IFC to invest $15 mln to support start-up ecosystem in Egypt

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) — a World Bank Group member — is set to invest $15 million in the second fund from venture capital firm Algebra Ventures with the aim of supporting tech start-ups with access to finance and drive innovation and job creation primarily in Egypt.

Algebra Ventures is Egypt’s leading tech company that provides venture vapital (VC) for start-ups and entrepreneurs operating in the Egyptian market.

The IFC said that this investment will help back the growth of roughly 20 technology start-ups in Egypt and in Africa more broadly.

The investment is part of the IFC’s strategy to support Africa’s start-ups and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and its second investment in Algebra Ventures.

The fund, which has a target size of $90 million, will have a special focus on women-led businesses and those serving rural communities, according to the IFC.

It added that VC investments in Egypt represent 25 percent of VCs existing in all emerging markets, growing more than 10-fold since 2016.

“We are delighted to see the IFC return as a limited partner in our second fund, having invested in our first fund five years ago as well as directly into our portfolio. The IFC has been one of our strongest partners since day one and believed in our vision when there was no venture capital to speak of in Egypt. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership going forward,” said Tarek Assaad — managing partner at Algebra Ventures.

“With its young, tech-savvy population and large market, Egypt’s entrepreneurs are perfectly poised to drive change in the country’s economy with the right support,” said Yasmine El-Hini — the IFC’s country officer and acting country manager for Egypt and Libya.

He added that the IFC, through this investment, is helping to push Egypt’s start-up scene forward and encourage innovation.

In 2016, the IFC invested $10 million to co-anchor Algebra’s inaugural $54 million fund, which also attracted investments from Cisco Investments, the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Algebra Fund I was the first Egypt-dedicated VC fund and has supported 21 tech start-ups and created over 3,500 direct and 28,000 indirect jobs.

Since the beginning of 2022, the IFC has directly invested $5 million in Brimore — an Algebra Ventures portfolio company and social commerce company — and $20 million in the Ezdehar Fund to help smaller businesses access finance.

As of June 2021, the IFC’s global VC investments reached $1.6 billion across over 100 companies and venture capital funds, supporting around 1,700 companies.

Orginal Article Link: https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/464402.aspx


Egypt’s ILLA raises $2M to diversify its offerings to FMCG value chain:

Most FMCG brands rely on a combination of owned and outsourced assets to carry out delivery operations. The variety of both models brings about a fragmented logistics cycle and FMCGs can lose significant value in the process.

ILLA is an Egyptian startup that provides full-stack delivery solutions to corporates and small businesses in the FMCG sector. And today, it is announcing the close of a $2 million funding round to scale across Egypt.

“Having worked for over 15 years in the FMCG industry working for Coca-Cola, Clorox and others, I could see firsthand the kind of fragmentation that exists within logistics operations for big-name FMCG brands, and that called for a better approach than the existing solutions,” said Mahmoud El-Zomor, the startup’s CEO who founded the company in 2019.

Upon sensing a need for such a service, El-Zomor teamed up with his co-founders — Alaa Jarkas, Ahmed Sakr and Hossam Saraya — who have some background in the industry to build ILLA.

ILLA services are designed for distributors, food and beverage chains, hotels, hypermarkets, manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in the FMCG industry.

The company has a unified platform and centralized operations team that handles middle-mile delivery logistics for FMCGs. The delivery provided by the company reduces friction between the brands and logistics suppliers as complete visibility of operations is assured. 

Since its launch, the Egyptian startup has completed more than 250,000 transactions from over 65 clients. Some of these names include Coca-Cola, P&G, Danone, Nestlé, Juhayna, and PepsiCo.

According to Mohamed Emera, the company’s director of growth, ILLA is targeting the FMCG logistics head-on, which speaks to the company’s focus on disrupting the market in Egypt. The bigger picture is global, where fragmentation in supply chain is a $1 trillion market. 

“That focus on the industry affords us leverage to dig deep into the problem and find solutions from within, that and the unique nature of delivery specific to FMCG gives us room for innovation that others cannot afford,” said the director.

While the company digs deep to find more solutions from within, it also plans to use this investment to fuel growth in Egypt. In addition, ILLA wants to “disrupt the traditional route-to-market for FMCG companies and SMEs while building more around its tech platform to deliver more value to its clients and drivers alike,” the CEO remarked.

The investors who led the round include Watheeq Financial Services and Golden Palm Investments. Others that participated are Loftyinc Capital Management, Kepple Africa Fund, Cubit Ventures, AUC Angels, Oqal Angel Network and Flat6Labs Cairo — it’s the accelerator’s third time investing in the company.

In a statement, Khaled Zaidan of Watheeq Financial Services said, “With the onset of covid, the global supply chain management industry is suitable for modernization, and ILLA is uniquely positioned as an end-to-end execution platform.”

“Middle-mile logistics is one of the most underinvested segments of the global supply chain market. ILLA has identified this massive opportunity in MENA and is offering a full-stack B2B supply chain management platform enabling FMCG brands to reach retailers directly at the lowest cost per case. Mahmoud and team are utilizing the trucking logistics shared economy and tech automation to innovate within a large and fast-growing market,” AJ Okereke, a partner at Golden Palm Investments, added.

Orginal Article Link: https://techcrunch.com/2021/10/19/egypts-illa-raises-2m-to-diversify-its-offerings-to-fmcg-value-chain/


Indian car rental platform Zoomcar to invest $25mln in Egypt:

Zoomcar, the largest car-sharing marketplace covering emerging markets and dominating the self-drive car rental market in India, announced the launch of its operations in Egypt as part of its plan to expand to the MENA region.

The car rental platform is committed to injecting long-term investments in Egypt to provide environmentally-friendly transport solutions, the CEO and Co-Founder of Zoomcar, Greg Moran, said in a press conference on Tuesday, according to a statement.

For his part, the Vice President and Egypt Country Head, Hany Olama, said that the company has chosen Egypt as its starting point in the MENA region with investments of $25 million.

The company will first launch its operations in Cairo and then expand to Alexandria, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, El-Dakahlia, and El-Gharbiya in 2022, Olama added.

It plans to add 5,000 cars by March 2022 to reach 20,000 cars by the end of 2022, Olama revealed.

Orginal Article Link: https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/business/story/Indian_car_rental_platform_Zoomcar_to_invest_25mln_in_Egypt-SNG_253362032/


Egypt signs deal with Nokia to build IoT infrastructure

Egyptian Minister of Communications and IT Amr Talaat oversaw the signing of a deal between Telecom Egypt and Nokia International to build Internet of Things infrastructure in the country.

The ministry said Telecom Egypt’s network enables the provision IoT services to companies on a global scale, based on Nokia’s multi-service model. 

The agreement will contribute to the automation of projects and help companies reduce their operating expenses, enhance productivity, and provide new services to markets faster.

It includes establishment of a global IoT infrastructure and a Pay As You Grow business model, and Nokia will enable Telecom Egypt to provide IoT services at low prices.

The deal was signed by Adel Hamed, managing director and CEO of Telecom Egypt, and Henrik Fall, head of cloud services and networks in the Middle East and Africa at Nokia.

Talaat attended the signing ceremony during his visit to Dubai to attend the 41st GITEX Global Exhibition and Conference.

He also met Ram Ramachandran, senior vice president and head of Middle East and Africa for Tech Mahindra. Tech Mahindra is an Indian multinational subsidiary of the Mahindra Group.

The Egyptian minister discussed ways to increase Tech Mahindra’s contribution to the digital transformation of Egypt.

Orginal Article Link: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1950286/business-economy


Egyptian Startup Swvl to Enter Europe’s Market via Shotl Acquisition

Egypt-founded transportation startup has agreed to buy Spain-based Shotl, an on-demand shuttle-booking platform, according to Reuters.

Spain-based Shotl would serve as Swvl’s HQ in Europe, which would help double its geographic footprint as part of the company’s strategy to expand to 20 countries by 2025, with a goal of driving more than $1 billion of annual gross revenue. Shotl operates in 22 cities across 10 countries, including Brazil and Japan.

In addition to expanding to global markets, the deal also allows Swvl to venture into autonomous driving projects, which is through Shotl’s participation in a project led by the European Commission to reveal the impact of self-driving minibuses on the future of public transport networks.

The news comes after it was announced last month that the company plans to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange and go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital.

This makes Swvl the first Middle East $USD 1.5 billion ‘unicorn’ to list on Nasdaq US and the largest African unicorn debut on any U.S.-listed exchange, beating Jumia’s debut of $1.1 billion on the NYSE.

Founded by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah in 2017, the three friends started the company as a bus-hailing service in Egypt to fix the problem of transportation, as well as other ride-sharing services in emerging markets.

Swvl operates buses along fixed routes using an app in 10 countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Kenya, and Pakistan.

Orginal Article Link: https://egyptianstreets.com/2021/08/19/egyptian-startup-swvl-to-enter-europes-market-via-shotl-acquisition/