Egypt’s innovative touch sticker company ViViFi, one of the champions of the recent DEMO Africa 2013 conference, secured USD 70K from investors and is now raising a new round of USD 1.2 million and looking for partnerships with large technology manufacturers in African, North American and European markets. Accredited investors who registered a VC4Africa Pro Account can see full details on ViViFi’s VC4Africa venture profile. We had a chance to catch up with ViViFi founder Haitham Desoky.
Please introduce your product?
“Our touch sticker innovation invisibly turns non-conductive materials into touch surfaces that can interact with human contact. The technology can transform all non-conductive surfaces with limited thickness – like wood, glass, etcetera – into touch sensors or screens, through sticking transparent stickers on the surfaces’ opposite side.
The idea mainly relies on the effect of electrostatic energy inside the human body. When physical contact occurs between the human body and any insulating surface like wood, plastic glass, marble or textile, the touch stickers sense the position and movement of the human contact. These movements are then transmitted though a Wi-Fi environment into the main controller, which orders actuators to take the matching actions.
Applications of the technology include many interactive tools – for example touch advertising storefronts where customers can interact with items inside the storefront by touching the outside of the shop window from the street – but also electronic learning tools, smart homes and interactive furniture, automotive interactive sensors, interactive electronic devices, medical devices and hospital switches, to name a few examples.”
How did the invention and supporting company emerge?
“I hold a degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from Al Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt and have been working on research over there. At the beginning I was actually working on another invention: a ring computer mouse that you wear in your finger – enabling you to work with all the functions of a normal computer wirelessly. For this there was a need to remove normal buttons, and after a long time of research and development I came up with the new touch sticker technology.
For product development and setting up the company we’ve received technical and incubation support from Egypt’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, consulting support from the Nile University, and some financial support from associations like Misr Al Khayr. We are still seeking more financial support in order to start production and to expand into North America and Europe.
One of the important milestones we achieved is successfully applying our technology on real applications and products. One recent paying client has been the Smart Villages Company in Egypt. They had a large maquette to show a landscape design with more than 100 buildings. We made this interact with user touch, so when someone touched a building in the maquette, it directly showed a 3D view for that building on an attached screen.”
What investments have you secured and what are you still looking for?
“We have successfully closed a $70K round from outside investors, which we used to convert our idea to prototype and then to a product. The next milestone is to start production, and this would require around $ 1.2 Million. We are now trying to find investors for that.”
Why is ViViFi interesting for investors?
“International trends are heading towards controlling everything around us through touch technologies, and ViViFi’s touch sticker technology is a world innovation in this field. It’s the future of touch technology, this is how you’ll be able to convert any nonconductive surface with limited thickness into touch interactive surfaces!
We are looking forward to penetrating the African, North American and European markets, through dealership with large technology manufacturers. We focus on the big market of mobile, touch screens and other technology manufacturers, who all potentially want to use touch sensors in their products. This includes automobile manufacturers, home appliances manufacturers, and others.
We hold local patents and are working on all relevant international patents. Having the inventor of the new Touch Sticker Technology in-house is also a success factor of ViViFi. We have all the keys of the game and invite interested investors to see our business plan for more info.”
How do you look back at your participation in DEMO Africa, and what is your message to other entrepreneurs in Africa?
“It was great to present at DEMO Africa and meet so many investors. At DEMO Africa we also created awareness about our ViViFi technology, and received excellent feedback from the public.
I would say, if you have an idea, and if you believe in it, never stop, go on with one option in mind: I will do it. I’d like to thank the VC4Africa team for the continuous support and care. I would recommend all entrepreneurs to join the VC4Africa community, that’s where you will meet your future investors and excellent business support!”
Interested investors should check ViViFi’s VC4Africa venture profile for more info on the company. Only investors who registered VC4Africa Pro Accounts can get access to private documents and all other details of the ventures, and express their interest to invest. Special thanks to ViViFi team member Ahmed Darwish! Also check out other success stories in the making: fast growing companies across Africa to watch in 2014.