New Multilingual App Maker Released for the Arab Market

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Entrepreneurs in the Arab region now have access to a new service to create mobile applications without the help of app developers.

On Wamda, Pamela Kesrouani informs us about the latest tool entrepreneurs can use to expand their business. The world recently saw the release of Mobibus, a new project mainly aimed at helping entrepreneurs.

According to Kesrouani, the project can be regarded as a DIY-tool to can create new apps – and does so in a snap and at low costs.

Mobibus isn’t the first business of its kind: Infinite Monkeys, for example, is a similar service for users from the Arab world. Mohammed Johmani, co-founder of Mobibus, regards the service he offers as unique, however, because there is no product on the market yet that encompasses both an English and an Arabic version in one app.

According to Johmani, the idea for the app dates back from 2011. After he got Husaam Abu Zaalan from Kuwait and the Lebanese Pierre Azzam on board, the three created Mobibus using their own money. They hired seven full-time staff members and soft-launched the project at Gitex 2013. This was a wise move: by soft-launching the service first, the founders could explore the market and figure out the strategies for a successful marketing campaign.

According to Kesrouani, Mobibus enables people to create new apps in three easy steps. When developing their app, users can choose their own menu style and upload images to use in their apps. In addition, developers can also upload icons an pictures to ensure the app fits the branding of a company perfectly. The Content Management System enables users to return to the service to alter the app they created any time, Kesrouani explains. This is very convenient and saves money as well: Johmani gives the example of restaurant owners who wish to update their menu. By using Mobibus, they can do this themselves, which saves them money and time that would otherwise go to developers.

Of course, Mobibus is not a free service: users have to pay between 125 USD a year or 150 USD a month. The project currently has 500 Arab users, but Kesrouani says the difficulty remains that many Arabs are unfamiliar with the DIY phenomenon. As people in the region often prefer to be handed a finished app, Johmani says, the company also offers a service in which the company designs the entire app for the customer.

According to Kesrouoani, Mobibus’ biggest clients to date have been big corporations. Mobibus helps these companies create content heavy apps that require technology that goes beyond the technology offered in the DIY service. One of these companies is the City Centre Mall, which has 12 establishments all over the Arab region. However, Johmani states that 60 per cent of all apps are created with the DIY option. This is in line with the companies target customers: Johmani says the company mainly wishes to target entrepreneurs and SMEs. The main part of Mobibus’ revenue now comes from big enterprises, but 2014 will tell if the company can shift its focus towards individual entrepreneurs, Kesrouani says.

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