With Mayyan, the entrepreneur sets himself the challenge of impacting 500,000 people on the continent by 2030.
What if each click made on your search engine made it possible to contribute to the electrification of Africa, to access to drinking water for its populations or to the construction of hospitals? Here is what Moussa Touré offers through Mayyan, a social search engine developed to generate income, 30% of which goes to African associations. A large-scale project that already has more than 80,000 users.
Hello. I have effectively been an entrepreneur and founder of the Mayyan search engine for a few good months now.
Do you want the short version, or the long version?
My journey is strewn with pitfalls. I did a BTS in negotiations and customer relations before quitting my studies for three years to do various odd jobs. I then entered a business school from which I graduated with a master’s degree.
I have always been passionate about search engines and computers. After having already heard about ecological social search engines like Lilo or Écosia, I wondered how I could contribute on my scale. Each year I was able to reach different levels of confidence thanks to several meetings and experiences, and I created Mayyan in this wake after having set up a first company which had revealed to me that this was what I liked to do: initiate and undertake.
Of course, it didn’t happen in a whim. The idea had to be matured.
Mayyan is a social search engine that works almost like any other, that is, doing regular searches. Its particularity is that with each search, an advertisement appears, and clicking on it allows you to collect between 20 and 50 euro cents. 30% of the sums collected are then donated to non-profit projects that we have carefully chosen and which act on specific issues that participate in the development of the African continent. For example, between 2020 and 2023, we decided to focus on solutions relating to access to water, agriculture and electrification on the continent.
Mayyan takes its origin from the first name of Maya Angelou who is a woman whom I greatly admire. She is known for her books and poems, but we also forget that there is a militant part of the character who fought with Malcom X for the emancipation of the Black people, and who in particular traveled a lot on the African continent. .
I know very few Africans who are not interested in the development of their continent. I think everyone wants to do whatever they can. Initiating Mayyan was also part of a quest for meaning for me: I needed to do something that had an impact. Awareness of my Africanness obviously played an important role: my mother is from Mali and my father is from Senegal. My first trip to Mali was when I was around four to five years old, and my family and I go to Senegal pretty much every year. My attachment to the continent is strong, but I also wanted to ensure that by using Mayyan, everyone can be an agent of change.
We have chosen three associations which must meet several criteria, two of which are very important: they must be at least three years old because it is easier in terms of the process; and they must be self-sufficient and therefore be able to finance themselves without Mayyan’s input. We also have within our teams an “association-tracker” responsible for monitoring in order to have clear transparency on the use of the funds that we donate.
Our job is to find as many opportunities as possible and solve problems. That’s really what we’re interested in and what we focus on. We’re not looking for the 81% of Google, but rather the other 20%. The social dimension is also important because it is at the heart of the project. As far as the user experience is concerned, our goal is to propose and constantly innovate in terms of models, logo and quality of information results. We still have many ideas to improve what is already being done.
I would say it was a crazy company, in a good way. I think it was one of the most formative experiences of my life so far. In this type of company, you are immediately thrown into a “growth mindset” where you have to constantly find solutions to move forward together. So you have to think efficiently. When I went there, I really had the impression of seeing mini start-ups all around me. It clearly made me move forward in terms of vision in my professional life but also outside.
Yes. After college, during my gap, I worked as an Uber driver. The world would be surprised at the things you learn from doing this type of job. Even though it was a job that I used mainly to earn money, I found a lot of interest in listening and talking to the different customers I could meet.
One day, I met the mother of a friend, a manager at LG, with whom I had a very nice discussion and who encouraged me to go back to school and add value. I come from a rather modest family, and I didn’t necessarily have the kind of background that allowed me to dream big. It is also through this kind of meeting that I managed to pass certain confidence levels.
Above all, you have to be strong-minded, and not be afraid to project yourself. As entrepreneurs we have incredible ups and downs. You have to accept the idea that things don’t necessarily go as planned and that you have to learn to bounce back, and try to see far ahead. In Mayyan, for example, we don’t hesitate to constantly set goals for ourselves and to look ahead. For example, our goal is to reach 2,000,000 users before 2022 and to impact 500,000 lives before 2030.
Aurélie Kouman – Journalist