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Here are six of the biggest VC deals so far in 2019 by Egyptian startups

As summer hits Egypt it’s not just the streets that are cooking, with maximum temperatures in the capital Cairo expected to remain above 38 degrees C for the remainder of this week, investment in Egyptian tech startups is also hotting up.

Last year Egyptian startups raised millions of dollars in funding according to a report in April by Magnitt, a publication that covers tech startups in the region.

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This year a number of startups have already announced raises. Last week Bloomberg reported that Cairo-based transportation startup Swvl raised $42-million from investors that include BECO CapitalEndeavor Catalyst, MSA and Vostok Ventures.

In a tweet last Thursday (20 June), Egypt’s IIC ministry called it the largest-ever funding round raised by an Egyptian startup.

So far this year, at least 10 other Egyptian startups (firms founded and run in Egypt and not older than seven years), have announced deals.

We did not include rounds in food delivery startup Elmenus (see here), fantasy sports platform Eksab (here), loyalty solutions provider Dsquares (see here), online grocery startup GoodsMart (see here) and AI startup Merq (see here) — as the amount of investment for each was not disclosed.

In addition, social video analytics platform Mintrics last month reported that it was busy closing a $500 000 investment fund and intends to use the funding to expand to the US (see this story).

Here then are the six deals:


Earlier this month Cairo-based transportation startup Swvl is reported to have raised $42-million from investors that include BECO CapitalEndeavor Catalyst, MSA and Vostok Ventures.

The startup — which was founded in 2017 by CEO Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh — allows users in Egypt and Kenya to use its app to book fixed rate affordable rides on its network of vans and buses.

US business publication Bloomberg reported in an article earlier this month that Kandil said the startup plans to enter “two or three more” African cities by the end of the year. Lagos would most likely be its next market, said Kandil.

The startup currently operates in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt as well as in Nairobi, Kenya.

Last month, the startup together with Ford, inked a strategic partnership deal that will see it use Ford Transit mini-buses as the preferred vehicle of choice on Swvl’s routes.

In November last year Swil announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in a Series-B funding round led by BECO Capital (see this story) (Forbes at the time said the round was an “exceptionally oversubscribed” one). In an article in April, Magnitt, a guide for startups in the region, put the value of that deal at over $20-million.

It followed an $8-million deal announced in April, which was one of the top 10 disclosed deals by African startups in 2018 (see this story).


In April end-to-end distribution platform Brimore announced that it had raised $800 000 in a seed round co-led by Algebra Ventures and Endure Capital (see this story).

Brimore’s platform provides manufacturers with direct access to local communities who can both use and promote the products. The startup was founded in 2017 by CEO Mohamed Abdulaziz, CBO Ahmed Sheikha, and Mahmoud Refaay.

At the time the startup said the funding will be used for technology development, marketing and team expansion.

Sheikha told Ventureburn at the time that Brimore currently works with more than 22 manufacturers, providing them access to all of Egypt’s governorates. The startup is aiming to grow in emerging markets, particularly in Africa.

Abdulaziz explained in the press release that many Egyptian manufacturers and products have “suffered and died” because of inefficient and expensive distribution networks that he said are better suited to “big multinationals”.

“We’re leveraging the power of people and their social networks to solve the problem of market access for SMEs in Egypt and disrupt the traditional distribution model. We’ve merged sales, marketing, and distribution in one transaction,” he explained.

Brimore was part of Flat6labs accelerator programme in December last year and is the first startup from that cohort to secure an investment before demo day.


Cairo-based trucking marketplace Trella in February revealed that it had raised $600 000 in a pre-seed round led by Egyptian venture capital (VC) firm Algebra Ventures (see this story).

Trella was founded last year by CEO and former Uber executive Omar Hagrass (pictured above, centre) and CTO Pierre Saad (pictured above, right).

The startup claims its platform — which connects shippers with carriers — reduces costs for shippers by improving load utilisation and efficiency, all while offering transparent pricing schedules and enabling shipment tracking in real time.

Hagrass said Trella — inspired by the success of ride-hailing startups — had built a similar solution for the region’s freight industry to “improve efficiency throughout the supply chain”.

Hagrass also told Ventureburn at the time that the startup — which currently has “north of 1000” carriers registered on its platform — will use the investment for capacity acquisition, carrier educations and expansion of its product portfolio.


Egyptian startup Orcas earlier this month announced that it had raised $500 000 in a pre-Series A funding round led by Egyptian venture capital (VC) fund Algebra Ventures, with participation from NFX Capital (see this story).

Orcas is a mobile application that connects parents and students with tutors and babysitters.

The startup was founded in 2014 by Hossam Taher (pictured above with team mates, second from left), a medical doctor by training, when he was a student himself, and Amira El Gharib (pictured above, front right).

Orcas currently operates in the capital Cairo and Egyptian cities of Alexandria, El Gouna and also covers the north coast.

The startup claimsthat over 20,000 students have signed up to its app

The startup plans to use the investment to develop its product offering and scale the company with the end goal of optimising user experience for stakeholders.


The founder of startup XPay — which was reported last month to have raised $250 000 from two angel investors — says he closed the deal after meeting the two at a social event where he got talking about his business to them (see this story).

In an email to Ventureburn XPay founder Mohamed Abdelmottaleb (pictured above) said both investors are Egyptian and live in the UK.

“They both got very interested. We arranged for a couple of follow-up meetings and then signed the term sheet. Due diligence took about three weeks to complete,” he said.

The Cairo-based fintech, which Abdelmottaleb founded last year, develops financial solutions that help communities like universities, schools, social and sport clubs go cashless.

The startup intends to use the investment to capture a “significant portion” of the Egyptian market, as well as to grow the startup’s team, he said.

XPay currently consists of a team of seven, Abdelmottaleb said the startup plans to grow this to 15 by year’s end.

Abdelmottaleb told Ventureburn that the startup aims to sign up 200 000 users by the end of the year. He also revealed that the startup plans to next year begin expanding outside of Egypt.

He added that the startup also plans to raise more funding before the end of the year. He hinted that this next round will be in the “seven-digit range”.

XPay is a part of the first cohort of the Startupbootcamp Fintech Cario accelerator, which graduated in May. Prior to this deal, XPay was able to raise a $35 000 pre-seedround from fintech accelerator and investor EFG EV Fintech.


Odiggo is an ecommerce marketplace for auto spare parts and was founded in 2017 by Ahmed Omar, Wissam Saleh, and Khalid Omar.

Last month tech publication Menabytes reported in an article that the startup had has raised $180 000 in seed funding from Saeed Al Jaberi, a Saudi angel investor. The publication said the funding was raised at a valuation of $1.25-million.

The publication reported that since launched in January last year, Odiggo has processed over 14 000 transactions totalling over $170 000. The startup generates a commission on every order made through its website or app.

Ventureburn writer Daniel Mpala also assisted in writing this piece.

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