“Most people want to meet someone not only of the same religion, but of the same denomination of their religion.” Et3arraf was developed during Lebanese accelerator Seeqnce’s first and only acceleration program.
With her distinct and humorous storytelling, Soad offers her personal account of courtship in the Middle East. Originally from Egypt, she currently lives in Azerbaijan.
Since childhood, I have always dreamt of becoming a NASA astronaut and finding a cure for cancer.
It’s a recipe they say results in more successful marriages.
Promoting successful marriages might sound lofty, but in conservative countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia, young singles are challenged to find a mate.
“ He and Nimer met at a tech mixer, and agreed that marriage websites were an untapped market in the Arab world.
“There is a cultural constraint between genders [in the region],” Maalouf says. And at the same time, there is a lot of social pressure for young people to get married at a certain age: You are 30? You should find a wife.” Conceived as something similar to Ok Cupid or e Harmony, the cofounders say et3arraf uniquely preserves “the cultural constraint” for conservative Arabs, while giving users the chance to interact and meet more like-minded matches.There is limited interaction between a man and a woman.” Some et3arraf features that preserve this “cultural constraint” include anonymous profiles and withheld contact information, restricting users to messaging only their matches, and “progressive intimacy sharing,” in which a user’s photo is blurred until they choose to share it.The founders say the site’s success is based on the “fact that we respect the privacy in the beginning.” Active for nine months, et3arraf has already spawned a few marriages.Calling it a “good problem,” Maalouf is waiting for his lawyers to weigh in, but thinks he’d prefer angel to VC financing: “We still decide everything about the site and I am not sure if I want to share it with someone yet.” Et3arraf lays claim to being the first Middle Eastern dating platform, “for Arabs, by Arabs, in Arabic.” “We think we are successful in countries where cultural constraints make it difficult for singles from opposite gender to meet,” say Maalouf and his co-founder Rakan Nimer.The idea for et3arraf was borne from a heartbreak Maalouf suffered in France.“I came back to Lebanon and I had the idea that it is really important to find someone that is close to your values, your principles and what you stand for,” he explains.