Founded in June 2021 by second-time founders Shyam Visavadia (CEO) and Lalita Chopra (CTO), Wasta is a startup that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to curate one-on-one introductions between founders, investors, and entrepreneurs that share the same goals, interests, and objectives.
Wasta is a 'super connector' that helps share and explore mutual social and professional interests, whether it’s helping find a co-founder, fundraising, accessing resources, or finding talent. Wasta is truly building a network designed to reflect the multifaceted nature of what people need to move forward in their entrepreneurial journey.
Shyam Visavadia, CEO at Wasta said: “The pandemic continues to change how people interact. Face-to-face networking events have been scaled back, business meetings are moving virtually, and an increase in remote working has opened opportunities for virtual collaboration that transcends regional boundaries. Traditional networking events are cumbersome, time-consuming, and for some inaccessible. This leaves most people polarised and increases inequality in accessing opportunities. Current online professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn and Lunchclub are lacking in personalization and relevance”.
Wasta is currently free to join, and applicants are verified before they join the community. Once the applicants become a part of the community, they receive a weekly opt-in reminder, Wasta then introduces the members to their respective matches. Members can either organize a virtual call or face-to-face meet. After the meet, Wasta requests feedback to improve its matching algorithm.
“Our goal is to make meeting people more relevant and meaningful. Wasta takes away the things we hate – constant self-promotion, likes, inbox spam, and small talk. We’re building a community that really supports first-time founders, solo founders, professionals with side hustles, and women entrepreneurs. Our matching algorithm is unique which gives way to our network moat, differentiation in terms of network curation, and consequently the impact on the quality of the community,” says Lalita Chopra, CTO at Wasta.
The Wasta community is rapidly expanding with over five hundred verified members in just three months and hundreds of prospects on the waitlist.
Members of Wasta's online community include Ahmad Kamal, Global Head of Tax SWVL, Tara Hession, Be Spark Talent, and Ahmed Kamal, Tech Lead, AI platform at Careem.
Wasta currently operates across United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Egypt with plans to expand across GCC, India, and Africa. Wasta will also look at launching a mobile app, onboarding key hires, strengthening their corporate partnerships, and commencing fundraising.