DisruptAD, one of the region’s largest venture platforms, is partnering with Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed investor and the largest manager of startup programs in the region, to launch Ignite, a new start-up accelerator in Abu Dhabi that will support early stage companies with AED 120 million in funding and other benefits including office space and mentorship.
The program is part of DisruptAD’s broader mission to support and nurture 1,000 start-ups over the next five years and create a thriving local community of founders, fund managers, incubators and accelerators in Abu Dhabi. Ignite will be the first of many such accelerator partnerships for DisruptAD.
The launch of Ignite in partnership with Flat6Labs underpins DisruptAD’s long-term desire to maximize value creation and deliver long-term economic benefits for the UAE by seeding businesses that are technology pioneers and change leaders.
The program will run over a three-year period, investing in 20 startups every year. Applications for the first cycle will be open until 30th of April 2021, offering participating companies the opportunity to benefit from a seed investment worth up to AED 550,000, together with follow-on funding of up to AED 2 million. Startups will also receive tailored support designed to help them effectively scale and grow their businesses to become regional champions and ultimately global champions.
As part of the Ignite program, startups will benefit from opportunities for regional exposure and world-class mentorship through Flat6Labs’ international connections and top-tier coaching. These companies will also enjoy access to DisruptAD’s network and resources. The program will organize Flat6Labs Demo Days, support fundraising and business build out, and ultimately offer the full spectrum of support needed for start-ups to thrive and flourish in Abu Dhabi.
Ramez El-Serafy, Flat6Labs CEO, commented: “We are delighted to partner with DisruptAD for the launch of this three-year program. Flat6Labs’ presence in Abu Dhabi opens up exciting new possibilities, not only for this program but for the long-term evolution of Abu Dhabi as a global start-up destination. Together, we will harness our accumulated knowledge and experience to better serve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and create unique opportunities for promising startups.”
To find out more about Flat6Labs, please visit this link.
Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed and early stage VC, and manager of startup programs in the region, introduces a new streamlined visual brand identity and a new unified website. Given Flat6Labs expansive operations and impact across MENA over the past 10 years, the new brand identity is launched to ensure a consistent and enhanced experience for entrepreneurs, partners and investors alike across the region.
As part of the unified brand language, Flat6Labs will now be identifying its flagship VC-backed programs as “Seed Programs” instead of “Accelerator Programs”, while still offering ticket sizes ranging from $50K to $500k, supporting startups through their early journeys from Pre-Seed all the way to Pre-Series A stages.
Flat6Labs also manages a wide range of startup programs across the region, from bootcamps and incubation programs helping entrepreneurs spark and develop venture concepts, all the way to bespoke corporate accelerator programs in different industry verticals enabling startups to build prototypes, and helping them access their target markets.
Ramez El-Serafy, Flat6Labs CEO commented: “Launching this new and unique brand identity is far from just a visual change. We are streamlining our operations across all our offices in MENA, bolstering our efforts to support more innovative entrepreneurs, and laying the groundwork for exciting developments in our offerings to startups and partners that we will announce very soon.”
With an active presence in six countries, Flat6Labs has invested in more than 300 startups to date with a combined investment value of around $35M, creating more than 8,000 jobs across a wide range of industries. Flat6Labs is currently managing a number of seed funds with total assets under management (AUM) exceeding $45M, with more than 20 leading institutional investors and Limited Partners (LPs).
To download the new Flat6Labs brand kit click here.
Cairo, 24 February 2021 — Today marks the launch “Fighting Violence Against Women Using Technology” Hackathon on social media platforms. This hackathon is organized by StartEgypt powered by Flat6Labs in collaboration with the National Council for Women (NCW) and UN Women Egypt, recognising the significant role that entrepreneurship plays in providing innovative solutions to address societal issues. The hackathon challenge includes three key tracks: fighting cybercrimes against women using technology, combating forms of violence against women in the public sphere, and digitization of violence against women complaints and tracking mechanism with relevant government authorities. The hackathon will be virtually held in March in commemoration of the “Women’s Month”.
H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women (NCW), stated that “Addressing violence against women in all its forms is a crucial necessity and is considered a serious societal issue which harms women and girls, as well as their families and communities. All means and tools must be utilized to confront violence against women and pursue practical solutions to face it, while addressing the root causes”. “Technological advancement is a double-edged tool. Despite its role in creating new forms of violence against women, it has also become one of the most important tools that we can use positively and effectively to address this issue that has become a major concern for the entire society” Dr. Morsy added. “By launching this hackathon with our partners, we endeavor to pursue creative and innovative ideas that are in line with the times and challenges imposed on us, and contribute to working towards a society free from violence against women.” Dr.Morsy stated.
Ms. Christine Arab, UN Women Representative in Egypt expressed her pleasure in partnering with the National Council for Women and the Flat6Labs ‘StartEgypt’ program in launching this hackathon since it represents the consolidated efforts of the government, the business sector and the United Nations in providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to solve societal problems using technology. She added, “The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a new reality on us, which requires finding innovative solutions using technological means to address violence against women in the public and virtual spheres. We also seek to use economic empowerment programs, especially the component on entrepreneurship, to build distinct partnerships aimed at empowering women on all levels. Greater economic autonomy for women results in their greater voice and leadership in the home and in public life. ” Ms. Arab also indicated that the Joint Programme between UN Women and UNIDO implemented in partnership with the National Council for Women and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and with the support of the Government of Canada, will continue to provide an opportunity for innovative ideas that solve societal problems through entrepreneurship.
Mr. Hassan Mansi, Program Director of ‘StartEgypt’ powered by Flat6Labs, stated that “Egyptian women are not only one half of society, but also Egyptian women entrepreneurs have proven an unprecedented ability to succeed and compete at various levels. At Flat6Labs, we are proud not only of the nearly 40% participation of female entrepreneurs in our various programs, but also proud of the graduates who have been able to make a qualitative impact in their field, whether graduates of the StartEgypt business incubator, such as Salma Medhat, the founder of “Matkhafeesh” , an online application to fight harassment. We are also proud of Flat6Labs business accelerator graduates such as “Doaa Aref” who through her online application “Shifa” was able to provide a unique service to deliver medicine to chronic disease patients in Egypt, and attract investors to grow her business and help in her journey towards excellence.”
StartEgypt Program, supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and managed by Flat6Labs, is specifically designed to inspire and support thousands of Egyptian entrepreneurs in the field of community impact. StartEgypt was incepted in 2017 and started its first round in June 2018.
The Hackathon’s jury includes representatives from the National Council for Women, UN Women Egypt Country Office, the Economic Council of the British Embassy in Cairo, and StartEgypt Program. Three teams will be selected to win Hackathon cash prizes for a total of EGP 20,000. In addition, the winning teams will be hosted in the business incubator of the StartEgypt Program to receive the appropriate training and guidance to develop their projects.
The “Fighting Violence Against Women Using Technology” hackathon is a digital competition that targets young male and female entrepreneurs that offer digital solutions that could help society in facing various forms of violence against women and girls, whether virtual (cyber harassment, extortion, etc.) or in public and private places (sexual harassment, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, etc.).
Over the past 9 years, Flat6Labs has enabled the transformation of the startup ecosystem through the 290+ pioneering startups it has invested in, the 660+ founders it trained and mentored, and the 38 Demo Days that exposed the startups to investors, corporates and the media. Flat6Labs has also achieved its first exit in less than 18 months from date of investment; and it’s currently managing AUM of $45mn. Flat6Labs’ portfolio of companies have collectively raised almost twice their invested capital.
Currently, Flat6Labs stands as one of the most active early stage investors in the MENA region, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the team, the support of our partners and mentors, and the belief that the ecosystem has in Flat6Labs.
“Flat6Labs’ 9-year journey has been one that captured the very essence of our belief in the talents, skills, and passions of MENA’s aspiring entrepreneurs. The continuous support Flat6Labs has been capable of giving to its 290+ startups and the successes during the past nine years, wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing team of 50+ colleagues across six countries, 30+ LP investors in our funds and to the thousands of individuals who have believed in us, and in our mission to transform the region through innovation and entrepreneurship.” — Ramez El Serafy, CEO of Flat6Labs.
In hindsight, many of our startups enabled this success by showing great promise, and they have thus become renowned in their respective fields.Nine of these startups are Instabug, Simplex, Sawerly, Clearmove, Moneyfellows, Hawaya, Mint Basil Market, SINC, and GoMyCode.
Instabug (2012 — Flat6Labs Cairo)
Since Flat6Labs Cairo invested in Instabug in 2012, the bug-reporting platform has grown tremendously to provide its solutions to 25,000 companies across the globe and to have its solutions implemented in countless apps across 400,000,000 devices. Their one line of code has attracted tech giants like OnePlus, Ebay, Lyft, EA Sports, Philips, Soundcloud, and more.
Most recently, Instabug has received a Series A funding worth $5M from Accel ,an American VC firm, and other renowned angel investors. In an interview with Waya Media, Omar Gabr, Instabug’s Co-founder said, “We grew 120% in revenues in the last 12 months, adding dozens of Enterprise customers. We’ve always been running a disciplined business, we’re almost profitable for some time now. This is what made our fundraising fast in the middle of all the current events.”
In the upcoming few months, Instabug is aiming to release a number of new services into the ecosystem, as well as expand their operations and their team.
Simplex (2013 — Flat6Labs Cairo)
Simplex has been one of the first businesses in Egypt to create locally manufactured and assembled CNC machines. Being the pioneer it is at that, the likes of the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation and Schneider Electric have relied on their solutions, instead of depending on importing plasma machines and milling machines.
“We have exported a range of our machines to 12 countries so far, and we’ve opened a 5000m2 new factory in 10th of Ramadan, Egypt. Flat6Labs’ seed investment, connections, and continuous support have been paramount to our current success and future growth.” — Ahmed Shaaban, Simplex Co-founder
Sawerly (2014 — Flat6Labs Jeddah)
Sawerly is a Saudi-based online marketplace that connects photographers with potential clients. The startup’s growth over the past years has seen various photographers using their platform as a main source of stable income.
In an interview with Startup MGZN, the Co-founder, Hussein Attar shared “a few photographers are making about 10K SAR a month through our platform so far. We’ve also established a shop in the UAE in the hopes of positioning Sawerly as the go-to place for all photography solutions, and our latest partnership with Silkroad Images as well will allow photographers to sell their photos through our platform.”
Clearmove (2015 — Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi) (Previously known as Sakkini)
Clearmove (previously known as Sakkini) is a mobility platform that helps employers track, deploy, and manage their employees. Their solution has so far been adopted by 500+ entities, and they operate in 144+ countries. The startup has also spent around 150K hours into R&D and has hired over 70+ talents internationally. In 2016, the startup has raised $4m to expand its operations globally, to do more R&D, and develop more alliances internationally.
Moneyfellows (2016 — Flat6Labs Cairo)
The money circles app, MoneyFellows, has taken the liking of many in Egypt since it has transformed the time and effort consuming money-saving circles, into a technologically-enabled service. In 2020, the company raised $4m in a Series A investment from Venture Capital firms, Partech, and Sawari Ventures.
“We’re currently seeking to expand our efforts locally to other governorates in Egypt, and we also have plans to expand regionally by June 2021. You can also expect a line of new services to be launched by next year.” — Ahmed Wadi, Moneyfellows Co-founder
Hawaya (Harmonica) (2017 — Flat6Labs Cairo)
After Hawaya (Harmonica) joined Flat6Labs Cairo in 2017, they have quickly garnered the attention of individuals who are seeking serious relationships in Egypt. The match-making app has since gone to raise funding from both Flat6Labs and 500 Startups in March 2018 worth $150K to double-down on their algorithms and expand the reach of their mobile application.
In August 2019, the startup received an acquisition deal by the Internet Giant, Match Group, which gave Flat6Labs the opportunity to make its first major exit at a 16x return on investment in just over one year. The application later changed its name to Hawaya. Currently, they are expanding into different countries where match-making for serious relationships is desired.
Hawaya now has grown into 13 different markets and has helped over 3 million single Muslims begin their love journeys!
“We’re thrilled to announce that we were invited to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange, celebrating five years of Match Group as a publicly traded company on the US Stock Market and commemorating our success in fostering meaningful connections around the world!” — Hawaya Team
Mint Basil Market (2018 — Flat6Labs Beirut)
Mint Basil Market, The online marketplace for all-natural diet, beauty and household products has been making valiant efforts to impact the Lebanese community after its graduation from Flat6Labs Beirut. Currently, they have been hammering down on their new line of immunity products as COVID-19 sweeps the world. However, after Lebanon was struck with the explosion that took the lives of many and destroyed much of the city of Beirut, the startup took it as a mission to help the Lebanese people through sponsored donation packages to be sent to Arcenciel (a Lebanese based non-profit organization) and has shared a list of psychologists and organizations offering free psychological support. Currently, the startup has its sights set on UAE as a plan of expansion, and they will be joining Womena’s upcoming cycle.
“Flat6Labs has opened a lot of doors for us and we’ll always be grateful for how the team gave up parts of their office space so we could have a warehouse that wasn’t my bedroom in the early days of launching. They’ve also introduced us to one of our angel investors, and were a great support system during some of our most challenging moments. We’re really grateful.” — Vanessa Zuabi, Mint Basil Market’s CEO & Co-founder.
SINC (2019 — Flat6Labs Bahrain)
SINC acts as an employee management platform that helps employers track the activity of employees by recording staff time sheets, on-shift locations, HR notes, safety feedback and more.
In 2019, the company raised $250K in pre-funding. Now, the startup helps 4,000+ businesses manage and track their employees through their platforms in the UK, USA, as well as other countries. The startup has received seed funding from Flat6Labs Bahrain in Spring 2018.
“Flat6Labs were the first people outside of the founders to believe in SINC’s vision. Their early support enabled us to hire our first employees and go on to raise multiple rounds of funding. The connections we’ve made through Demo Day ended up leading to funding and are still influential advisors in our company today.” — Samuel Dolbel, SINC’s Co-founder.
GoMyCode (2020 — Flat6Labs Tunis)
GoMyCode was first funded by Flat6Labs Tunis in December 2019. Since they were funded they have gone to reach more of Tunisia’s coding society to help develop the capabilities of both youngsters and professionals. Their vision is to help create a high-end computer science education for everyone to fulfill their potential and realize their passion for building and shipping real products.
“We’re planning on launching 4 new Hacker Spaces, in Algeria, in Station F in France, Egypt, and Morocco. We’re also currently working on developing a new website and rebranding as well as working on launching a new tech channel: www.gomytech.co. Most recently, we’ve raised $450K to further our growth and help with our expansion plans in the MENA region.” — Yahya Bouhlel, GoMyCode founder.
While innovation is at the core of Flat6Labs and its startups, it takes more than just innovation to success. Our startups across MENA have been resilient, passionate, and hardworking through many challenges, the latest of which is the pandemic. It is not just about innovation, it is also about execution and the continuous drive to bring something new to the table and to impact the community.
The pre-acceleration program, StartEgypt hosted its first virtual forum for female entrepreneurs; the Female Founders Forum. The one-day virtual event attended by over 300 up-and-coming female Egyptian entrepreneurs, saw leading experts from tech giants Dell Technologies, Google and YouTube provide key insights and training on how to get these start-ups from concept to implementation.
Designed to inspire and empower women considering starting their own business, the forum offered them the opportunity to learn from the experiences of influential females in the business and entrepreneurial world, as they discussed the differences, challenges and opportunities faced by females as entrepreneurs or in the corporate world.
A panel discussion featured Flat6labs graduate Sabrine Assem, co-founder & CEO at UNTAP Technologies, Mai Abbas, Education Services Manager for RSA Security by Dell Technologies.
Talking about their decision to host the virtual forum, Hassan Mansi, StartEgypt Program Director said, “Flat6Labs has maintained a gender ratio of 30%-females amongst its incubation and accelerator programs due to a solid belief in the ability of Egyptian female entrepreneurs to lead and drive the economy forward. This has been evident in their role as breadwinners across all socio-economic levels. We offer the opportunity for aspiring female entrepreneurs to unleash their potential and to continue having a positive impact on the Egyptian economy.”
“I was delighted to take part in the Female Founders Forum and to share the virtual stage with so many inspiring female entrepreneurs. The British Embassy is proud to support this programme. It is of paramount importance that we empower Egyptian women with the right tools and skills to allow them to take charge of their own enterprises. I am pleased to announce that until the beginning of October we were able to reach 1180 women, who are looking to found their own businesses and make a real change in Egyptian society.”
— Julia Skorupska, Political and Economic Counsellor at the British Embassy in Cairo
In addition to the panel discussion, experts from Google and YouTube also shared their know-how via two training workshops on digital marketing and product management to support young women in actualizing their ambitions to establish businesses of their own. The forum also hosted the CEO of Azza Fahmy Jewelry, Fatma Ghali, for a fireside chat.
As well as encouraging aspiring women to set out on their entrepreneurial journey, StartEgypt hopes that the forum will allow them to connect with promising female start-ups that they can incubate. “Earlier this year, the Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation, committed to increasing female participation in the workforce by 40%, by 2030,” said Mansi, adding that he hoped StartEgypt could contribute to achieving this developmental goal.
StartEgypt has previously organized multiple, nationwide workshops led by seasoned guest speakers and entrepreneurs. The Female Founders Forum is set to become an annual event, acting as a springboard for women exploring the possibility of launching their own businesses.
As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s fintech industry, Fintech Saudi is launching Fintech Accelerator, a unique innovation and entrepreneurship program. Powered by Flat6Labs, this intensive 3-month program brings together Fintech Saudi’s market reach and Flat6Labs’ resources to provide up to ten fintechs with the best practices, resources, and tools they need to develop and scale their solution-driven businesses.
With the launch of the Fintech Accelerator program, Fintech Saudi aims to empower highly innovative entrepreneurs who display massive potential within the local fintech industry. The program will offer fintechs exposure to investors and provide them with mentorship and coaching from renowned professionals with an array of skill sets. Fintechs will also be given the chance to enhance their pitching skills and showcase their solutions at regional and global events.
“The Fintech Accelerator is an important milestone for Fintech Saudi. Over the last year we have seen a threefold increase in the number of fintech companies operating in Saudi Arabia and we want this trend to continue and contribute to the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. We are therefore delighted to collaborate with Flat6Labs to launch the Fintech Accelerator program that will provide entrepreneurs with the key skills, support and access they need to grow their fintech business in the Kingdom,” said Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi.
“We’re very excited to be launching the Fintech Accelerator program with Fintech Saudi. With the huge shift in market trends towards fintech solutions and cashless financial systems, we can clearly see the opportunity for Saudi entrepreneurs to innovate, create, and lead the market towards innovative and unexplored solutions. Our collaboration with Fintech Saudi will enable us to create the perfect environment to foster fintech companies and accelerate their growth,” said Ramez El-Serafy, CEO of Flat6Labs.
Fintech Saudi is an initiative launched by SAMA, in collaboration with CMA, that seeks to support the development of the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is witnessing the emergence of a thriving fintech ecosystem, with the local fintech industry growing at a rapid rate. Between 2017 and 2019, the value of fintech transactions increased at a rate of over 18% each year, reaching over USD 20 billion in 2019. The fintech market in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach transaction values of over USD 33 billion by 2023.
To take part in the Fintech Accelerator program, the fintechs must have developed innovative fintech solutions that display a clear interest in the Saudi market and have the ability to transform the sector. Participating fintechs should also be registered as private companies, have validated business models with existing users, and have generated income over the past three months.
Interested fintech companies can apply to be a part of the Fintech Accelerator program through www.fintechsaudi.com/fintech-accelerator until the 25th October, 2020.
On the 22nd of September, Argineering launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to back up its newly launched RGKit Play that will allow designers, videographers, and creatives of all kinds to add movement in style with their newly launched kit. Support them on Kickstarter here.
The RGKit Play is a modular wireless kit consisting of motors that gives access to its user to modify movement and light using a phone app. Their app in the past has been known for its friendly, accessible, and easy to use interface; one of the key selling points of Argineering’s solutions. Besides that, Argineering plans to offer the new kit at affordable prices compared to competition.
“We’re so excited to see creatives play with movement like pros,” says David Erian, CEO & Co-Founder, “Launching RGKit Play on Kickstarter is a new chapter for us that we have been working towards, for such a long time. It’s a huge step to make RGKit Play accessible to all creatives.”
The kickstarter campaign that Argineering will be launching is to help the startup scale up the production and reach potential customers from all over the world. Currently, Argineering offers 5 kits with the beginner kit starting at $190.
Since joining the Flat6Labs Cairo accelerator program in August 2017, Agrineering managed to expand their product offerings and grow their client-base to include prominent global department stores such as Selfridges and Ted Baker in London; as well as, London’s Science Museum.
Given the considerable growth and progress in the size of their business, Argineering received follow-on investment from Flat6Labs and managed to raise a USD 400,000 Pre-Series A round led by 500 Startups. Throughout and post the program, Argineering won several competitions including “CBC’s Hona Al Shabab Competition” and “The Rise up Pitch Competition”.
Check out RGKit Play on Kickstarter:
- Launching a new solution is never easy, but getting your early adopters amped up when it comes to your innovation isn’t a piece of cake; it also isn’t a far-fetched dream. Your early adopters will most likely be risk takers, people who trust you personally, and people who actually see potential in your innovation and great benefit to their lifestyle or business. The question that often lurks around many founders and startup teams is, how do we get those early adopters? Is it through marketing, social media, referrals, testimonials, personal relationships, what exactly is it that works across the board and makes up for a solid list of customers/clients with a high possibility of retention. Also, how can we do it? The answer is simple.
Leverage your existing network and continue growing it
The network you have developed over the years with people in different industries, should be your first place to look for potential clients/customers. These are the people you’ve known personally, and people who will add value to what you are offering by giving you all kinds of honest feedback that you will need to work on your solution. While this network can be used for “beta” testing, it can also be used for referrals, which brings us to the second point.
Utilize word of mouth and incentivize it
Your best customers/clients, are your first. Give them your ultimate best, and reward their efforts to make your solution better and spread word about it. Whether what you are offering is a B2B or B2C solution, this method works wonders. Give them discounts, promocodes, credits, however you may call it, just make sure to keep those who believe in you from the start.
Spend money on digital marketing and know which platforms work the best
While your best bet is your network, but it is also important to gain trust from those who you don’t know because it validates your product-market-fit, and brings it to a new depth. Use email marketing, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, or LinkedIn campaigns, and see which has the highest conversion rates and double down on it. In other words leverage growth hacking strategies to the best of your abilities.
Listen and act accordingly
It is extremely important that you treat your first customers with extreme care and listen to their feedback on a regular basis. They will always offer you unbiased feedback on how to improve your solution because there is always a bug that needs to be fixed, changed, or removed. Listen carefully and keep it up. Your first customers are your best bet, but your late adopters are the ones who will determine how far your startup can go.
Flat6Labs programs are open for applications across MENA. Apply now!
Flat6Labs, the regional seed investment company and startup accelerator, has partnered up with OQAL, an Angel Investors Network in Saudi Arabia in order to further the growth of MENA’s startups through collaborative efforts to introduce Flat6Labs network of startups to OQAL’s network of angel investors.
This partnership will provide OQAL with direct access to Flat6Labs portfolio companies, enabling more deals to happen efficiently across the board and enabling Flat6Labs startups to scale with the funding provided by OQAL’s network of investors.
“We are very excited about our partnership with OQAL today. It marks another building block in our mission to help our startups grow and scale toward their desired markets in MENA and specifically the GCC” said Ramez El-Serafy, CEO at Flat6Labs. “As one of the first and largest Angel Investor Networks in Saudi Arabia, we’re confident in what this partnership with OQAL will garner in terms of exciting investment opportunities for Flat6Labs’ startups and OQAL’s network of angel investors.” Added El-Serafy.
“A key pillar in OQAL’s strategy is ‘Engaged Network’ that emphasizes our efforts in playing a proactive role within the ecosystem with essential partners as Flat6Labs MENA, which is one of the most prominent acceleration programs in the region with a strong track-record and even stronger founders and teams. We’re hopeful that this partnership will be yielding more investments, and more startups setting-up and expanding to Saudi Arabia.” Said Latifa BaNasr, CEO of OQAL Angel Investors Network.
The pre-set criteria by OQAL and Flat6Labs ensures that the startups maintain a specific standard that enables them to accelerate. This criteria includes but not limited to: solving a problem, having a working prototype of the service/product, having a team that compliments one another, having technology at the startups’ core, having a clear plan for the future, and gaining traction for the solution on offer.
Since OQAL was founded in 2011, its investors have funded the growth of many GCC startups like Careem and Sawerly. OQAL will gain direct access to over 260 Flat6Labs select startups from around MENA, and Flat6Labs will be capable of introducing its startups to one of the first networks of angel investors in Saudi Arabia. This partnership opens a new channel of possibilities for Flat6Labs startups and OQAL’s network of investors in the GCC region, and provides the startups with the space and network to also expand their businesses to other countries.
Over the past two months, our startups around the region have been facing an unprecedented challenge that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Operations, liquidity and employment have been affected in many industries, but just as these challenges presented themselves, many of our startups adapted to the situation. Five of these startups were capable of securing follow-on funding of over EGP150m in only two months: Brimore, Chefaa, Instabug, Moneyfellows, and VRapeutic.
Brimore joined Flat6Labs Cairo 11th cycle, securing a seed fund from our program in Cairo. The startup, well known for its end-to-end distribution platform, caught the eyes of investors like Algebra Ventures and Endure Capital, who helped it raise $800k in seed funding. Lately, it was announced that Brimore had secured a Pre-Series A fund worth $3.5m. The round was led by Algebra Ventures, with the participation of Flat6Labs, Disruptech, Vision Ventures, and 500 Startups.
Over the past few years, Chefaa has been capable of providing lots of customers with much needed medication using their app-based service. After their graduation from Flat6Labs Cairo, Chefaa was capable of securing a six-figure seed round from 500 startups, Flat6Labs and other investors late 2018. A few weeks ago, they had secured their first 7-figure Pre-Series A round from 500 Startups,Vision Ventures, Womena, and other investors.
“We see Flat6Labs as partners of success and they have made it clear on more than one occasion that they invest in people. Their faith in us as founders has had quite the impact on our performance. That affected our business directly and thus catching investors’ eyes. They were among the first believers in our vision & mission. Although COVID-19 has proven to be a global challenge, it has highlighted the gap in the safe digitization of many health care services and with chronic patients at highest risk it just made sense that Chefaa rises to the challenge. We don’t see raising investment as privilege, we see it as proof of past achievement and responsibility towards more to come.” — Doaa Aref, CEO of Chefaa.
It has been around eight years since their graduation from Flat6Labs Cairo, but during this time, Instabug has been capable of securing well-known clients like Samsung, Paypal, Lyft, EA Sports, Sound Cloud, Vodafone, and more. The bug reporting software, was capable of raising $1.7m from Accel in 2016. This year, they had secured a whopping $5m in a Series A round; making it the largest funding round a Flat6Labs Startup has raised.
The money circles app, Moneyfellows, was capable of securing a $4m Series A round from Partech Partners and Sawari Ventures in June 2020. Moneyfellows was part of Flat6Labs Cairo x Barclayas 1864 Fintech cycle. This investment has happened shortly after they had raised over $1m in a Pre-Series A round from 500 Startups, Angel Investors, and the Phoenician Fund.
VRapeutic (Flat6labs Cairo Cycle 12)
A finalist at MIT Arab Startup Competition 2017, the winner of SingularityU MENA 2019 $60k competition, and most recently, the winner of the $100k UNICEF grant; this is VRapeutic, a startup that uses VR to help manage and treat patients with ADHD and the many forms of autism.
“Flat6Labs Cairo is a second family, and a place to grow, personally and professionally. It is an accelerator that supports, builds, and cares for its startups. Joining Flat6Labs Cairo is one of the best milestones that every Egyptian startup would want to achieve” — Ahmed Al-Kabbany, CEO of VRapeutic.
Recently, Flat6Labs Cairo had just graduated its Spring 2020 cycle that saw 8 innovative startups in an array of industries showcase their solutions in a digital space. If you are interested in knowing more about our startups, you can experience our Digital Demo Day here. You can also connect with our startups, by clicking here.