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Webville: The First Search Engine that Uses Human and Artificial Intelligence

1 year 11 months ago
Webville: The First Search Engine that Uses Human and Artificial Intelligence

Webville has released an era where researchers are now aware of the quality of the information they have gathered and are reassured of their accumulated knowledge. Many search engines show content results based on how relevant they are to the user’s query.

Content quality is not always put into the calculations, however, with the use of human and artificial intelligence, Webville aims to change that. The quality of the content is judged based on social media interaction, such as likes, shares, retweets, or pluses. The system used calculates a quality score for each piece of content and as a result, provides it with a quality score. Webville was established in May 2014, was registered September 2015 and in June 2016 the first application - foodville - using this technology was released.


Webville’s impact lies in providing users with high-quality content, as well as high relevancy, which is applied in, the first search engine for food recipes in the region.


The journey of a start-up entails endless challenges, where with every stage greater challenges are faced. Amir Elsherbiny, co-founder, and CEO outlines them as starting from figuring out what the offered product really entails; adjusting the scalability of the webpage; to developing the business and spreading the word.

Realizing that the site holds a low retention rate was another issue Webville faced as viewership averaged at two views per user. By participating in the AUC VentureLab, however, this issue was resolved through creating a mobile application and a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Now due to the constant access and notifications, the average is at 15 screens per user.

Foodville is yet to receive another feature: a Q&A section to increase engagement, and thus the time that the user spends on the application


In both 2016 and 2017, Webville participated in GITEX and was amongst the top 25% startups that investors wanted to meet with.

Success Factors:

El-Sherbiny shares that amongst the most important factors to succeeding is maintaining high traction and retention rates. If retention is low, then the product does not carry enough value for the user to return, or to share it with friends. Having overcome this problem to a large extent, foodville can boast success in achieving over 1 million views in 10 months since launching.

Say Something To Young Entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs who are just starting out should be aware of the difficult challenges that will lie ahead. The advice provided by Amir El-Sherbiny was to ensure that their idea is worth the time and effort that will be needed to make it work, and not to focus too much on finding investors in the beginning. Once a product or service has been established and a start-up is able to show its success, then investors will want to fund it. Most importantly, honesty in facing numbers and statistics maintains a start-up, by allowing the entrepreneur to identify and face any issues early on and have an advantage in solving them.

This story is written by Laila Abdel Ghany and edited by Hana Hussein

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