Mocca is a great platform for SMS communications. I want to give insight on how the idea started and how it was developed over the years.
Back in 2007, both Ismail Issa (@) and I were recent university graduates from Ain-Sham University. I had already been working as a teaching assistant and founded my first start-up (Interdesigns). We were brainstorming for an innovative idea for a product that could be suitable for a business plan competition that we planned to participate into.
After long enjoyable sessions at Costa Coffee in Abbas Akkad street, Cairo, we came upon the idea of a platform that can integrate SMS/MMS communications, Voice, Fax and emails into a single platform. Early-on we were aware of Fax to Email services. I was myself using them, for Interdesigns, to save on the costs of buying and maintaining a fax machine. We thought that it would be easy to extend that with SMS/MMS services if we implement an open SMPP library. Voice seemed harder to implement so we thought to wait until we see whether our idea would pick clients interest and delay the voice implementation as a next phase, Below is an exert of the first business plan:
“MoCCA, stands for “Mobile Creative Communication Architecture”, is an innovative idea for telecommunication project. The idea is based on the integration of different telecom technologies in one solution. It is composed of Architecture of 3 major components (SMS/MMS, Fax and Email services) with a fourth component (Voice) to follow in the second stage.”
It is true that the name was also a parody for the mocha coffee that we would usually drink in our meetings as well s the fact that Ismail wrote the first prototype in Java. The buzzword “Unified Communications” was yet to come. We choose the name “Creative Communications”. The platform was intended as a B2B solution for speeding communications within the organization. Below is another excerpt of the 2007 business plan:
“MoCCA Framework is a platform that allows medium to large enterprises to rely on for managing their messaging services, it manages different communications between working teams or from the enterprises to their clients allowing them to utilize the dynamic technology revolution to run more successful business.”
The value proposition was convincing. We received multiple business and technical recognitions. The project was awarded the IEEE Gold (IEEE Made in Egypt award) (Cairo, July 2007) and was among the finalists in 2 business plan competitions (2nd Arab Technology Business plan competition, Jordan, December 2007 and The Technology Development Fund Business plan competition Finalist (Cairo, July 2007).
MoCCA was intended to become a standalone company (we chose the name nWayz). However, asking for too small of an investment ticket, we were not able to attract investors. The entrepreneurship culture was still emerging in the middle east region. There were no true angel investor circles and no structured venture capital (VC) funds. Meanwhile, Ismail received a wonderful offer in Dubai and he decided to move. I bought his shares in MoCCA and brought it to Interdesigns.
At Interdesigns, MoCCA was rewritten from scratch. First, the platform was written in PHP/MySQL (2008). At that stage, we won multiple big clients from the banking sector (Barclays Egypt, BNP Paribas Egypt, now Emirates NBD Egypt, among many others) both directly and as a service provider for large SMS integrators worldwide. The design was engineered around speed and agility. Since each bank would have different security and integration requirements. The common requirement for all clients was the speed of delivery. We developed our own implemented of the SMPP protocol strictly following the standards and focusing on speed.
In 2014, we used an ITIDA grant to completely revamp the system into an enterprise solution with structured integration points with api keys. Raif Atef, the lead software engineer on the project, designed a wonderful architecture with high-throughput and flexibility in mode. The new MoCCA is now implemented in C#/PostgreSQL with memcahced integrated. I may write a separate post about MoCCA’s current architecture.
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