The buzzing accelerator has just closed a significant round of funding and plans to support 100 Egyptian startups over the course of the next 5 years.
It’s summertime in Cairo, and investments are heating up for Egypt’s famous Flat6Labs accelerator programme. The company has just closed the first round of funding for its “EGP100M for 100 Startups” Cairo fund, a goal equivalent to about $5.5 million. The latest investments include a $1.12 million total from Egypt Ventures - a subsidiary of the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) - and the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund (EAEF). These financial developments come on the heels of a $1.2 million commitment to Flat6Labs by the International Finance Corporation, which also backed Palestinian VC fund Ibtikar during the past week.
“Through the investment in Flat6Labs’ new fund, MIIC aims to support entrepreneurs to develop their skills, provide an adequate environment for rendering their projects successful, help them choose an adequate labor market, improve their business and increase startups, and provide administrative support, legal consultations and trainings,” said Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, at the signing of the financial agreement.
Like Egypt Ventures, the EAEF sees Flat6Labs as an important member of Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “EAEF looks to address gaps in financing and we identified the shortage of seed stage capital in Egypt, a critical ingredient to nourishing an entrepreneurial and risk taking culture for inclusive social and economic development,” added Amal Enan, the organization’s executive director.
The IFC’s recent massive investment in Flat6Labs is part of its Startup Catalyst initiative, a program that targets commercially-oriented accelerators in the region. In addition to its recent investment in Ibtikar, the IFC has also contributed $10 million to Egyptian-American Algebra Ventures, which currently stands as Egypt’s largest venture capital fund. The fund recently invested in popular food platform Elmenus for $1.5 million. “We believe [the Startup Catalyst Initiative] with its goal to further develop local startup and VC ecosystems is, in a waym an affirmation and confidence in the growth and potential of Egyptian startups and the local ecosystem as a whole,” said Omar Badr, communications manager for Flat6Labs for Cairo. “We have very firm confidence in the startup ecosystem in MENA, that’s as we observe its continuous development by adding more players and in-turn providing entrepreneurs a holistic atmosphere to scale and develop their businesses,” he continued.
Flat6Labs plans to support at least 100 Egyptian early-stage startups over the following five years, with an investment of EGP 1 million each (about $56,000) for training and mentorship. The company’s famed accelerator program is set to begin its ninth cycle later this summer and saw a record number of applications from over 500 local startups competing for space.
Main image: Representatives from Flat6Labs, MIIC, EAEF at the Greek Campus on July 11, 2017.)