Stalkie is a live streaming platform for the oppressed citizens of Lebanon, helping them get together in opposition to mass media propaganda
In 2008, Lebanon was in a sociopolitical disaster. The country was the victim of five bombings, killing US diplomats, soldiers, politicians and an internal security forces terrorism investigator, which set off 36 more bombings in the coming years, completely paralyzing the country. I wanted to find a way to use my passion to help the citizens of Lebanon unite.
I began the project Stalkie while attending Stanford University, where I made a Lebanese friend who shared my interest in creating a platform for the oppressed citizens of Lebanon. We wanted to help them get together in opposition to an oppressed government backed by mass media propaganda. We knew that the best way of uniting a population was to debunk sectarianism, the very disease that had separated Lebanese citizens in the first place. We did that by designing a platform where users could safely discuss their problems with one another. The problems and discussions were then categorized and grouped together. Our goal was to help Lebanese people realize that their issues were the same, and that these very grievances could unite them. The other aspect of Stalkie was building an alternative channel to the country’s standard media, where people could anonymously stream and show not only their peers but the world, the truth behind what was happening in Lebanon. From police brutality to government corruption, it was a platform for denunciation and communication. The engineering problems we had to solve constantly revolved around finding ways of getting people one step closer to each other. In March 2016, we were incredibly fortunate to receive enormous help from Stanford's StartX program, where I found out that we were beaten to market by our direct competitor and StartX-backed startup Periscope, who later went on to be acquired by Twitter for a tenth of a billion dollar. Stalkie was put on hold.
Back then, we did not consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. We enjoyed designing things, and relished in the act of creating something out of nothing. None of the efforts were focused on making money. However, we reached a point where our personal funds could no longer sustain this growing project. This undoubtedly scared off many angel investors and venture firms that had a look into our product. As such, we needed to change. I had to learn how investors thought and reasoned in order make our platform more attractive. We took part in a student innovation contest at AUB, where I was able to learn about the art of entrepreneurship, how to build your own startup, maintain a powerful business model, understand your market, and, perhaps most importantly, learn why most startups fail. Fourteen months and countless sleepless nights later, Stalkie had four provisional patents, won Darwazah’s 2015 Student Innovation Contest, and was awarded the Apple’s 2016 WWDC Student Scholarship Award. We set out to prove to the world that humble students equipped with passion could build something powerful that could compete with the Silicon Valley giants, and we need your help to do so.
What we need
Stalkie is the result of 55 months of hard work put into solving a multitude of engineering challenges. Here's a tiny list with some of the challenges:
We want to make the product free for everyone with maximum availability and little to no downtime. This comes at a cost of running a solid backend to hold our powerful streaming engine, and managing a team of passionate engineers dedicated to maintaining and updating the product. Your funding will help make that happen.
Your help will make a well defined impact. The product's development phase which lasted more than 6,000 engineering hours is done. The only thing separating it from the hands of everyone is the cost of scalability, that you can help eliminate.