Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed investor and the largest manager of startup programs in the region, has announced the launch of a new USD 20 million Seed Fund in Jordan. Created to nurture the growth and development of early-stage companies, the Jordan Seed Fund (JSF) has achieved a first close of USD7.4 million and attracted contributions from prominent investors such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF), Beyond Capital, Bank Al-Etihad, and GMS Ventures & Investments.
Applications for the program’s first four-month cycle are now open. Participating companies will have the opportunity to benefit from a cash seed investment of up to JOD 50 thousand each, together with potential follow-on funding of up to JOD 120 thousand. In addition to attractive funding opportunities, startups will benefit from the Flat6Labs Amman seed program. The program will run over a five-year period and is set to deliver a host of benefits to between 14 and 18 startups every year, including office space, world-class mentorship and access to Flat6Labs’ regional network.
The program is specifically targeted at startups in innovation-based and knowledge-driven sectors such as Information and Communication Technologies, Software Solutions, Education, Healthcare, Digital Content and Games, Hardware, Electronics, Manufacturing Solutions, Renewable Energy, Agricultural Solutions, Big Data and Analytics, FinTech and Payments, Media, and Entertainment. Each of the selected startups will receive tailored support designed to help them scale and grow their businesses, with the long-term goal of creating regional, and ultimately global, champions.
Participating companies will also benefit from opportunities for regional exposure and mentorship through Flat6Labs’ extensive international network, together with coaching from established business leaders. Each startup will be paired with at least three highly experienced mentors. In addition, Flat6Labs Amman will arrange Demo Days, support fundraising and business build-out, and deliver a full spectrum of support designed to help new businesses flourish.
Ramez El-Serafy, Flat6Labs CEO, commented: “We are delighted to expand our presence into Jordan with the launch of an early-stage fund and seed program, which creates exciting opportunities for local startups. As the region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, Flat6Labs is well placed to support the aspirations of the Kingdom’s talented entrepreneurs and help them take their businesses to the next level. We aim to support the growth and development of Jordan’s start-up ecosystem, and thus contribute to a thriving national economy.”
Rasha Manna, General Manager of Flat6Labs Jordan, added: “Jordan is home to a pool of talented entrepreneurs who are ready to showcase their ideas to the world. We provide foundational support to startups through funding, mentorship and networking opportunities across the region and beyond. We are excited to now open applications for our first cycle and look forward to starting work with Jordan’s most promising startups in the very near future to help them effectively scale and grow their business.”
Laith Al-Qasem, CEO at ISSF shared: “ISSF has been mandated to improve the Jordanian entrepreneurial ecosystem through acting as a fund of funds and through facilitating the creation of new funds to serve the investment needs of entrepreneurs and start-ups along their journey towards success. Flat6Labs fills an important gap and role by providing studied equity capital starting from seed stage accompanied by competent hands on incubation and mentoring which will facilitate speedier and more focused growth in the investments they make.”
“Jordan is an attractive market for entrepreneurship and early-stage capital given its young and increasingly urban population, high rates of technology adoption, and increasing government support,” said Abdullah Jefri, IFC’s Country Manager for the Levant “Addressing the funding gaps will help build a robust startup ecosystem to tap into this potential and spur innovation and economic growth in Jordan and the region.”
Launched in 2011, Flat6Labs has grown to become the MENA region’s leading startup accelerator managing seed funds with a total AUM of more than $85 million. The company has run over 40 seed program cycles, funding the creation and seeding of more than 320 companies. Approximately 40% of Flat6Labs’ graduating companies have succeeded in securing follow-on rounds of funding from regional and global institutions and individuals at higher valuations, translating to an unrealized IRR in excess of 25%.
Applications for the Flat6Labs Amman Seed Program are open now. To find out more, please click below.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEN) Report for the year 2020-2021, Egypt’s “Access to entrepreneurial finance” score went slightly down from 4.5 in 2019 to 4.4 in 2020, which can be explained by the tremendous challenges and pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on the economy.
Flat6Labs has doubled down on its efforts to financially develop and support promising startups in Egypt; raising its cash seed offering to up to EGP1,500,000 and follow-on offering to up to EGP3,000,000 – in exchange for a maximum of 10% equity.
The all cash seed advance is meant to help startups cover their early expenses, grow their teams, and implement business development tactics that they learn during the Flat6Labs Seed Program in Cairo. While the follow-on funding is offered to selected startups after the program to help them scale their companies and tap into new markets.
Flat6Labs seed program does not only offer participating companies funding, but also entrepreneurship-focused training and mentorship sessions delivered by top industry experts and pioneers, regional and global networking opportunities, state-of-the-art office space, $300,000 worth of perks from partners such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, the biggest Demo Day, and many other services to equip entrepreneurs with all the resources they need to grow their businesses.
The Cairo seed program is funded by the EGP 207m Flat6Labs Accelerator Company Egypt Fund (FAC), which aims to invest in up to 100 early-stage startups during its 5 years investment period. The notable investors of the FAC fund are the International Finance Corporation, MSME Development Agency, Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, Egypt Ventures, and the latest significant addition to the fund, Sawari Ventures.
Ahmed Rosstom, CEO and Co-Founder of a Flat6Labs portfolio company in Egypt Wuilt, sharing his experience with Flat6Labs Seed Program in Cairo.
Flat6Labs has supported and trained 125 startups over 16 cycles in Egypt to date, and is currently accepting applications for its 17th cycle (Fall 2021 cycle). You can apply to join the upcoming cycle in Cairo here.
Building Capacities for 20 Regional Supporting Structures in Tunisia
Launched by Flat6Labs, Ignite Tunisia is a capacity building program for regional support structures in Tunisia and is a part of the “Innov’i” initiative which is funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France.
Given the fact that 90% of startup support structures are based in the capital Tunis, Ignite Tunisia is a program that aims to boost regional ecosystems by transferring skills and expertise in the implementation of support programs for startups that Flat6Labs has acquired for more than a decade of operation across the MENA region. The program will be implemented during 24 months and will support 20 structures over 3 cohorts.
More than 80 support structures from all over Tunisia have applied to be part of the first cohort of Ignite Tunisia and benefit from a total review to their program and access to the extensive network of experts, mentors and investors from Flat6Labs
“Ignite Tunisia was born after a reflection of more than two years. We were able to identify the challenges encountered by regional support structures, which can range from the implementation of a program appropriate to the needs of entrepreneurs in each region to the economic model of the said structures. Through Ignite Tunisia , we have set ourselves the goal of transferring skills to enable regional structures and startups to have an active and innovative ecosystem” confirms Yehia Houry, Managing Director of Flat6Labs.
Ignite Tunisia ensures to provide the necessary tools to put together a clear strategy in order to build the capacities of 20 structures such as incubators, co-working spaces, non-governmental organizations as well as public structures operating directly with startups. The main goal is to ensure the viability of the structures and to capitalize on the number of startups created in the regions.
The program will also include the gathering of a community composed of multiple structures in order to optimize exchanges and facilitate contacts between the different actors.
Ignite Tunisia also aims to provide specific responses to the needs of innovative support structures, by offering a multitude of training to guarantee their success and sustainability and especially, the creation of a regional strategy.
“By supporting 20 structures in the different cities, Flat6Labs contributes to increased regional integration of the Tunisian ecosystem and creates a better climate and networking opportunities to support entrepreneurs. It is also a great way for disseminating the culture of innovation and for opening up access to new opportunities for project leaders ”adds Clara Guilhem, Innov’i project manager.