Seemingly out of nowhere, Egypt is suddenly on the radar as a significant African funding destination for startups. In partnership with ITIDA and the American University in Cairo (AUC), the South-African startup portal Disrupt Africa published an extensive study on Egypt’s exceptionally dynamic startup sector. Egyptian startups finally play in the big league! As a bonus, to dive into the startup data and the report in detail, we have prepared a fantastic interactive search tool.
THE EGYPTIAN STARTUP ECOSYSTEM REPORT
In 2015, not so long ago in the traditional economy, but ages ago in the startup ecosystem, the country had relatively low levels of activity and even more negligible levels of investment. What has made this year 2021 unique to make the Egyptian startup ecosystem turn Africa’s big three (South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya) into a big four within a relatively short period?
It is a subtle combination of a substantial increase in startup activity, a massive capital inflow, and proactive government support. With one unicorn, Fawry, soon to be two once Swvl lists publicly, Egypt is building up an impressive track record in the tech startup space.
As of September 2021, Egypt accounts for almost 20% of the active tech startups across Africa, with at least 562 tech startups operating across the country.
The amount of investment in startups in Egypt
In 2020, the Egyptian startups raised the equivalent of $156 million, which already represented a fantastic +49% compared to 2019.
But 2021 has broken all records! If we consider the January to September period only, the Egyptian startups raised $403 million (+158%). The five most significant investments were series A rounds:
- MNT-Halan raised $120 million,
- Trella’s $42 million,
- Maxab $40 million,
- Capiter $33 million,
- Breadfast $26 million.
Sectors of the Egyptian e-commerce ecosystem
E-commerce is king in Egypt, as the sector represents one-fifth of the country’s active tech startups. There are almost twice as many e-commerce and retail-tech startups as fintech ones, which come in second. Then e-health, ed-tech, logistics, recruitment, and AI/IoT are also especially busy sectors.
Don’t miss our interactive search tool to learn more about the different sectors, know the names of the most important startups in each, and much more! You will find it right after the conclusion.
The Egyptian startups play in the big league, and the tech startup sector is getting more attractive and structured. The industry employs more than 12,900 people in Egypt. 39% of Egyptian startups have participated in some acceleration program, either within national incubation program (TIEC, Flat6Labs, Athar, the AUC VLab, and Falak Startups) or in renowned international accelerators such as Y Combinator or 500 Global. That percentage is far behind the other African Big Four club member. All indicators show that the sector in Egypt is about to take off. We take the bet!