These two refugees created a new way to share photos, videos, and chat with your inner circle
Technology allows us to share important moments with our friends and family, no matter where they are in the world. Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Instagram let people post pictures and status updates, giving the world a window into our lives.
While many people, especially the younger generation, are perfectly happy to put themselves out there in such a public way, there are others who want to be able to share only with those in their inner circle.
For those folks, who this writer counts himself among them, a new app that launched this week called Taza may offer a solution. Co-founded by Iraqi refugees Nawar Nory and Ammar Naamat, who left Baghdad in 2006, Taza is a cross between a messaging app and a social network platform that gives its users a new way to interact with those closest to them.
Having started with a soft Beta offering in August last year, they have now launched their app for iOS and Android.
After leaving Iraq, the two co-founders who had previously worked in the telecom industry, found themselves in North America while other members of their family were spread throughout the world, with Nory who lives in Canada saying that he has family in countries like Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Jordan.
Naamat tells Geektime that the idea for the app came from speaking with his wife who was looking for a way to chat and share photos specifically with her family that was spread out across the world while maintaining her privacy.
Looking to address this need that the two co-founders say is especially strong in the more conservative parts of the developing countries that shy away from being so public with their lives, they created Taza.
Taza allows users to interact with other users who are already listed as contacts in their phones. In contrast to apps like Whatsapp, which have become exceedingly popular outside the US, Taza lets users open up chats based on new topics for commenting on that are only available for viewing by those tagged in the post.
When a new message comes in to a topic based group communication, it automatically rises to the top. The company says that since only those tagged in the post will be a part of the conversation, it cuts down on the long threads that can happen with other group chats.
One of the elements that makes Taza unique is how it saves the posted content on the users device, allowing them to access the images and other information offline like they would on Whatsapp.
Nory tells Geektime that, “It’s a tailored offline network feed that works within your phone.”
Their decision to go for this model is derived from the fact that 3G coverage in parts of the developing world is rather spotty and people are dependent on apps that have offline features as well. For many people, the Internet cafe is still a center for connecting with the web.
Taza says that they are looking to target women in the developing world that have a strong social fabric and like to share with each other on topics like fashion, food, and family.
At the beginning, Nory says that they can reach out to a wide group of users who are on Facebook as consumers of content but are not sharing much themselves. He cites the fact that ad buying in the developing world is cheap and effective, with $1 being enough to reach 4,000 people a day.
In the meantime, the company is looking to raise funds that will allow them to develop more features.
They are hoping to work on an advertising business model where brands can reach an otherwise difficult to reach audience.
Regarding the competition, they will likely face some challenges against the more established apps like Whatsapp as they try to win over users with their social network features.
Taza is taking a different approach to the messaging and social network app, choosing to focus their efforts on the developing world. This is a departure from many other companies that set their sights on breaking Facebook and Snapchat’s vise-like grip on the Western market.
Unbeknownst to many in the West, mobile technology has a very strong penetration in the developing world, creating an excellent opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship. What is important at this stage is thinking of products that will work for these emerging markets and not simply replicating what the big players in the US have done.
The co-founders tell Geektime that they will not be holding on to user data, which is good news for the privacy-minded public that they are hoping to turn into users.
This app still has to go through more development, including features down the road like search features for finding content. But for the time being, they seem to have most of the important elements in place for a solid app.
Featured Image Credit: Taza PR