May 2020 - Flat6Labs


StartSmart 6th Webinar Recap: Seed-stage Startups: A Global View

In our sixth Flat6Labs StartSmart Webinar, Patrick Riley, CEO of the Global Accelerators Network (GAN) shared his global insights on seed stage startups during and post COVID-19. Interviewed by Flat6Labs Beirut Managing Director, Fawzi Rahal, Patrick talked about the challenges and opportunities for startups to access the human and financial capital they need to solve problems and create impact during these challenging times.

“Acceleration doesn’t have to be in person.”

COVID-19 pandemic has proved that virtual acceleration is more than just possible. A testament to that is the number of accelerators in GAN, who have shifted virtualised their models. “The functions of an accelerator haven’t changed, but the mechanisms did change,” Patrick said.”

“Investors have the money.”

You need to prove to investors why your company is safe, stable, and most importantly, taking off during this season. Most investors nowadays think of whether they should wait for the storm to pass, or if they should doubledown on investments they have already made. In order for you as a startup to get their funds, you need to show growth, ability to scale, and high adaptability to COVID-19.

“Ask your customers/clients what they are doing, not what they need.”

Lots of businesses of varying sizes have changed their business models overnight to cope with pandemic, and all of them are dealing with new challenges. If you can ask them what they are doing, know the services they are offering, you can most definitely know & assume their challenges/problems, and develop/adapt your offerings to help them. Patrick added, “Your solution must always be relevant.” You can research different segments and find your “sweet spot,” and start developing a prototype or even launch a startup that is revolutionary, but no one wants because it is not relevant. When you start a research to create a product/service, think of how long it can stay relevant to people and businesses.

“5-year-old companies are the ones who will be creating jobs.”

With many companies laying off people due the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the past months across the globe, but startups, as always, can flatten the curve. Patrick said that according to their surveys and research that companies that are 5-year-old or less are capable of creating new jobs much more than 6+ year-old startups.

“You are not your business.”

The most successful entrepreneurs and founders didn’t make it from the get-go, some had to struggle a bit to finally create that one innovative solution that is bound to change the world. Failing at one venture, two, or three doesn’t make you a failure. Learning when to quit, pivot, or try something entirely new is what shows your strength and resolve.

“There is something about real life interaction that virtualness cannot replicate.”

Partick has elaborated that now might not be the best of times to find a co-founder for your startup, and that you need to do it in real life because you get to know that person in front of you when you do that.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Tell your team where you are going today, and be flexible enough to adapt & change your plans next week if necessary, but know that in the end you will get “there.”

Read Patrick’s recommended blogpost entitled “The One Chart That Gets Me Up In The Morning.”

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on June 2nd, 2020, Co-hosted by Ramez El-Serafy, CEO of Flat6Labs, and Khaled Talhouni, Managing Director of Nuwa Capital. For more information and to register, click here.

Flat6Labs Tunis Hosts Its Fifth Demo Day & Graduates 8 Startups Digitally

Flat6Labs Tunis has proudly celebrated it’s fifth Demo Day on Wednesday May 13th at 2 PM Tunis time / 1 GMT online, with 8 innovative startups presenting their businesses to hundreds of registered attendees.

The fifth cycle includes startups operating across a range of industries including Industry 4.0, Automotive, Marketplaces, Robotics, Education, FinTech and Tourism. All startups have technology at their core and ready to showcase their products to potential investors, media and the larger business community.

You can view and connect with the startups here:

The accelerator has strategically worked to expand its network by constantly promoting new partnerships with stakeholders in the public and private sectors. Its main partners are Meninx Holding, the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund (TAEF), BIAT Bank, as well as the International Financial Corporation (IFC) who joined the fund last year. The recent partnership with IFC includes an investment of $1M in the Anava Seed Fund managed by Flat6Labs Tunis to encourage women and youth initiatives, in addition to technical support to the accelerator.

During the past 3 years of operations, the startup accelerator and investment fund has reached many important milestones that include supporting its portfolio by securing follow-on funding, creating jobs, increasing awareness about entrepreneurship and supporting startups across the local ecosystem in Tunisia.

Flat6Labs Tunis has received more than 1,500 applications, but only 36 Tunisian Startups were chosen for our five cycles and they were the ones who graduated from the program with an initial investment of 200,000 TND, in addition to technical perks, rigorous training, coaching, access to an extended network of investors that enhanced their business development and their products and services.

Moreover, the accelerator played a major role in inspiring young people towards entrepreneurship by engaging with the community and partnering with local universities and professional organizations with a major focus on entrepreneurship such as Open Startup Tunisia and Enactus, as well as corporates like E&Y and Meubles Intérieurs.

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Flat6labs Tunis also organized large events such as Startup Open Doors which gathered more than 100 startups across the country during the Global entrepreneurship Week. Flat6Labs also hosted a Job Fair in collaboration with the Facebook Developers Circle where 35 startups offered more than 100 jobs to 500 participants. And last year, Flat6Labs Tunis launched the Investor Academy, an initiative focused on creating awareness about investment in innovation and startups specifically focusing on Business Angels.

Subscribe to the event:

StartSmart 5th Webinar Recap: COVID-19: Opportunities and Lessons Learned

In our fifth Flat6Labs StartSmart Webinar, Roxanne Varza, Director of Station F exposed what the COVID-19 pandemic offered and still has to offer to startups in general, no matter where they are: MENA, Europe or US. This crisis is changing the landscape of the startup and tech ecosystem, and Roxanne & Faten Aissi Flat6Labs Tunis Marketing & Outreach Manager discussed the lessons learned and how innovation tackled some of the most severe aspects of the quarantine in Health, entertainment, WFH and education.

Take advantage of talents that have been laid off around the world

Due to the current economic crisis, many startups and corporates are laying off people to maximise the business’ chance of surviving the economic recession. So they are laying off people, this is where if you as someone just starting out or your business is growing rapidly can utilise this chance to hire remote employees. This is an opportunity for you because you can get a magnitude of experienced people, who can help your business grow and scale, remotely.

Customer service is essential the more you grow

Understanding that your small team will not be capable of always answering questions, receiving complaints, or following up with magnitude of people is important to knowing when to outsource your customer service or build a team dedicated to just that.

Companies needn’t be ashamed of downsizing, but someone needs to take responsibility

During the pandemic, many companies went the route of laying off people, but taking responsibility for your business operations, means that you care for business, your clients, and your staff. People can grasp the reality they are in, but they need to be assured that they were worth every resource the company has put into hiring, training, and employing them. It is more than just a nice gesture or politics, it is honest and responsible.

If we want to see long term, positive change, we actually need to commit ourselves to positive change

While the pandemic has held most of us hostage in our homes, it has provided an opportunity for the environment to get better. If we want it to keep getting better, we need to find solutions to do that, while still living our normal lives. COVID-19, on the good side of things, has provided us with a lot of opportunities that need to be explored by our aspiring entrepreneurs.

Always be dedicated & focused

If you start something, finish it. Don’t get sidetracked, Work until your vision has become your reality, but until then, keep your focus on one project at, one startup at a time.

Make sure to join our upcoming Webinar on May 19th, 2020 with Patrick Riley, CEO of Global Accelerator Network along with Fawzi Rahal, Managing Director of Flat6Labs Beirut. For more information and to register, click here.

Flat6Labs Bahrain Hosts A Digital Demo Day & Graduates Cycle Four Startups

Flat6Labs Bahrain held its fourth Demo Day, also its first Digital Demo Day for its 4th Cycle on the 6th of May, 2020, where 7 innovative startups presented their businesses virtually to hundreds of registered online attendees.

The 4th Cycle included startups addressing problems with unique solutions across an array of industries including Telehealth, Education & Student Services, F&B, Lifestyle Applications, Fashion Tech, Exergaming, and Fitness Applications. All of the startups have technology at their core and are ready to showcase their product to potential investors, the media and the greater business community. Registration for the digital event can be made at:

The graduation of the latest batch means that Flat6Labs Bahrain has successfully completed four Cycles since its launch in March 2018. Within its 2 years of operations, the accelerator has reached several milestones which include job creation, supporting startups & the local ecosystem, raising awareness on entrepreneurship in the country, engaging with youth and women through community engagement activities, supporting its portfolio with securing follow-on funding and more.

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Out of 1,100+ applications that were received by Flat6Labs Bahrain, a total of 28 companies both Bahraini and international have graduated from the programme with a USD $32K seed investment, as well as rigorous training, coaching and mentoring that have enhanced their business development and product/services offered. Several of these have gone on to receive much traction and become renowned names in the Kingdom’s startup ecosystem such as Inagrab, Telp, Sinc, Majra, Tamarran, Akalati and Springring. Through its expansive network of VCs in the region which include Faith Capital, 500 Startups and Arzan VC; the accelerator has successfully supported several of its portfolio companies in raising a collective sum of USD $1.6 Million in follow-on funding; over a 2x multiplier of the initial invested amount.

Flat6Labs Bahrain has also contributed to economic growth in the country through not only investing in innovative & youth led businesses, but in job creation as well. Together with its 28 companies, 100+ full-time jobs and 70+ internships have been created. Furthermore the accelerator has played a key role in inspiring youth towards entrepreneurship through its community outreach by partnering with all the local universities and professional institutes and conducting workshops to educate the public on how to approach launching a startup , offering its space for free for ecosystem events, participating in key ecosystem activities, mentoring through programmes such as Injaz, Mashroo3i and Intelaaq, speaking at panel discussions related to startups, youth and women, sponsoring prizes in startup competitions by offering a seat in the Cycle Bootcamps, and organising its own community events such as its Women in Startup panel during GEW 2019.

The accelerator has worked strategically to expand its network by consistently fostering new partnerships with public and private sector stakeholders. Its two main partners are Tamkeen and EDB, however Flat6Labs Bahrain has also forged over 40 partnerships which include Zain Bahrain, its official Telecom Partner, AWS, Microsoft, GAN, Bahrain Fintech Bay, Tenmou, Charles Russell Speechlys, BIBF, Ahlia University, University of Bahrain, Royal University for Women, Arabian Gulf University, and many more.

Pakiza Abdulrahman, Head of Startups at the Bahrain EDB, said: “Flat6Labs Bahrain is a key contributor to the Kingdom’s fast-growing startups ecosystem. It achieves tangible results for its portfolio companies — whether they be innovative homegrown, Bahraini startups or international entrepreneurs seeking a regional base to grow and scale their ideas and businesses. These local and international startups are the backbone of our ecosystem. I look forward to congratulating many more Flat6Labs Bahrain graduates in the years to come.”

Check out the Demo Day and our startups here.