Establishing a startup and setting out on an entrepreneurial journey is a valuable learning experience that comes with its own challenges. Lack of access to capital, mentorship, and structural resources are among the challenges most entrepreneurs face. That’s why startup founders enroll in accelerator programs.
What are Accelerators?
Organizations that provide support services and funding opportunities for startups. Startups enroll in months-long programs where they get mentorship, office space, and access to capital and investment in return for startup equity.
If you are considering applying for an acceleration program, we have compiled a list of top four accelerators in Egypt.
Best Accelerators in Egypt
Egypt’s first university-based startup accelerator program and a leading accelerator in Africa and the Middle East. AUC Venture Lab supports innovative and passionate entrepreneurs to turn their solutions into a viable business.
They offer two different acceleration programs:
- Startup Accelerator: a 16-week program that targets early-stage and innovative startups working in energy and sustainability, e-commerce, healthcare innovation, and other creative industries. Startups joining the program receive intensive training, mentor matchmaking, as well as attending networking events. The best part is that startups receive seed capital award for 0% equity.
- Fintech Accelerator: a customized program that lasts for 16 weeks. This program targets fin-tech startups and provides founders with specialized business finance and technology support. Entrepreneurs get the chance to learn the ins and outs of working with the CBE regulations.
How to Apply?
- Fill out the online application (2 cycles per year; you can follow them on FB and Twitter for more info about deadlines).
- A screening interview where you’ll get to meet V-Lab’s team to tell them more about your business and the reasons why you think your business will be successful.
- A 3-day boot camp where you’ll get to know more about their acceleration activities
- Finally, the selection process terminates with pitching your business to panelists.
Is submitting a business plan mandatory?
No, founders are not required to submit a business plan. However, they will be asked about issues like their market size, target market, and value proposition.
What does V-Lab look for in applying companies?
- Startups that are innovative and scalable built on original ideas and lean models.
- Companies with working prototypes or an MVP
- Having a relevant team that possess a strong background in the field of the startup is another important thing they look for.
- One of the founding members should be fully committed during the entire duration of the program (4 months).
For more information and getting in touch with V-Lab, send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The accelerator fosters and invests in Egyptian entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas. The first Flat6Labs office in MENA region was launched in 2011. They have offices in Cairo, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Beirut and Tunis.
How many startups does Flat6labs invest in per cycle?
10 startups per cycle (2 cycles annually). Selected startups receive EGP 500K to 750K in exchange for 10% equity. Moreover, they offer up to EGP 2 million in post-acceleration follow-on funding with matching co-investors.
Startups working in public service delivery (health, education, waste management, environment), or supporting marginalized communities and poorer regions are nominated to receive grant funding of up to USD 25,000
How to Apply?
- Fill out an online application.
- The application is reviewed and in case your startups is shortlisted, you’ll have to sit for an interview (30 – 60 minutes). The purpose of the interview is to get more information about the founders, who they are, and the reason behind building the company, as well as how well they know their market.
- Founders then attend a 5-day selection boot camp that serves as an intensive workshop for startup teams to work on developing and testing their ideas.
- By the end of the boot camp, each team pitches their idea to the selection committee that selects the final startups to join the cycle.
- Selected startups attend a 16-week cycle program during which they work hard on developing the core business model, building a prototype, and acquiring customers.
- Four weeks within cycle start, the onboarding process takes place. It includes company registration, signing terms papers, and legal agreements. After this point, the company is ready to operate as a full-fledged incorporated business.
- An only-invite demo day is held at the end of each cycle where startup teams pitch in front of accredited VCs, angel investors, mentors, partners and the media.
- After demo day, only selected companies receive follow-on funding through linking them to more investors.
Is submitting a business plan mandatory?
No, but you need to have an idea about how you plan to generate revenue and how you plan to grow.
3. Falak Startups:
Their mission is finding and empowering talented and ambitious early-stage tech startup founders and help them thrive in the entrepreneurship landscape. The six-month acceleration program aims to provide entrepreneurs with tools, resources, and networks to develop their strategies and expand their business.
How many startups do they invest in per cycle?
Ten startups per cycle (2 cycles annually).
Startups can receive an investment starting from EGP 250,000 (with an equity stake of 5%) up to EGP 1 million (adding up to a total of 10% equity).
How to Apply?
- You start by filling out an online application.
- Shortlisted companies are contacted to schedule an interview.
- If your startup is shortlisted, you will be required to attend a boot camp.
- After being selected, you will receive an e-mail to pitch in front of an investment committee.
- Final selection and the program begins.
What does Falak Startups look for in applying companies?
The program aims at startups with ideas that are scalable and have high impact backed by a strong team.
Falak Startups offers two tracks:
General Track: The track offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to attend weekly sessions in which sector-focused experts hold one-on-one meetings with participating startups.
Other benefits included in this track:
- One-on-one venture growth: where startups collaborate with Falak’s team of business strategy consultants on a daily basis.
- Technical consultation: the program offers participating companies technical support and matching with top-tech talents.
- Fundraising: the investment team is committed to support portfolio companies in raising follow-on funding even after graduating the cycle.
- Perks and discounts: Falak has more than 25 key partnerships and offers its portfolio companies in-kind support estimated at EGP 500K.
- Monthly networking: portfolio companies receive exclusive invitations to ecosystem events.
- Legal and government support: the accelerator offers legal establishment and advisory services.
- Media and public relations: as a portfolio company, you will receive media coverage during and after the acceleration program.
Fintech Track (EFG EV):
By joining this track, the entrepreneurs get:
- Shared office space for a period of six months including full administrative support.
- Legal support as well as tax and accounting services
- Training and coaching sessions delivered by local high-profile mentors.
- Guidance in scaling and growth strategies from full-time experienced team members.
- Bi-weekly one-on-one sessions where KPIs and milestones related to key startup activities are set and tracked.
EFG EV combines the financial know-how of EFG Hermes and Egypt Ventures’ entrepreneurial expertise to launch Egypt’s most powerful fintech-focused startup accelerator. The accelerator invests in rising fin-tech startups with the potential to grow and expand beyond the domestic market. It provides entrepreneurs with fully integrated services necessary for thriving including funding, mentorship, training, and office space.
The accelerator targets startups working in:
- Money transfer
- Saving and investing
- Robo-advisory and wealth management
- Borrowing and capital raising
- Blockchain-enabled platforms
- Infrastructure technology
EFG offers two investment tracks:
The accelerator: launched in partnership with Falak Startups and targets seed and early-stage fin-tech startups with two cycles per year ( up to 10 startups are selected each year) and invests EGP 500 (for 8% equity) in the most promising startups.
How to Apply?
- Fill out the online application.
- The team reviews applications and selects an initial group to participate in a 3-day boot camp.
- The investment committee chooses 3 to 5 top-performing participants for investment.
- Selected participants participate in a 4-month program that helps them scale their business and strengthen company processes and management capacities.
- Top-performing participants pitch to new investors on demo day at the end of the cycle.
Direct investment track: this track targets post-seed and early-stage startups and provides them with the financing and support they need to reach series-A funding. Startups meeting validation KPIs are eligible to apply for up to EGP 2 million total funding.
What are the validation KPIs?
- Potential for future series A funding
- Revenue generation history and high growth rate
- Two years of solid operations
- A solid team covering technical and business aspects
How to apply?
- Contact them directly via e-mail (through the contact form on their website)
- The selection committee will vet applicants and select those with a proven track record.