Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is partnering with 500 Global, one of the world’s most active venture capital firms, to bring the latter’s range of programmes to Cairo with the strategic aim of boosting the country’s evolving startup ecosystem. The 500 Global will be opening an office in Egypt, its first ever on the African continent.
Over a period of three years, the 500 Global will deploy three separate programs that will support nearly 200 startups and around 60 accelerator managers thanks to its team of expert program managers, investors, and mentors. They include:
1- A bootcamp for seed-stage companies.
2- A “Scale-Up” program with investments anticipated for participating Pre-Series A companies.
3- A bootcamp for accelerator managers.
The Egyptian startup ecosystem has established itself as one of Africa’s “big four” in a very short amount of time. Its startups have attracted nearly $500m in venture capital funding in 2021– more than twice the amount in 2020. The 500 Global-ITIDA agreement witnessed by Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, seeks to provide promising Egyptian-based startups with the tools they need to succeed and to train aspiring accelerator managers, thus creating the conditions to foster a regional community of innovators.
Commenting on the agreement, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Dr. Amr Talaat said: “The partnership comes within the Ministry’s keenness to establish cooperation with key global players to build an inclusive and robust network of experts and investors, aiming to accelerate the growth of the local startup sector and boost the innovation-based entrepreneurship.”
Talaat noted that this cooperation is a continuation of a series of endeavors to nurture and upscale startups along with MCIT’s plans to build and create a vibrant startup community at the Creativa Innovation Hubs spread across Egypt with nearly EGP 5bn of investment.
The 500 Global has been investing in Egypt for a decade and has investments in more than 60 Egyptian startups, including MaxAB, Homzmart, and Breadfast.
“We are thrilled to partner with ITIDA to bring the 500 Global’s world-class programmes, which have produced eight of our 49 unicorns, and a venture education program tailored for accelerator managers. As long-time investors in the country, we have the utmost confidence in the potential of the Egyptian market and look to be a key enabler of its fast-growing ecosystem,” said Courtney Powell, 500 Global’s Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner.
As part of its expanded strategy, the 500 Global has appointed Amal Enan as partner, based in Cairo, overseeing deal-related activities in the country. Enan has been investing in Egyptian startups for the past eight years, and helping them scale. Her experience includes roles at the American University in Cairo, Global Ventures, the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, the Egyptian Ministry of Finance, EFG Hermes, and the IFC.
“With her deep knowledge of the market and investment experience, Amal Enan will be an important driver of our investment strategy in Egypt, as we welcome her in her role of Partner,” added Courtney Powell.
For his part, Hossam Othman, Vice President of ITIDA, said that ITIDA seeks through this agreement to empower the community of local entrepreneurs and encourage them to launch their projects and innovative startups in collaboration with a globally renowned venture capital firm, such as the 500 Global. Othman added that the 500 Global office will be located at Digital Egypt Innovation Hub “Creativa” in Giza which embraces the state-of-the-art business environment and highest standards of launching successful startups.
“The 500 Global has been an active supporter of Egyptian startups, and our partnership with ITIDA serves to reinforce our commitment to founders as they mature. I’m incredibly excited to join the 500 Global team, and be part of their mission to uplift people and economies through entrepreneurship, as this new chapter unfolds,” said Amal Enan.