“It’s not a dating site,” he says, “because dating doesn’t exist in the Arab world.We position ourselves as an online marriage agency.” The anti-Tinder Et3arraf aims to help Arabic-speaking thirty-somethings who care about traditions and are serious about wanting to get married meet each other, hence the name Et3arraf, which means in English.With his French business school diploma and his job at an international consulting firm, Cédric Maalouf was following the same path that most successful Lebanese follow.

Decided to seize this opportunity, Maalouf moved back to Lebanon to adapt compatibility algorithm-based dating services of the West, like e Harmony, to Arab cultures.

Joined by Rakan Nimer, he launched Et3arraf in time for Valentine’s Day 2013.

Now, Et3arraf comprises 40,000 users, 40% of whom live in Saudi; another 40% live either in Egypt, Jordan, or Morocco.

These users are the heart of the service: Et3arraf counts on what they call ambassador users to voice their opinions, helping to improve user satisfaction.

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In between Saudi and Lebanon In the beginning, Cédric Maalouf targeted Lebanon.

But, after realizing that this market was too small and that the real need was in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he changed his service to target more traditional countries like Saudi.

He confides that the acceleration was hectic, and did not bring the hoped benefits, but got them to raise their initial capital – ,000 USD, 50% of which were in services – and put them contact with a few good mentors.

Now, Et3arraf is announcing a prestigious fundraising round, 0,000 USD from Lebanese and Jordanian business angels among which are no less than Hala Fadel, the MITEF founder, Oasis 500, as well as also Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui.

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