SMEs and Ventures

AUC Venture Lab in Egypt named best accelerator program in Africa

The Venture Lab at The American University in Cairo (AUC) was recognized as the Best Accelerator in Africa at the inaugural Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa summit, which was held in Cape Town, South Africa in June. The award places AUC and Egypt as the home of the continent’s best accelerator. During the summit, GSA announced the continent’s top 12 digital future shapers, including startups and ecosystem enablers. An international startup ecosystem competition based in Copenhagen, powered by the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG) Africa Fund and supported by The Loudhailer, GSA is present in 124 countries and aims to connect different stakeholders to facilitate innovation. AUC V-Lab had previously taken the same title at the North Africa Startup Awards in December, ranking it among the top 60 African digital future shapers.

AUC Venture Lab Founding Director and Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at the AUC School of Business Ayman Ismail said: “We are very grateful for this recognition as Africa’s top accelerator. We know that entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey for many, so at AUC Venture Lab, we are committed to empowering entrepreneurs with the knowledge, community, network and funding that they need so they can really focus on building stronger startups for a more prosperous Africa.”

At GSA, 7,600 startups and ecosystem players were competing from 54 African countries in 12 categories. The selection process lasted for five months, throughout which a cohort of 215 independent, industry expert jury members judged the nominees to identify 60 regional finalists and 12 continental winners.

Health-tech made up 11% of the total African category entries, and solutions came from 45 African countries – Including some of Africa’s smallest countries like Seychelles, São Tome and Principé, Comoros and Swaziland. This category included startups that initiated medical breakthroughs through innovative solutions in BioTech, HealthTech, wellness and telemedicine to improve quality of life.

AUC’s Venture Lab startups have actively tackled health tech and expanded their African reach by attracting investors and providing regional services, including Rology and DentaCarts. Rology is an AI-assisted, on-demand teleradiology platform that solves the problem of radiologists’ global shortage. Founded in 2017 by Amr AboDraiaa, Moaaz Hossam, Mahmoud Eldefrawy and Bassam Khallaf, the startup joined AUC Venture Lab in the same year and graduated from Cycle 9. Rology secured an undisclosed amount of pre-Series A funding in April this year to empower its geographical expansion in the MEA region. Investors include Egypt Ventures and Sequence Ventures from Egypt, Waseel and Tawaref from Saudi Arabia, and Viktoria Ventures from Kenya.

DentaCarts is a one-stop-shop specialized marketplace for authentic dental products and services. It offers a wide range of dental supplies and equipment through the network of authorized dealers in the region. Launched in 2017 by Ahmed Yehia and Saad Saleh and graduated from V-Lab in Spring 2018 (Cycle 10), the startup has gone on to serve thousands of dental clinics in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya, and Ghana, digitizing what was traditionally a physical market.

Since 2013, AUC Venture Lab, Egypt’s first university-based accelerator, has graduated 300 startups from its flagship accelerators, creating more than 12,000 job opportunities and raising more than EGP 5 Billion in funding. V-Lab’s portfolio includes Swvl (the first Egyptian unicorn to list on Nasdaq – tech and mobility), Koinz (F&B) ElGameya (Fintech), Klickit (payments) and Orcas (education).

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