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Wael Ghonim’s Startup Acquired by Silicon Valley's Q&A Giant Quora

Parlio, the startup created by the iconic face of the Egyptian 2011 uprising, has joined forces with global giant, Q&A site Quora.

Leading global Q&A platform Quora has acquired its first startup, a new media platform for public conversations that rewards civility, funded by one of the iconic faces of the Egyptian 25th of January uprising.

Wael Ghonim, the Internet activist whose Facebook page helped to spark the massive protests that led to the 2011 revolt, had already attained international notoriety when he joined Google Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence in early 2014. He’d been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, named one of Time 100's most influential, and received the JFK Profile in Courage Award.

But the end of the year would see him part ways with Google to concentrate his efforts on Parlio, the startup he created to trigger civil conversations and promote social change. The 35-year-old entrepreneur launched the startup with a seed investment of $1.68 million from 15 investors, including Fadi Ghandour.

The platform, which was available on the web and iOS, was led by an effort to revert the way social media was headed towards in 2014 - “designed to favour broadcasting over engagement, posts over discussions, and shallow comments over deep conversations,” Ghonim explains of the present social media model.

In less than one year, the startup grew a community of authors, journalists, students, academics, and business-minded users from across the world who discussed issues such as the 2016 US elections, the refugee crisis, and the the relationship between Islam and terrorism.

Seeing its potential to engage audiences, global giant Quora – founded in 2010 by former Facebook employees Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever – found in the Egyptian enterprise the perfect match.

“We've long admired Quora, as it's one of the few online communities that has managed to both focus on quality and successfully appeal to a wide audience (over 100 million monthly users). The community is meritocratic but inclusive, the content is informative but fun, and the product is powerful but beautifully simple,” Ghonim and Co-founder Osman Ahmed Osman said in a statement.

Acquired for an undisclosed amount, the startup will now migrate its discussions to the global platform. According to TechCrunch, the Egyptian startup could help Quora encourage participation and become approachable for the average web surfer, a step that would bring the global company closer to earning revenue, as it is preparing to include ads after seven years of relying on its venture capital.


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