ArabFinance: Arab Finance had a one-on-one interview with Ahmed Hazem Dakroury, CEO of Falak Startups, the business accelerator that’s scaling up Egypt’s most prominent start-ups, to discuss the business ecosystem in Egypt, the different types of support it offers and future plans.

Can we start with some insight into Falak Startups’ story? How and when did you launch your services?

Falak started in 2018 under the initiative of the Ministry of International Cooperation that started with our parent fund, Egypt Ventures, both mandated to invest in and support Egyptian innovative technology entrepreneurs as part of the efforts to build a healthy start-up scene in the country and spur the growth of innovative solutions that tackle pressing economic and social matters and achieve massive impact.

You offer your clients a general track and a Fintech track, how do they differ in terms of support?

We work closely with our sister fund EFGEV Fintech which is a joint venture between our parent fund (Egypt Ventures) and EFG Finance investing mainly in promising fintech solutions that enables the growth of companies building technology solutions in the finance space targeted to financial health and sustainability as well as financial inclusion.

Those companies benefit from our acceleration programs and efforts to achieve great performance through guidance, mentorship, and access to imperative resources and benefits.

You’re powered by the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation and Egypt Ventures. What impact does this have on your offering?

We are strategically positioned to offer our startups golden opportunities to be part of great relevant initiatives championed by the MOIC through the substantial efforts of HE Dr. Rania and her amazing team. A live example is her efforts with regards to COP27 and having it hosted in Egypt for the first time, we are aligning companies in our portfolio with the initiative to showcase the efforts carried out by the Ministry in response to one of the world’s most pressing opportunities such as sustainability and working towards Net Zero emissions.

Egypt Ventures eyes our portfolio for follow-on investments, giving them access to more support financially and strategically through the comprehensive network of local VCs they collaborate with on investment deals with bigger ticket sizes than that of ours, an important part of our value-added investment system as well.

How is the startup ecosystem different nowadays from a decade ago?

Having started an e-commerce business myself back in 2008, I can tell you that what we are seeing today is phenomenal, this generation of entrepreneurs have access to vast opportunities of support and funding which was not available 10 years ago when there was only a couple of venture capital funds with low activity and a single accelerator.

What’s the current scale of your business? Which sectors do you focus on? How many startups have you supported so far? Any interesting insights or stories?

We are a 130 MEGP fund that invested in 65 companies and supported hundreds of companies with our mentorship and programs.

Our success is seeing the founders we believe in early on succeed in building amazing solutions and be able to attract market and investment interest to them. Examples would be;

Raseedi: A lifestyle app that caters to the 3 main needs of the underbanked masses, to communicate, save money and find easy financing. -120K Active monthly users

-14 million monthly visits

-100K USD GMV (growing at 50% MOM)

-10% GP Margin on payments 25% Margin on Short term (60 days) loans

-Egypt's first Alternative Scoring model based on telco data that scores users in less than 5 mins

-Egypt's first Network Community of 40 million Egyptians that assumes and assess common behavior within users communities based on telco data and 1.2 Billion data points

Bypass: A unified electronic health record solution that synchronizes and consolidates records from different healthcare providers for better access to more efficient and effective health services.

Bypa-ss has recently raised a round of 1 MUSD from local and regional VCs and investors.
Rabbit: a clean-tech micro-mobility solution offering electric scooters to rent

Launched in Zamalek

Launched the Rabbit Express brand

Surpassed 100k rides in 1 year (2021)

Started locally manufacturing 50% of spare parts

 

Educatly

 

What’s next for Falak Startups?

We plan to continue deploying our current fund into investments in innovative solutions while finding more ways to support their growth journey in addition to building an extension of this fund that has a more regional focus and a higher ticket size per investment to capture more of the promising opportunities represented in the creative companies being built by highly qualified entrepreneurs.

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