A shout-out video app for the Middle East

The ask
A platform to connect users and celebrities in order to launch shout-out videos (Videos where a celebrity records a personal passage for one specific user who made the request) to the Middle East in a few months.
The Solution
A set of digital applications for both users and celebrities as well as a content management tool for admins. For celebrities, we built an iOS/Android app to manage requests and record videos, while for users we also built a desktop web app.

When we started, the space of shout-out videos had not been tackled yet in the Arabic market, while the business model proved to be very successful in China, the US and a few European countries. Hence, the idea was to bring this experience to Egypt and other Middle East markets, adjusted to the specific local user needs.

Group picture of Minly team
The Challenge

The biggest challenge was the available time to build the product. Since we essentially built six applications in a few months time, we had to be very rigorous with prioritization of ideas. Further, the apps are all about videos which comes with many technical challenges since videos have a large file size and require very well thought through error messages.

A very low credit card adoption ratio in Egypt meant that we needed to integrate a local payment provider, since PayPal or other payment methods popular in Europe aren’t adopted in Egypt. Lastly, we decided to offer the app in English and Arabic - while an Arabic UI comes with some design challenges, this also meant that we needed to come up with a smart solution to translate the app and content pieces without creating a lot of work for the celebrities.

Minly dashboard UI screens

What we did

Build & iterate

We discussed expectations of everyone, gathered potential challenges (e.g. Arabic translations or cash payments) and mapped the complete end-to-end journey of a shout-out request. This was the base for deciding on the tech architecture and hiring the right engineers for the challenges ahead. We then worked in sprints of two weeks to build and iterate on product features, but also to discuss new ideas and to research and discuss upcoming challenges, such as integrating a specific local payment provider.

Consulting & handover to the local tech team

Over a few weeks, we supported Minly with the transition to the skilled local engineering team that was hired while we were developing the MVP. In several sessions we handed over the knowledge such as product decisions but also the code base of the backend infrastructure as well as the iOS, Android and Web applications. Hence, the local team could immediately iterate on the product after the handover.

Scale the marketplace

As a two-sided marketplace with celebrities on one side, we needed to make sure that shout-out requests meet a certain level of quality. Hence, we came up with a back office solution that allows the team of Minly to review requests and videos and manage all the available content in English and Arabic. Further, the tech infrastructure was selected and set up in a way so that it could scale with the business.

Two people standing in front of bushes
Group of people in a conference room

Value delivered

We planned and built a full product portfolio of user-, celebrity- and admin applications in just three months.

The MVP we built allowed Minly to launch and test the idea and business model of a shout-out application in the Egypt market. We collaborated very closely with the local tech team so that the hand-over of the project was seamless. Today, the app has been downloaded more than 50,000 times and the team iterated on the features, the experience of the application, and onboarded several top local celebrities to the platform.

Recently, Minly closed a $3.6 million seed round and continues to win local top celebrities for the platform, mainly footballers, actors and singers. Further, Minly is exploring new features like personal audio messages.

MVP Factory did a great job at planning and building the first MVP in a short time. The transition to our local tech team was very smooth.

Tarek Hosny
Logo Mui
Core Team

The humans behind this project

Fabian Kutschera
Product Manager
Paul Schraven
Project Management
Tarek Hosny
CEO and Co-founder
Mohamed El-Shinnawy
CTO and Co-founder