Hi, my name is Yusuf Kabbara, and I’m the Founder of Torever. Torever is your travel buddy – a mobile app built to help you plan your travels, from sightseeing to recommended restaurants while providing services on the go.
I was inspired to start Torever because of my own experiences. When I moved to Istanbul, I was an anxious newcomer and faced several challenges in navigating this new city I’d soon call home. After working in the Tourism sector, and meeting hundreds of other travelers who had similar experiences, I saw the need to create an app that would help them.
I’m originally from Damascus, Syria the youngest in a family of 6. My father died when I was 16 years old, and he had worked in trading and was a businessman at heart. My mother worked in handicrafts while I was growing up. I never dreamt of being a startup entrepreneur, as a kid I wanted to be a ton of different things; a cook, a pilot, a scuba diver, but I was always tech-savvy child, and was always interested in new and exciting technologies.
After the war in Syria, I moved to Istanbul where I began working in several sectors but mainly in sales and marketing. In 2014, I began providing technical computer science training, and started working in the tech sector. I immediately loved being in Istanbul, and with such a big Arab and Syrian community, I didn’t feel as lonely as I thought I might having left home. The biggest challenge was the language barrier and stereotypes people had against us newcomers.
After a few years working and moving around, I finally ended up at Re:Coded in March 2018. I had the idea of Torever, and become passionate about starting my own company and solving problems many people had faced just like myself. At that time, I had nothing but time to invest, and I stumbled upon Re:Coded after a quick google search.
Re:Coded was so much more than a boot camp. During my time there, I learnt more about teamwork, presentation skills, entrepreneurship than I ever had before. I was able to meet new people, grow my network and most importantly I felt more confident in myself.
During the boot camp, I was able to launch Torever. It’s now available on the Android Play Store and covers most of the tourist spots in Turkey. In November, we won the Startup Roadshow Competition and received $3000 USD as we were the people’s choice. The Startup Roadshow is a competition organized by Jusoor and Spark and included a hundred Syrian founded startups in five cities in Middle-East.
In addition, we were just accept accepted in ITU Cekirdek, one of the biggest incubators in Turkey and the regin. Being part of this program will allow us to dedicate more time to develop the app with access to office space, trainings, and a large network of mentors and investors. I hope to continue to grow Torever, and by mid 2019 I want us to cover more destinations outside of Turkey and increase our user base.
I look back on my journey, and I know that I’d never be able to accomplish what I have done without the support of my families, friends, the Re:Coded team; all of who believed in me and my vision. I know it’ll be hard, but I keep myself motivated by focusing on my responsibilities, my community’s support and Torever’s customers and partners’ feedback.