communicate with their followers?

We always engage with our followers. One of our most viral videos called ‘Kashmagy’ was originally one of our friends’ ideas. He sent us a message with a pitch for a spoof, so we called him up, met with him, and we worked on it. He even made it to the video. Before working on any projects, we make an announcement and invite people to work on it with us.


By Rania Ihab