Let us take you in a journey in time to Egypt 2013, when a group of leading entrepreneurs worked together to keep connected with other entrepreneurs in other countries in order to help each other expand and grow. This little initiative is turning now to a start-up community bringing to town regional entrepreneurs with global resources, supporting new products, and enhancing ecosystems. We’re talking about the rising phenomenon known as RiseUp invading Egypt for the fifth year in a row!
“We’re thrilled to see the Summit kick off with such incredible participation from all over the world. It’s a testament to the important role entrepreneurship plays in our region, which pushes us every year to create an experience filled with real opportunities for start-ups. There are opportunities for learning through workshops and listening to global expertise, for funding through meeting investors, for mentorship, networking, sourcing talent and a lot more,” RiseUp Summit Manager, Dalia Kamar, said, during the first day of RiseUp 2017.
In its fifth edition, the summit was themed ‘Innovation to Improve Human Experience (HX) concentrating on the utilization of innovative thinking side by side with creativity to create elite HX and technology.
The leading event for MENA region’s entrepreneurs started with marvelous announcements by Elves App, Nahdet Misr, Abraaj Group, and iconic speakers from the global ecosystem, to thousands of attendees gathered in Downtown Cairo in both The Greek Campus and the American University’s Main Tahrir Campus.
- Abraaj Group announced the launch of Bakery, an ecosystem building platform which will provide entrepreneurs with the ability to design and build scalable solutions and grant the access to its platform of global resources and local support, leading its users to a toolkit for operational excellence.
- Elves, the first ‘Human Siri’ which connects people to a real assistant, announced the successful closure of its seed round at more than $2 million, which makes it the largest seed in the region’s history. Participating investors included The Dubai Angels, Emaar Industries & Investments, the Kauffman Fellows Syndicate, and many more from MENA region and the United States. “We’re excited to get this funding from Emaar and the rest of our investors. Their investment – coupled with rapid adoption and our plans around marketing and product development– is a strong endorsement of our vision,” Partner and CBO of Elves, Ahmed Kassem, said.
- EdVentures came with another exciting announcement, revealing its new partnership with Nahdet Misr Group, the region’s largest publishing firm, for initiating an investment fund dedicated only for education and ED-tech investments. As a result, EdVentures portfolio companies are to receive the technical and marketing assistance they would need for their businesses to thrive.
“Starting a company is a complex and daunting process for first-time founders — but it doesn’t have to be. With Stripe Atlas, our aim is to open source the expertise of starting and running an internet business, offering one consolidated place to manage every aspect of starting up. By removing barriers for more founders across MENA, we hope to help accelerate their businesses on the global stage,” Sarah Heck, a senior leader from global technology company, Stripe, and former White House advisor on entrepreneurship to the Obama Administration, officially opened up Stripe Atlas to founders in the RiseUp community.
The second day of the summit also included speeches of prominent entrepreneurs. “The energy today is palpable, and we’re delighted to bring together the region’s entrepreneurs for this incredible experience. Each year, we aspire to offer a one-stop-shop of opportunities, activities and benefits for our attendees, and this year we’re seeing a crowd more engaged than ever before,” commented Dalia Kamar, RiseUp Summit Manager.
Second day’s highlights included talks by Hend Sabry, Chairwoman of Tayarah, who spoke about the initiative’s goals and rules within the context of the digital media influence in 25th of January revolution. “Our role as regional media players will be paving the infrastructure, fostering local talent and providing financial models for content funding. Tayarah wants to be a witness and a key player in this digital media revolution, by providing mobile, local, relevant content from and to the Arab digital generation,” Sabry noted.
Clarissa Shen, COO of Udacity, revealed the new partnership with AUC to launch in MENA region to offer enhancing educational softwares. “Udacity is honored to work with the American University in Cairo, the leading academic institution in Egypt. Together, we will help students to learn the skills that are in demand in the tech industry as we bring the most future-ready technology courses from Silicon Valley tech giants to the region,” Shen stated.
“The MENA Funding Evolution report was an opportunity to look back at how funding in the ecosystem has evolved over the years. To be able to share such insights at RiseUp Summit has been amazing. It has created interesting dialogues between startup founders, investors, corporates and anybody who is interested in the ecosystem. It really highlights the beauty of the collaboration between RiseUp and MAGNiTT by creating richer conversations between attendees based on facts and figures,” commented Philip Bahoshy, CEO and founder of MAGNiTT about their latest research which revealed that the top 200 funded startups in MENA region have together raised more than $2.1 billion in funding. The report showed that six of the 200 selected startups have already exited and 55 % of the top funded startups were founded within the last five years.