Crowdtilt.com is a crowd-sourcing website that offers a group-funding platform to allows users to establish fundraising campaigns for only non-profit organizations. Crowdtilt was founded by James Beshara and Khaled Hussein, and launched out of Y Combinator in February 2012. The company was initially based in Texas and is now headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Crowdtilt has secured many rounds of investment with a total of $37 Million, and is set to expand outside of the US, with eyes set on English speaking countries like Canada, U.k. and Australia. I managed to get in touch with Khaled Hussein over the email, and knowing how busy he is, I managed to get him to answer those 3 questions below.
Q1: Simple description or bio / about Khaled Hussein. How did I start in Alexandria? Why did I study in AAST? Were there any projects that I started in Alexandria?
My name is Khaled Hussein. I was born in Cairo, Egypt and I grew up in Alexandria where my father runs his bakery business. I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur, so I think we got that gene :). My first interaction with computers was in High school when I started learning the first programming language called Basic. I got hooked after that. So, I joined the AAST to study computer science. At that time, I started a number of businesses with my friends to pay for school. None of these businesses made it big, but all the mistakes were greatly helpful to lead to my future, el 7amdulellah.
Q2: How did I travel to the US?
I came to the states for school. I joined Virginia Tech to do my graduate school, where I graduated with a Masters degree in Computer Science.
Q3: How did I find my co-founder and why did we choose each other? What’s my role at Crowdtilt? How were the early days? How did we get our funding? How did we get our first customer? How did we choose the city that we work at?
Right after graduate school, I joined a small startup called, Webmail.us, which then got acquired by Rackspace. Over my years of working for Rackspace, I was able to learn from amazing individuals and great mentors that helped me build my network. Through this network, I was introduced to James Beshara, who is my co-founder/brother in Crowdtilt.
My first meeting with James was all I needed to know that he is going to be the best co-founder. After a 3 hour long coffee, I decided to join James and build Crowdtilt. It was really clear that both of us are dedicated and disciplined individuals that are willing to do anything for Crowdtilt. We reached out to our friends and family to use Crowdtilt and give us feedback. We learned a lot from the feedback that our users gave us, which helped the product spread even faster (which in turn made fund raising much easier for us).
We moved through 4 different cities over the course of 1 year. We were able to raise barely enough money to hire our first two team members. Then the four of us lived together in a house for sometime before we moved the company again to San Francisco where our headquarters are right now. It is such a great city, and we are very thankful for all the support that we’ve been getting all along the way to get us to this point.