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Kadama, an app to help the broke college student

  • Written by By Zachary Jablonski | UW Seattle News Lab

Two University of Washington students built an app called “Kadama” over the course of almost two years with the help of Woodinville student interns and other fellow students.

The goal of the app is to give students and the public cheap and easy access to be able to request a service and pick-up side jobs.
Founders Amin Shaykho  (the CEO) and Marwan El-Rukby (the Chief Operations Officer) started working on the app in summer of 2016, after Shaykho and his brother tried to find help with simple chores, such as cleaning off a table or washing dishes, and the cost of such were overpriced.

KamadaShaykho wanted to fix that and enlisted the help of El-Rukby to create an app that at its core, was fast, easy, and affordable to use.

The pair enlisted the help of a contractor to build the app, but the main programming, marketing, and other work was done by them. It was challenging to meet deadlines, as both were current students at the University of Washington, where Shaykho received his bachelor’s degree in computer science last year and El-Rukby is currently studying in the Foster School of Business and will graduate this year.

Both of them worked with a variety of contractors to gain knowledge on app building, but they funded the start-up work themselves, and spent countless hours on the multiple aspects of the app. 

The app allows users to either advertise a service, such as tutoring or cleaning for whatever price they wish, or to respond directly to a request. Through the app, the two parties negotiate the price and timeframe for the service.

The most common provider category is pet care, according to Shaykho, who said 169 different providers have marked pet care as a service as of Oct. 10.

The other categories for providers and requesters are yard work, tutoring, housework and errands.

Each requester and service provider has the option to do a voluntary background check, which is done through an accredited background check service called Checkr. Lyft, Uber, and Zillow use this service too, according to Shaykho. Completing the check activates a digital badge on the account for others to see.

Along with the background-check badge, each user (both requester and provider) gains a rating as they complete tasks, which then become visible to other app users.

One of the more out-there requests was to transport items from Washington down to California. Shaykho doesn’t know if this request was ever fulfilled. All requests have an online filter that analyzes the content of the requests and deletes or flags requests it determines are dangerous or inappropriate.

According to Shaykho, once the free app is downloaded, it takes about 30 seconds for users to set up their account and start using it, either as a requester or service provider. One of goals was to create an app that could compete with Craigslist and be faster and easier to use, Shaykho said.

Over this last summer, the company also started an internship program for students in high school and college to gain experience working for a startup company.

Moumin Gani, one of the interns who worked for Kadama over the summer and a fellow UW student, is from Woodinville and started working for this company right after the app launched in June of 2018.

Gani enjoyed his time with the team, describing the atmosphere as “relaxed” and “understanding of conflicts” but did confirm the team had high standards and tight deadlines they were expected to meet.

In just over four months Kadama has over 600 users and 100 reviews on the app store and those numbers keep growing. At least 169 of that 600 are service providers, and Shaykho approximated them to be at least one-third of the total user base. Some service providers are requesters as well.

Customer reviews have been very positive, with Kadama having close to a five-star rating on the app store.
Kadama is only available for IOS systems, but Shaykho says it will be released on Android and through an online website at a later date.

Eventually, all requests will be cross-platform.

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