October 2019 - Flat6Labs


Flat6Labs Bahrain Portfolio Raises $1M in Total Follow-on Funding

Flat6Labs Bahrain’s portfolio of startup companies has officially raised USD$1m in total follow-on funding through the support of the accelerator’s network and ties with local and regional investors and VCs. Over the course of its operations in Bahrain since March 2018, Flat6Labs Bahrain, in strategic partnership with the Labour Fund “Tamkeen”, has invested in a total number of 21 startups, half of which have now gone on to receive follow-on investments from other VCs, Angel Investors, and High-net worth individuals.

Ryaan Sharif, Managing Director of Flat6Labs said: ‘We are proud to announce that our portfolio companies have raised a collective amount of $1m in follow-on funding over the course of a year and a half. This milestone highlights our hands-on approach with supporting our startups throughout the programme and post-graduation, especially in utilising our expansive network to connect them to other investors and generate new opportunities for them to scale their businesses into neighboring countries.’

The Chief Executive of Tamkeen Dr Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi stressed the importance of the support extended by this program and its worth in effectively and directly addressing the needs of start-ups in Bahrain”.

“This success attests to the unique attributes that distinguish Bahrain’s economic environment and make it such a business-friendly and lucrative place for growth,” he continued.

Flat6Labs Bahrain has begun the Bootcamp for its 4th Cycle, taking place at their offices in central Manama where 17 startups have been selected to participate. A record number of over 380 applications were submitted for the 4th Cycle. The team has scouted some of the most promising international and local businesses to continue to this next round of the selection process from various industries such as Health-Tech, Fintech, E-Commerce, Ed-Tech, F&B, Automotive services, Children’s Entertainment. A world class Startup coach has been flown in from Silicon Valley to provide mentorship for the Startups as they proceed to the selection committee.

The Flat6Labs Bootcamp is a compressed version of the accelerator programme, designed to teach the participating startups about lean startup principles and how to utilise them in their growth and business development. The Bootcamp is the final phase of the selection process, following which 6–8 startups will be selected to receive a $32K investment each, in addition to several other perks such as co-working space, access to Flat6Labs’ expansive network, $15K in AWS credits, mentoring, coaching, legal and financial counsel, company registration and more.

In strategic partnership with Tamkeen, Flat6Labs Bahrain aims to foster a dynamic and sustainable entrepreneurship environment and investment vehicle, support job creation, and help position Bahrain as an innovation leader in the Gulf and MENA region at large.

Flat6Labs Bahrain has utilized its expansive regional network to attract innovative startups from Bahrain, the region and beyond, which aims to boost the local economy, and venture capital industry with a steady pipeline of high-impact and scalable businesses in multiple industries.

Flat6Labs Beirut Graduates 7 Startups During Its Fourth Demo Day

Under the patronage of HE Minister of ICT, Mr. Adel Afiouni, Flat6Labs Beirut, Lebanon’s leading regional startup seed program and early stage fund, hosts its Fourth Demo Day at Music Hall in Beirut. The Demo Day introduced seven new startups from Flat6Labs Beirut’s seed program. This event showcased the graduating startups, acting as a platform for founders to present their products and services to a select audience of potential investors, the media and the greater business community. It also provides the startup founders with business development, networking and scaling opportunities.

The Fourth Flat6Labs Beirut Seed Program cycle, which commenced on June 6th, 2019 welcomed 7 new startups tackling solutions across an array of industries including personalized cosmetics, fleet management, pharmaceutical supply chain, water sanitation, IoT, SaaS for ISPs and on-demand platforms.

All the startups have technology at their core and showcased their product to potential investors, the media and the greater business community. Flat6Labs Beirut supports and invests in promising Lebanese startups with innovative and fresh ideas. Each team goes through several stages before they are selected to become a fully developed startup. Once inducted into the program, each startup has unlimited access to Flat6Labs Beirut’s overarching network of mentors, investors, consultants and experts. They also have the privilege of using the Flat6Labs Beirut office space as their own, where they are surrounded by a network of mentors, consultants, investors, business workshops, training sessions and perks, amongst many others.

The graduation of the fourth batch of startups solidifies the company’s aim to accelerate the growth rate of Lebanese startups and provide a steady pipeline to the rapidly-growing Lebanese venture capital ecosystem.

“In under 24 months, Flat6Labs Beirut has proudly incorporated and invested in 33 new Lebanese SAL companies, supporting them through product validation and going to market, and established a network of highly skilled and passionate founders, mentors and corporates. In fact, in 2018 and during its first 12 months of investment, Flat6Labs Beirut contributed to 50% of the investments in the Lebanese ecosystem” – Hany Al-Sonbaty, Chairman of Flat6Labs.

Omar Christidis, CEO of ArabNet said, “We are thrilled that Flat6Labs Beirut is graduating their fourth cycle of startups and has helped create 33 new companies driving the Lebanese economy forward. We look forward to creating more companies in the coming years.”

Here are the seven graduating startups that showcased their products and services during the fourth Flat6Labs Beirut Demo Day:

  • Clean2O: Clean2O designs products that make water safe for cooking and drinking anytime, anywhere.
  • Fleets.ai: Fleets.ai provides real-time fleet monitoring to optimize fleet performance, maintenance costs, and fuel consumption.
  • IoTree: IoTree is a wireless sensory network of smart traps that are developed using a deep learning algorithm for the early detection of harmful pests and insects in farms.
  • Joona: Joona offers playful and personalized quality skincare products according to dermatological types, conditions and preferences.
  • PharmaKlik: PharmaKlik is a cloud-based omnichannel platform that links pharmacies with suppliers.
  • Presentail: Presentail is a gifting platform for Lebanese expats featuring hand-picked products from nostalgic suppliers, delivered quickly and safely.
  • Zima: Zima is a cost-saving SaaS that enables Internet Service Providers to manage their user bandwidth, billing and subscription– with no need for hardware.

Flat6Labs Beirut will launch its Fifth Cycle in November 2019 and has an open application process, allowing founders to apply at any time to receive feedback and enhance their selection opportunities for the upcoming cycle. Founders can always apply here.

Flat6Labs Tunis Graduates Cycle Four Startups

Flat6Labs Tunis hosted its Fourth Demo Day; introducing eight new startups from its acceleration program. This was an opportunity for 8 innovative startups to present their projects to an audience made up of representatives of investment funds, bankers, Tunisian and foreign entrepreneurs as well as selected experts from the information and communication technologies sector (TIC).

Since its launch in partnership with BIAT, TAEF and Meninx Holding, Flat6Labs Tunis has supported 28 innovative startups as part of its objective to promote a new dynamic of business creation at the service of the growth of the Tunisian ecosystem through innovative solutions and applications.

The program also offers several investment tickets of up to one million TND. It welcomes startups working in various sectors oriented towards innovation and the knowledge economy, including education, energy, transport, fintech, green tech, ICT, electronics and industrial solutions.

Last May Flat6Labs Tunisia started its fourth acceleration cycle by accompanying eight new startups that operate in different industries:

  • Artify: An online streaming platform for Maghreb movies and other multimedia content.
  • Datavision: A platform for “visual analytics” and smart boxes that help store owners measure the experience of their visitors.
  • Farm Trust: e-commerce platform for fresh, organic and traceable agricultural products.
  • Rahba.tn: Marketplace offering a variety of products and services targeting the agricultural sector and farmers.
  • Taderok: Smart school books and an educational platform to help children learn more effectively.
  • Tap4Glam: A mobile application of beauty and cosmetic services on demand.
  • Teskerti: Electronic ticketing and access control platform to support event organizers and their audiences.
  • Trust IT: An online marketplace for computer repair and delivery services.

As a prelude to the Demo Day, a convention signing ceremony was organized in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Flat6Labs Tunisia, Mr. Mehdi Tamarziste, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC / IFC) Tunisia in the person of his Resident Representative, Mr. George Ghorra. The IFC has signed a deal to invest $1m (about 3m Tunisian Dinars) in the Anava Seed Fund managed by Flat6Labs Tunisia.

The program is renewed every six months, to offer new Tunisian entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit from a top-notch support during the different stages of their project.

Flat6Labs Tunis and its partners offer entrepreneurs a mentoring program, a co-working space, and many other advantages and privileges, as a prelude to the financing of startups by investors outside the program. To apply, please click here

IFC Invests in Flat6Labs Tunis to Help Boost Startup Ecosystem in Tunisia

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $1 million into Anava Seed Fund (ASF), an accelerator and early stage fund managed by Flat6Labs Tunisia, to help support tech entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs in particular, as well as to boost Tunisia’s nascent venture capital ecosystem. Half of this amount is provided by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), a partnership among governments, multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders, hosted by the World Bank Group. We-Fi supports women entrepreneurs in developing countries by building their capacity, scaling up access to financial products and services, and providing links with domestic and global markets.

Flat6Labs Tunisia, a partnership between Flat6Labs — the region’s largest acceleration program and early stage investment platform — BIAT, TAEF (Tunisian American Enterprise Fund), Meninx Holding and Le15, is increasing its seed fund size to $10 million to support up close to 100 technology companies, and to help address the lack of early stage capital in Tunisia.

Ramez El-Serafy, CEO at Flat6Labs, said, “We believe that our partnership with IFC will enable us to continue providing entrepreneurs with a better support program and encourage more candidates, especially women, to apply and thrive through it.”

As part of the We-Fi program, IFC will also work with Flat6Labs Tunisia to support women entrepreneurs and help overcome the challenges they face through a gender-led strategy to foster greater inclusion and create more opportunities.

“Early stage funding is vital to building a robust startup ecosystem and to help entrepreneurs establish companies that can develop innovative solutions and create quality jobs,” said Georges Joseph Ghorra, IFC’s Resident Representative in Tunisia. “We aim to address the funding gaps in this space, especially for women entrepreneurs, to continue to spur innovation and economic growth in Tunisia and the region.”

The investment in Flat6Labs Tunisia is part of IFC’s $30 million Startup Catalyst initiative, which backs accelerators and seed funds in emerging markets to catalyze the venture capital ecosystem and spur entrepreneurial activity. It aims to help bridge issues of insufficient seed capital and business know-how and drive innovation by supporting the crucial early stage of local VC ecosystems. The Flat6Labs Tunisia investment follows two other investments through the Startup Catalyst program in the MENA region — Flat6Labs Cairo, Flat6Labs’ flagship accelerator program based in Cairo, and Ibtikar Capital, an early stage fund in Palestine.

35+ Corporates and Investors Meet Flat6Labs Beirut’s Startups

On Friday, September 20th, 2019, Flat6Labs Beirut held its first Business Networking Event at Beirut Digital District 1280. The purpose of this event was to allow international and local corporations to meet Flat6Labs Beirut’s both current and alumni startups on one-on-one speed-dates in order to discuss potential collaborative partnerships and/or investments.

20 of our startups had the chance to meet with 39 companies from various industries; ranging from banks, telecom, e-commerce, NGOs and a lot more. In addition, the Ministry of Environment sent a representative as well to encourage the startups and develop stronger bonds with the innovative founders.

The event was split into three sessions of 90 minutes each, where each corporate had an assigned table, and the startups would meet with a new corporate every 15 minutes in a speed-dating format.

Fawzi Rahal, Flat6Labs Beirut’s Managing Director, introduced the 3 sessions with a brief presentation about Flat6Labs; which gave a more in-depth understanding to the corporates about its operations, regional offices, funds and activities.

An intriguing aspect of the nature of the event was when the startups were compelled to ponder about creative ways in which they could target their products and services to cater to companies they haven’t contemplated of collaborating with previously. During the event, things took an interesting turn and went beyond only forming partnerships when corporates shared business tips with the founders on a more personal level. For instance, the founder of the direct to consumer startup in the personalized cosmetics industry, Mounira Al Halabi, CEO of Joona, received tips on how to handle customer service and how to be an affirmative leader.

Flat6Labs team had received a lot of positive feedback from the founders; such as Naim Zard, CEO of Zima stating “I had such a fruitful experience. Various opportunities had opened up to me; for example, The Smallville Hotel wants to pilot our product in the future. Also, I got to meet a potential investor from BlomInvest.”

Mohamad Fakhreddine, CEO of Clean2O, was delighted he had the chance to speak and share Clean2O’s proposed solutions in improving water quality in Beirut with Richard Hanna, the representative of the Minister of Environment; it would have been difficult to be acquainted with him otherwise.

The corporates were very positive about the event as well, “The even was very organized, I really enjoyed it! There are a few companies I would like to meet again. I loved the ambience” said Maya Ziadeh, Investment Officer at Merit corporation — CMA CGM. Yusr Sabra, Managing Partner at Wakilni, and Johnny Abi Allam, Digital Marketing Manager at HiCart, agreed that they “found the matching better than expected, and the whole process was seamless and enjoyable; which led them to affirm that they would participate again and recommend their acquaintances to participate next time as well”.

Fady Azzy, Head of Retail Business Development at BLOM Bank also shared Yusr’s sentiment and stated that “Mostly, all aspects of the event were great and exceeded my expectations; hopefully, I will be able to participate next time.”

Business cards were exchanged, and the corporates were amped to know that they are invited to Flat6Labs Beirut’s Fourth Demo Day on October 10th to see our startups pitching their startups onstage, and learn more about any developments they’ve made since their meeting at the event.

You can apply for Flat6Labs Beirut’s upcoming cycle here!