Egyptian fashion rental platform La Reina raises $1m

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Egyptian startup La Reina, an online platform for rental couture, has secured a US$1 million Series A funding round led by Algebra Ventures, Egypt’s largest venture capital fund, with participation from global VC fund 500 Startups.

Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, La Reina allows women to rent their evening and bridal gowns to each other. It caters to women standing on either side of a demand and supply equation, with designer dresses as their meeting point.

The US$1 million round is led by Algebra Ventures, a US$50 million Cairo-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. Its investments include Eventtus, Elmenus, GoodsMart, and Filkhedma. 500 Startups also participates.

“Our number one priority is take our collection from hundreds to thousands. We aim to grow our current closet in order to reach 5,000 items by next January,” said co-founder El-Tanawy.

The company also plans to use the acquired investment to expand its team,

“We are certainly focusing on the team,” said Diab, La Reina’s co-founder. “At La Reina, we realise that people are the start and end point. We are determined to find the best talent in the local market. Our team has tripled in the past two months, and we’re still looking for more spectacular minds.”

Algebra Ventures’ managing partner Ziad Mokhtar said La Reina had two smart, resourceful, and passionate founders with a clear vision of what they want to build.

“La Reina is taking the first big step in transforming the way Egyptians consume fashion. Startups that go after sizeable multi-billion dollar industries, like fashion, attract Algebra’s attention. La Reina is leveraging shifts in consumer behavior driven by technology, and that excites us,” he said.

In addition to local investors, La Reina has caught the attention of US-based global venture capital fund 500 Startups.

“We have been watching the La Reina team since the beginning and were impressed with their innovative approach to solving a huge regional pain point. Not only have we seen similar ideas succeed in the US where the pain point is arguably lower than a place like Egypt, where every week seems to have a formal event with strong social pressures requiring women to dress-to-impress, we were delighted to see how La Reina adapted their strategy and business model around the local nuances and needs on both sides of the marketplace,” said 500 Startups partner Sharif El-Badawi.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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