The Egyptian tech startup scene is enjoying something of a renaissance after the turmoil of the Arab Spring put the launch of new companies on hold and sent investors running for the hills.
This process began for real in 2015, and continued apace this year. Here are Disrupt Africa’s top five developments for the Egypt tech startup ecosystem in 2016.
Startups are rich and getting richer
Funding is gradually flowing back into the local tech scene, as investors return to the country as the local business and political environments improve.
The Egyptian government has launched a US$100 million VC fund, while Algebra Ventures recently announced it has raised US$40 million to invest in tech startups. Flat6Labs has launched a fund of its own, while the UK government is also set to back local startups.
Instabug is on a role
Bug-reporting app Instabug has long been held up as one of the shining lights of Egyptian innovation, but 2016 was its best year yet.
The startup was accepted onto the glocally-renowned Y Combinator accelerator programme in Silicon Valley, raising some funding in the process. It also released the third version of its app.
Things only got better, though, with Instabug in June announcing a US$1.7 million seed round led by Accel Partners to allow it to expand its suite of tools to provide a comprehensive support kit for mobile apps.
Barclays is keen on Egypt too
Barclays may be getting more attention for its Cape Town-based accelerator, but the bank is stepping up its involvement in Egypt too. In June it announced a partnership with Flat6Labs to launch the 1864 Accelerator for fintech startups.
The programme offers selected startups up to EGP150,000 (US$17,000) in funding as well as 14 weeks of mentorship, coaching and support. It is the first local fintech-focused startup accelerator programme of its kind in Egypt.
WUZZUF is a startup that buys startups
Online recruitment startup WUZZUF came into 2016 off the back of a successful 2015 which saw it raise a US$1.7 million Series A round led by Vostok New Ventures and Piton Capital. In 2016, however, its became an acquirer of other startups.
The company recently acquired Egyptian job assessment platform Viriphi for an undisclosed amount, a move that will see the services of both companies merged.
This is an unusual move at the best of times, so credit to WUZZUF for making such as sucecss of their business they are able to acquire others.
Innoventures scaling up
2016 was a busy year for Innoventures, which ended it by becoming one of the latest organisations to announce a fund for Egyptian tech startups.
The company had been busy before that, anyway, selecting startups for its Startup Reactor programme, designed to help local companies grow and prosper.
The programme culminated recently, with 10 startups pitching to investors and media at a demo day.