Dubai: Sila, the first Arabic content and community messenger app from Palestine, had a good 2017 with currently over two million downloads and being named by Forbes as among the top 100 Arab start-ups last year.
“On average, we have more than 460,000 monthly active users. Most of our users come from social media influencers’ campaign. Around 80 per cent of Sila users share the app and that helped us grow in length and breadth. Most of the users are from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Algeria,” Mona Haddad, vice-president for marketing at AppMahal, the developer of Sila, told Gulf News.
Since its launch in May 2017, she said that Sila has seen a consistent surge in users.
Most of our users come from social media influencers’ campaign. Around 80 per cent of Sila users share the app. Most of the users are from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Algeria.”
- Mona Haddad | Vice-president of AppMahal
Sila has been designed with the idea that Arab users have specific and different needs that should be matched. In order to meet the needs of daily communication, she said that AppMahal has created localised stickers, emoji’s keyboard, and GIFs that represent life among the Arab population.
Major apps try to reach too large of a market share and sacrifice personalisation for globalisation, she said and added that AppMahal is aware of the challenges they face in the Arab world such as adjusting the app to all operating systems and devices, connectivity issues because the internet is more expensive in Arab countries.
“It started as a messaging app but to compete with big players in the market we need to add value. We thought of adding content from sports, entertainment and news sites to it. Now, it is bringing content to people and people to your content,” she said.
Sila now has content from 9,500 quality sources and social media apps, within more than 20,000 public groups.
content sources Sila boasts since May 2018 launch
Haddad said that 2018 promises to realise new horizons in Arabic community content, within an ecosystem that is fresh and forward thinking. “Our aim is to increase the user base and plans to add services whereby users will be able to buy things, book taxis or flights. Right now, users can see a lot of shopping sources and sign in to get a lot of shopping deals. By end of the year, users will be able to buy,” she said.
AppMahal will be launching a new user interface for Sila to make it more user-friendly soon.
“We are not making money right now and money will eventually come later. Our aim is to increase user base and offer perfect user experience. We raised $4.5 million in ‘Round A’ funding last year and looking to close between $10 million and $12 million ‘Round B’ funding this year,” she said.