How Egypt’s Next Unicorn is Pioneering a New Corporate Culture
Omar Gabr, founder of Instabug, believes that playing hard is as much a key to its success as having the best, hardest working team in the business. The team, which just returned from a week of adventure in Beirut, explains why fun is important to their company culture.
Work hard, play hard.
These four words are repeated so often they’re almost cliché, but the team at Instabug takes this mantra seriously; their fun is just as important to them as their work. Fresh off the tail of a week-long company retreat in Beirut, Instabug’s crew tells us about their evolving corporate culture, which values its employees even more than the products they design. What they’re doing is working, and the company is poised to become the Middle East’s next entrepreneurial unicorn, with over $1.7 million in investments already raised.
The startup is making waves in Egypt, both in terms of the innovative appeal of its product, and in the culture of the company itself. The product is a mobile bug reporting app that allows any user to notify developers anytime something unexpected happens, just with a shake of the phone. The idea was a wild success, and they received funding from Egyptian accelerator Flat6Labs, smashed the competition with a first-place win at the 2013 MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, and managed to pitch their startup to foreign investors abroad despite political turmoil in Egypt. Last year, Instabug received $1.7 million in seed funding from Accel Partners. The startup now manages 70 percent of its operations abroad, a testament to its global appeal.
Instabug may have exported its ideas to Silicon Valley, but some of Silicon Valley rubbed off on the team as well. The company’s commitment to playing just as hard as they work is reminiscent of the attitude seen in many Western tech startups, the reasoning behind being that a quirky, fun corporate culture can keep team members fresh and inspired and that invigorated employees will bring better ideas and higher quality work to the table with them. In May, the BugSquad took a week-long retreat to Beirut for sightseeing, extreme sports, playing in the snow, and just enjoying a vacation together as a team. “I truly believe we have one of the strongest and most talented teams in the region, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time, doubling down on our vision to be Egypt’s first unicorn,” explains Omar Gabr, co-founder and CEO. “It’s time for the Play Hard part so it made total sense to take some time off and go on this epic retreat.”
Instabug is creating a corporate culture that doesn’t exist on a widespread level in the Middle East yet. They shared their smiling faces with us in the video below. Yasmine Helmy, the company’s Growth Marketer, remarks positively on their experiences, saying, “getting to travel together as a team was awesome as we got to know each other on a personal level and I honestly was surprised to discover some pretty cool things about the BugSquad during the retreat. I can't wait for the next time we all travel together again!”