News Archives - Flat6Labs


How to Integrate AI Within your Startup: The Role of AI in Startup Growth

In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship, one question resonates loudly: Where does Artificial Intelligence (AI) belong within the heartbeat of a startup? Integrating AI within a startup’s framework holds immense potential for founders, offering opportunities to automate tasks, gain valuable insights through data analysis, and enhance engagement with customers and employees.

With labor shortages, high costs, and a fast-paced ecosystem, startups are encouraged to integrate AI to remain competitive and agile in today’s dynamic business environment.

Where could founders apply AI technologies within their startups?

Broadly speaking, AI can support three important business needs: automating business processes, generating new creations, and gaining insight through data analysis.

Automation of tasks

Every role has at least a few repetitive and manual tasks, such as checking emails, inputting data, and generating reports, that take away time from more impactful work. A McKinsey survey found that automation reduced costs by 10-15% and cut order processing time from 2-3 days to 1-2 hours.

In addition to that, a survey of 7,700 sales professionals from Salesforce found that sales representatives spend an average of less than 30% of their week on actual selling. Rather, much of their time is spent on manual tasks such as data entry and sharing updates on their deals in the pipeline. AI tools can help automate time-consuming tasks so sales representatives, as well as other employees, can free up time for more productive work while reducing the risk of human error.

“Our near-future plans in Flat6Labs include automating 80% of the filtration process for applications to our programs as our programs’ team receives thousands of applications,” says Shady Atef, Product & Tech Director at Flat6Labs. “It would be more efficient to focus most of their efforts on reviewing applications of higher quality and interviewing more serious applicants, rather than the process itself so that promising startups get the opportunity they deserve. This, however, still requires human supervision and upper hand in all cases, yet it would save a lot of time and effort for both our team and the startups who applied.”

Generating Content

At the heart of Generative AI lie massive databases of texts, images, code, and other data types. This data is fed into generational models that could use this data to create images, videos, 3D models, music, or text.

There are 2 types of Generative AI tools that benefit startups’ growth:

  • Ready-to-launch tools: 

Platforms like ChatGPT,, and Google Gemini come pre-trained on vast datasets, allowing users to tap into their generative capabilities without building and training models from scratch. Startups can fine-tune these models with specific data, nudging them towards outputs tailored to particular business needs. However, these public options offer limited control, less customization of model behavior and outputs, and the potential for bias inherited from the pre-trained models.


  • Custom-trained models: 

Most organizations can’t produce or support AI without a strong partnership. Innovators who want custom AI can pick a “foundation model” like OpenAI’s GPT-3 or BERT and feed it their data. This personalized training sculpts the model into bespoke generative AI perfectly aligned with their business goals. 


One of our portfolio companies in Egypt, Katteb, provides generative AI services in multiple languages where SMEs and copywriters can get instant articles and social media content that is fact-checked and ready to go live.


Analysis and Insights and Predictions

Ibrahim Ashqar, founder of Lumi AI, our portfolio company in UAE, mentions how AI tools provide insights and predictions to decision-makers in a way that has never been available before.

“Lumi AI democratizes the access to insights to people who aren’t technical,” says Ibrahim. “When an employee in any department doesn’t know how to code or manipulate data, they could use Lumi AI to ask the question in plain language and get insightful answers to help them in product designing, marketing, or any other field.”

This has been shown clearly with one of Lumi AI’s clients, a huge textile manufacturer who produces jeans and denim, and used to buy a lot of raw materials from a lot of different suppliers. When Lumi AI was connected to their database, within seconds the executive team found out that there are suppliers who are charging more for the same raw material compared to other suppliers. They were able to save around $600,000 based on these rapid and precise analytics.

Similarly, founders find MilkStraw extremely helpful. MilkStraw AI, our portfolio company in UAE, uses an AI model that integrates with a company’s infrastructure and comes up with recommendations to save them up to 75% on Cloud bills.

In addition, Digital First AI, our portfolio company in UAE, uses AI models to recommend the best marketing tactics for companies and SMEs based on their answers to a few questions about their business. It also provides access to a library of tactics where founders are able to view the strategies of popular brands and experienced marketers that the AI models were trained on.


How to find AI-skilled talents for your startup 

As a startup founder, integrating AI into the company’s daily operations means hiring the right talent in each role. The right talent will use AI tools in their department to have the work done rapidly and efficiently. So, how could you know that your hire would utilize AI to the startup’s benefit?

“The most needed skills to look for in any hire are adaptability and resilience,” says Nour Mohieddine, our Talent Acquisition Manager at Flat6Labs. “In 2024, founders shouldn’t necessarily find employees with experience in utilizing AI tools, but rather look for ones who are willing to learn new ways to work and are flexible with new technologies. This way you guarantee that even the new technologies that are yet to emerge in the future will be embraced with open minds.”

Founders should use behavioral assessments to assess skills related to learning AI. These skills include:

  • Resilience and adaptability
  • Seeking lifelong learning
  • Having a growth mindset, not a fixed one. 
  • The ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment 
  • Problem-solving
  • Having a positive attitude ( to embrace the change)


Providing AI training within your startup

A recent study by the World Economic Forum shows that the cost of hiring a new worker can be as much as seven times that of upskilling an existing employee. 

Founders who invest in AI training for themselves and their employees will have the opportunity to pioneer in their industry. An international survey by Boston Consulting Group found that while 86% of workers believed they would need training in AI, only 14% of front-line employees reported receiving any upskilling training. This gap presents an opportunity for startups looking to upscale.

If you are looking for intensive training, check the courses provided by eFlow, our portfolio company in Jordan. eFlow is a great learning platform for employees for different reasons:

  • eFlow courses include Artificial Intelligence, Web 3.0, NFTs, digital literacy, and more.
  • eFlow is an AI-powered platform, therefore, its expertise in AI is hands-on.
  • eFlow offers 10-15 minute micro-courses in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish.
  • Employees and learners could reach the educational content through Whatsapp, Telegram, Microsoft Teams, or Slack.

While going through the learning and development process for AI in your startup, consider the following topic to tackle:

  • Integrating AI into existing processes
  • Troubleshooting common AI issues/bugs
  • Understanding of the concept of machine learning
  • Familiarity and confidence with AI tools
  • Crafting an effective ChatGPT prompt
  • How to find guidance on AI
  • Ethical considerations relating to AI
  • The link between data, algorithms, and modeling
  • Critical analysis of AI-generated responses
  • Understanding the limitations of AI
  • Selecting the right AI tool


Is your startup developing AI solutions?

AI is not a replacement for human talent. It only takes away the mundane tasks so humans could focus more on their growth.

As Shady Atef, our Product & Tech Director, mentioned; “Before the invention of washing machines, humans used to carry out laborious tasks just to get their clothes washed. The challenge of not having clean clothes was the main focus. Now that we have washing machines, humans could focus, not on the cleanliness of clothes, but on making them smell like roses and having them instantly steamed and ironed.”

If the founders and employees of a startup have more time to focus on new ways for the startup’s growth rather than on keeping it functional with the automatic and less creative tasks, one could only imagine which skies they would reach.

If your startup is developing tech solutions to modern challenges, check the open applications to Flat6Labs Programs in the MENA region, aiming to accelerate the growth and scalability of the startups that join. We curate our programs to suit the needs of the ever-evolving and innovative entrepreneurs who need our support to get what they need.


Note: Parts of this article were written with the help of AI tools to enhance efficiency and reflect the advancements in technology’s role in content creation.

Why Invest in Women in Tech? 7 Reasons Investors and VCs Shouldn’t Miss

It is not only about fighting gender discrimination.

When investors and VCs are confronted with the need to invest in women in tech, some may express their objectivity in their investment decisions, while others may interpret the call as addressing gender discrimination within the tech investment landscape.

The truth is, investing in women in tech is not only a call for inclusion. It is also an opportunity for investors and VCs that can lead to stronger portfolios.

Flat6Labs recognizes this opportunity and is committed to advancing gender inclusion through its investments. With nearly 80% of funding deals in 2023 directed to women-led tech startups, Flat6Labs shares reasons why VCs should back more women in tech.

Reasons Why Investors and VCs Should Invest in Women in Tech

1. Women-led startups generate more ROI

A study by BCG and MassChallenge found that women-led companies yield better returns on investment (ROI), generating 35% higher ROI than men-led companies. This is just one study out of dozens of other studies that reached the same conclusion; women founders outperformed their male peers.

2. Women-led companies are underfunded

Despite the evidence that women-led startups outperform, women-led startups raised only 2.8% of all venture capital funding, according to Carta’s annual equity report of 2023.

priced equity funding by founding-team gender 2020-2023 adds reason to invest in women in tech

Meanwhile, according to Startup Genome, 15% of tech startup founders are women, while about a third have at least one woman founder worldwide. 

The gap is clearly shown as women represent a meaningful share of founders while having their startups underfunded nevertheless, presenting an opportunity for investors to take the lead and reduce the gap.

3. The stereotype against women in tech was based on a faulty study

In 1966, System Development Corporation (SDC), a computer software company based in Santa Monica, California, hired two psychologists, William M. Cannon and Dallas K. Perry, to develop a personality profile for programmers. The goal was to assist SDC’s recruiting process and enable the company to predict the best candidates. 

According to Emma Jones, CEO of Project F, Cannon and Perry interviewed a predominantly male sample of engineers to develop this profile. Of the 1,400 engineers they interviewed, 1,200 (86%) were men. As a result, the profile they developed disproportionately identified men as ideal candidates for programming jobs and penalized extroverts and people who have empathy for others, traits that women were more likely to carry compared to men.

This faulty study has had a heavy influence on the industry, impacting how companies have viewed ‘ideal’ programmers and their recruitment practices for decades. Even today, we hear statements such as “women are not good with computers” or “STEM is for geeks”, which are misguided and reinforce biases that limit diversity and inclusion in the field.

4. Women founders are more likely to generate jobs for women

As Maya Oda Pacha, Investment Associate at Flat6Labs, mentioned, “Women founders tend to have more women employees hired at their startups, which contributes to reducing the gender inequality in employment.” 

Flat6Labs investment data supports this observation. When we analyzed new jobs created by our portfolio companies between 2011 and 2023, we found that, among women-founded companies, 54% of new jobs went to women. This compares to 32% of new jobs going to women among the remainder of the portfolio.

5. Bias can prevent us from backing investable women-led companies

In an experimental study by Alison Brooks and others that tests whether investors made decisions based on gender and attractiveness, investors were shown pitches with typical content and were asked to rate the probability of success for the pitches. Findings show that investors were more likely to to invest in attractive men (average score 5.21), followed by unattractive men (4.59), then unattractive women (4.35), and lastly attractive women (4.14).

The effect of entrepreneur gender and physical attractiveness on ratings of investment liklihood - From article "why invest in women in tech"

To the extent that women entrepreneurs are disadvantaged in entrepreneurial pitching simply by virtue of their gender, then women may remain underrepresented in the entrepreneurial economy, despite their entrepreneurial abilities, because of internal bias.

As mentioned by Kristen Lee in Psychology Today, there is no such thing as an unbiased person. Although all humans have some sort of bias, investors and VCs ought to fight bias and prejudice as much as possible in order to reach wise decisions, because, despite the investors’ preferences for males in the experiment, women founders were factually the ones most likely to succeed  in the previously-mentioned study by Alison Brooks and others.

6. Women entrepreneurs are likely to understand their customers

Even in tech industries that target women solely, women founders still receive less funding. In the Femtech industry that focuses on finding solutions for women’s health, male-founded startups raise much more capital than their female peers, with an average of $9.2m, compared to only $4.6m by women-founded Femtechs between 2018 and 2022.

So, with 70% of the Femtech startups founded by women and this significant lack of investment for them, there is more demand for investment than there is supply. This resembles the vast opportunity for investors to tap into an underserved market, yielding substantial returns and driving positive societal impact.

7. Those who are not enabled will never have the chance

A report shared in 2023 provided some shocking statistics, key findings included:

  • 56% of women in tech are leaving their employers mid-career.
  • Women leave the tech industry at a 45% higher rate than men.
  • Only 24% of computing jobs are held by women.

With these numbers, one might consider that women are naturally not interested in/not suited for the tech industry. However, the same research showed that:

  • In the tech industry, men are offered higher salaries than women for the same position 60% of the time.
  • In 2016, women-led tech companies received $1.46 billion in investments from venture capitalists, while male-led companies received $58.2 billion.
  • Computer code written by women was accepted 78.6% of the time on GitHub – 4% more than code written by men – when the coder’s gender was kept secret. However, when contributors are identifiable as male or female, men’s code is accepted at a higher rate.

Therefore, the reason why women are underrepresented in the tech industry is not due to their lack of experience but rather due to having fewer opportunities and not being equally enabled.

Opportunities For Women in Tech in The MENA Region

When asked about the opportunities for women in tech, Doaa Aref, Founder and CEO of our Egypt portfolio company Chefaa, explained, “Theoretically, opportunities in tech for women should be the same as for men.” She added, however, that women usually seek opportunities where gender-based rejection is less likely, “..This is an assumption they (women) may have due to societal pressure. This should be the core problem to solve.”

Consequently, moving towards minimizing the gender gap for founders in the MENA region, some programs are fully dedicated to supporting women-led startups, such as:

  • Women’s Health Accelerator: The Women’s Health Accelerator Program, launched by Flat6Labs and Organon, aims to support mostly women-led startups that focus on enhancing women’s health and wellness across the MENAT region.
  • She WINS: Flat6Labs partner, IFC, launched She WINS Arabia, a program that aims to help women-led startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) get the advice, mentorship, and finance they need to grow. 

Read more about global opportunities for women in tech on TechGuide.

Final Call to Invest in Women in Tech

Flat6Labs’ decade of experience shows how pivotal it is to invest in gender equality by investing in women founders and employees as well; having 51% of women employees and 50% of women at the leadership level at Fla6Labs has contributed to the company’s overall success.

“From that standpoint,” added Maya, “The world needs more women partners at the fund levels who could support female entrepreneurs and consequently support women employment because people tend to invest in people they identify with.”

Investing in women in tech is not just a matter of diversity and inclusion; it’s a strategic decision with benefits that investors and VCs shouldn’t overlook. 

As evidenced by numerous studies and real-world examples, women-led startups outperform their male counterparts in terms of ROI and commitment to gender equality. However, despite these compelling reasons, women founders continue to face systemic biases and unequal opportunities.

We need to enable both men and women to reach their full entrepreneurial potential. Founders are not born, they are created, and general stereotypes and biases against women in tech have hindered the creation of talented leaders.

For more information regarding current opportunities for women in tech in Flat6Labs, visit: 

Organon and Flat6Labs Announce Second Cycle of Women’s Health Accelerator Program, Expanding Focus to Address Key Women’s Health Challenges Across MENAT

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Empowering Female-Led Innovation in Healthcare

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 29 February 2024: Organon, a global healthcare company dedicated to improving women’s health, in partnership with Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, is thrilled to announce the launch of the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program. Building on the success of the inaugural cycle and the incredible momentum witnessed across the region, this initiative aims to empower digital health startups with solutions to enhance women’s health across the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (MENAT) region.

The second cycle will hone in on three main focus sectors critical to women’s health:
Family Planning: Technologies Enhancing Contraception Counseling and Education and Awareness of Tools and Options.
Fertility Planning: Solutions for IVF Mental Health Support and Counseling.
Women’s Wellness: Innovations in Self & Maternal Care, Disease Prevention, and Menstrual Health.

The overarching objective of this accelerator program is to address specific challenges faced by women in the region concerning their health, aiming to find sustainable and long-term solutions. The focus will be on identifying and supporting digital solutions that can help improve accessibility, empower individuals, and enhance overall quality of well-being, ultimately advancing women’s healthcare in the areas identified. This year’s program will target startups operating in several countries, including Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, KSA, and the UAE. The majority of these countries have established Organon & Flat6Labs offices, with both entities having local partners in these geographies.

The initiative aims to accelerate the growth of 15 startups, and engage with various stakeholders, ultimately graduating startups that are ready to launch and address current challenges in women’s health. Additionally, the program will include virtual and on-ground community events such as info sessions, roadshows, pitchathons, and webinars to strengthen outreach, scouting, and selection efforts.

The second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program introduces enhanced program offerings. These offerings include:
In-Depth Training: Startups will receive specialized training in business and technical aspects, equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success.
Mentorship and Guidance: Participants will benefit from mentorship provided by industry experts, connecting them to a vast network of local and international mentors, investors, and corporates.
Exposure to Stakeholders: Startups will have unique opportunities for exposure to key stakeholders, enhancing their visibility and creating valuable connections within the industry.
Regional Business Support: Access to a regional network across the region and support with market expansion.

Commenting on the program’s second cycle, Ramy Koussa, Associate Vice President, Organon, Middle East North Africa & Turkey (MENAT), stated, “Investing in women’s health shows positive return on investment (ROI): for every $1 invested, ~$3 is projected in economic growth. Investing in improving women’s health not only improves women’s quality of life but also enables them to participate more actively in the workforce and make a living. The potential value created through women’s higher economic participation and productivity exceeds the costs of implementation by a ratio of $3 to $1 globally. Launching the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to advancing women’s health in the MENAT region. We are excited to deepen our partnership with Flat6Labs and continue listening to the needs of women, identifying innovative solutions that foster a better and healthier every day for her. This cycle is a testament to our sustained dedication to collaboration, innovation, and the empowerment of women-led startups in the digital healthcare space.”

Yehia Houry, Chief Programs Officer at Flat6Labs, emphasized the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs and advancing women’s healthcare, stating, “As we embark on the second cycle of the Women’s Health Accelerator Program, we are thrilled to amplify our support for female entrepreneurs shaping the future of women’s healthcare. This initiative is not just about innovation; it’s about empowering visionary minds to create lasting impact. Our ongoing partnership with Organon and the evolving focus of this cycle reaffirm our commitment to fostering a dynamic ecosystem for women-led startups. Together, we aim to revolutionize the healthcare landscape, ensuring it reflects the diverse and nuanced needs of women across the MENAT region.”

In the accelerator program’s first cycle, we witnessed the remarkable achievements of three standout startups that were announced as the winners: “OMGYNO” founded by Doreen Toutikian and Elisabeth Milini in Greece and Lebanon, “Siira” founded by Sandra Salame in Lebanon, and “Maternally” founded by Yasmin El Mouallem in the UAE. These visionary companies have not only demonstrated innovation and excellence but have also become integral parts of our ecosystem. As we embark on the second cycle, we are thrilled to welcome these winners back into the fold. Their invaluable insights, experiences, and successes will serve as guiding lights for the new cohort of startups, enriching the program with their expertise and contributing to its continued success.

For more information about the Women’s Health Accelerator Program’s second cycle and the application process, please visit our website here. The applications close on May 16, 2024.

What’s the hidden potential in Saudi Arabia? Key Learnings from a decade of early stage investing

In 2013, Flat6Labs made its first regional presence in Saudi Arabia, with the goal of supporting Saudi entrepreneurs to successfully launch their businesses and reach regional and global markets.

Today, as per MAGNiTT’s KSA VC report, Flat6Labs is deemed the most active investor in KSA startups in 2023. In that year, Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund (SSF) reached the highest number of pre-seed and seed transactions in one year in recorded KSA history through the Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program, with almost 1,000 startup applications, and 20 startups invested in from a variety of industries including SaaS, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, PropTech, Legal Tech, Social Commerce, and Robotics.

This brings us to the question, what are the hidden opportunities in the Saudi market? How could an investor/VC implement a diversified and structured investment process in the region?


Why do we think Saudi Arabia possesses hidden opportunities?

1- The hidden potential is not correlated with the conventional KSA economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the Saudi economy is undergoing a transformation as reforms are being implemented to reduce dependence on oil, diversify sources of income, and enhance competitiveness. Progress has been most notably reflected in non-oil growth, which has accelerated since 2021, averaging 4.8% in 2022.

Today, FinTech ranked first among industries in the Kingdom as the top industry of choice for investors for deals and capital deployed, contributing to 51% of the country’s capital deployed, followed by e-commerce/retail, enterprise software, EdTech, and healthcare.

The growth of these industries shows global and regional investors that Saudi Arabia has surpassed the tradition related to its conventional economy and is now headed towards a preference for entrepreneurship and tech industries.

2- Early-Stage Startups Are an Underserved Opportunity

While Series C funding saw a notable increase in Saudi Arabia during 2023, pre-seed and seed stages remain more or less flat and appear less observed  compared to later stages. This gap in early-stage funding points to an opportunity for institutional investors to be active and take advantage of favorable market dynamics.

3- The Saudi Market Attracts Innovative Entrepreneurs

With a population of over 35 million, Saudi  Arabia possesses a large and dynamic consumer market that is exceptionally ideal for tech startups to expand in for the following reasons:

  • Saudi Arabia ranks 2nd among countries in internet inclusivity.
  • Saudi Arabia has become the biggest user of YouTube per capita in the world, and has the 6th highest active social media penetration in the world, with 99% of the population active on social media.
  • Saudi Arabia is proven to have one of the highest and fastest-growing credit card penetration rates in the MENA region.

Besides the attractive consumer market, over 15 million young people will enter the workforce in the region within the next 10 years. Saudi Arabia, with its rapidly growing and youthful population, will represent a large portion of these direly needed jobs, as it attracts immigrants from all around the region.

4- Structural Reforms of The Kingdom

Saudi Vision 2030 builds on the unique position of the Kingdom at the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, being an investment powerhouse, and the hub connecting three continents.

One of Saudi Vision 2030’s goals is to raise the share of non-oil exports in non-oil GDP to 50% and increase non-oil government revenue to SAR 1 Trillion.

As per that vision, digital transformation has and will continue to have a  momentous positive impact on the Saudi economy,  particularly with the diversification of the economy away from its reliance on the oil industry.

In addition, the Saudi government seeks to raise its ranking in the Government Effectiveness Index to 20 worldwide by increasing the effectiveness of its e-government systems, as well as raising its rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rank to one of the top 15  economies.

5- Future Prospects

The startup market in Saudi Arabia is growing with a clear government-backed mandate and strategic plans. These plans included boosting the development of the SME sector by the formation of the Council of Economic Affairs and  Development, the SME Bank, the announcement of free zones, and notable updates to the companies’ laws. Lately, SMEs in Saudi Arabia have represented almost 93% of total enterprises but account for about 60% of total employment.

Also, as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is aiming to become one of the top 20 countries in ease of doing business.

6- The Untapped Potential for Investors and VCs

Despite the potential in the KSA startup ecosystem, the LP (Limited Partner) base and local funding sources still lag behind international counterparts. 

This gap provides opportunities for investors and VCs to tap into the ecosystem early and potentially outperform traditional asset classes. By strategically investing in viable startups, investors can potentially capture significant returns and reap the benefits of early involvement in a thriving ecosystem.



Lessons learned from a decade of early-stage investing

First: Early-stage VC is key to a truly diversified portfolio

Integrating various asset classes is pivotal for constructing a truly diversified portfolio for investors and VCs. Adding relatively small positions in alternative investments provides investors with enhanced returns for the same level of risk. Therefore, funds and other pooled investment vehicles provide an efficient tool to access a large number of investment positions within an asset class.

graph with expected risk vc expected return

Throughout our 11-year history, we’ve observed a consistent lack of correlation (and alpha) between the performance of our investment portfolio and the public market equity indices in the MENA region. This highlights the significance of early-stage investments to achieve a truly diversified portfolio.

Second: Open and neutral investment platforms enable market efficiency 

Choosing an open and neutral investment platform is integral to nurture a thriving startup ecosystem and enable price discovery and market efficiency. It ultimately benefits all stakeholders, enhancing trust and optimizing resource allocation within the market ecosystem.

Third: There are different fundamental drivers at play compared to other asset classes in the same geography

The KSA startup ecosystem is fueled by unique fundamental drivers that differentiate it from other asset classes in the same geographic region. Government support, a youthful and tech-savvy population, and a strategic Saudi Vision 2030 have created an environment that is ripe for innovation and growth. These drivers have led to the emergence of a distinct investment landscape that offers investors and VCs the chance to tap into untapped potential and capture strong returns.


Flat6Labs’ Fingerprint in Early Stage Startups Funding

After assessing the gap in the market and the risks and opportunities at hand, Flat6Labs became an active investor in the Riyadh ecosystem with strategic positioning and de-risking priorities in mind.

  • Strategic Positioning: Flat6Labs’ early-stage focus in Saudi Arabia is a competitive edge, allowing it to fill the market void and lock in attractive valuations for up-and-coming startups.
  • Riyadh Seed Program De-Risked Advantage: With a targeted accelerator approach, Flat6Labs’ programs are set to de-risk opportunities by instilling best practices to catalyze growth in the early-stage sector that’s ripe for investment.

What’s next?

The ecosystem in Saudi Arabia possesses untapped potential that deserves to be invested in. From that standpoint, Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program supports startups with high growth potential to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and create a space for the Saudi youth to develop their startups and scale up their business in the MENA region.

If you are an early-stage Saudi-based startup, join our Riyadh Seed Program to get cash seed funding, strategic mentorship, networking opportunities, and a multitude of perks and services.

Christine Namara Joins Flat6Labs as Partner for Africa Seed Fund: Expanding Flat6Labs’ Reach on the Continent

In a strategic move to strengthen its existing footprint in the vibrant African startup ecosystem, Flat6Labs, the leading seed venture capital firm in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, proudly welcomes Christine Namara as Partner for its Africa Seed Fund. With more than a decade of profound experience in private equity, startup operations, and venture capital, Namara brings unparalleled expertise and an extensive network to Flat6Labs’ recently announced US $95 million Africa Seed Fund (ASF), aimed at nurturing early-stage tech startups across Africa. 

Africa Seed Fund has three key focus investment regions: North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa, which will see Flat6Labs expanding its footprint into East and West Africa. Namara’s regional expertise will be instrumental in establishing and managing such a presence, ensuring a seamless integration with the local startup ecosystems. Over the next five years, ASF aims to invest in more than 160 early-stage startups operating in the technology sector in Africa.

Describing herself as “vigorously pan-African,” Namara has extensive experience within the African technology ecosystem. Her remarkable journey has seen her transition from the operational side to the dynamic world of venture capital. In her previous roles at two prominent high-growth startups in East Africa, Namara honed her skills in B2B sales, people management, and product management. Prior to joining Flat6Labs, she was the lead of capital ventures at a reputable accelerator for early-stage start-ups in Africa. This diverse background has afforded Namara an intricate understanding of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities that early-stage entrepreneurs encounter in the ever-evolving African tech landscape.

In joining Africa Seed Fund, Namara assumes a pivotal position in identifying, nurturing, and supporting innovative startups. Her vast experience in private equity and venture capital equips her with unrivaled knowledge and strategic insights, making her an invaluable asset to the fund’s mission.

“With innovation as our compass and collaboration as our engine, I am honoured to join Flat6Labs, a pioneering force in shaping Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape. Together, we will embark on a transformative journey, unlocking the vast potential of startups across the continent. In this interconnected world, every idea has the power to change lives. I am excited to champion these innovations, catalyzing progress and leaving a lasting impact on communities in Africa and beyond,” Namara says.

General Partners of Africa Seed Fund Dina el-Shenoufy and Ramez El Serafy highlighted that Namara’s appointment is a significant step for the company’s African expansion journey. Her wealth of knowledge, coupled with her extensive regional network, will be invaluable to the team as we continue to support and nurture innovative startups on the continent through the Africa Seed Fund which is potentially expected to impact the continent with more than 14,000 jobs, provide support to more than 1,200 founders with 20% female participation, and generate revenue of more than US$700M.

Riyadh Valley Company Announces Strategic Investment in Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund

Riyadh Valley Company, the investment arm of King Saud University and a prominent player in the investment landscape of Saudi Arabia, is delighted to announce its strategic investment in Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund, a move that solidifies its commitment to supporting the growth and development of the region’s vibrant startup ecosystem.

This investment marks a significant milestone in Riyadh Valley Company’s mission to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is part of the company’s broader strategy to identify and partner with initiatives that have the potential to drive meaningful change in the region. The fund enables startups to receive follow-on funding up to SAR 2.4 million and the support and training programs provided by the program for select companies.

The Startup Seed Fund is a closed-ended fund that invests in early-stage startups operating in the technology and innovation sectors within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fund will adopt a highly diversified, systematic investment plan that aims to reduce the risks faced by venture capital and reduce the administrative and legal costs incurred by early-stage startups. The fund has invested in 20 innovative startups, with an investment value exceeding SAR 15,000,000.

Commenting on this strategic investment, Dr. Khalid Al-Saleh, CEO of Riyadh Valley Company, stated, “Riyadh Valley Company is excited to partner with Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund LP. We recognize the incredible potential and innovative spirit of startups in the region and understand the vital role they play in advancing our economy. This collaboration is a testament to our dedication to providing the resources and support necessary to help these startups thrive and scale their businesses.”

Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund has a proven track record of supporting and accelerating startups across various sectors. With Riyadh Valley Company’s investment, the fund is poised to further expand its operations, reach more entrepreneurs, and make a substantial impact on the region’s startup landscape.

Commenting on the investment, Eyad Albayouk of Flat6Labs, expressed, “We are thrilled to welcome Riyadh Valley Company as a strategic partner in our Startup Seed Fund. This collaboration will undoubtedly enhance our ability to support startups and drive innovation in the Kingdom. We look forward to working together to achieve our shared goal of fostering entrepreneurial success in the country.”

Riyadh Valley Company’s investment in Flat6Labs’ Startup Seed Fund underscores the company’s dedication to advancing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification goals and promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Flat6Labs, SIAC, and Dar Launch “Makers” ConTech Accelerator Program

Investing Up to $100K in Construction Tech Startups in Egypt

Flat6Labs, the region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, has launched the “Makers” ConTech Accelerator Program in partnership with SIAC and Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners). The program is the first-ever construction-focused accelerator program in the Middle East that aims to support advanced startups in the construction technology industry.

The “Makers” ConTech Accelerator Program will provide select startups with up to $100,000 in funding per startup as well as grant access to pilot projects, industry experts, mentorship, business training, one-on-one consultations, coaching sessions, networking opportunities, and essential resources to cultivate and scale their businesses. The program will last 12 weeks, startups will be chosen based on their unique new technology, hardworking founders, and exceptionally promising products, presented at a minimum viable product (MVP) level or higher.

The launch of the new program follows Makers’ first pre-accelerator program, which ran in early 2023 and which aimed to promote construction industry innovation through connecting and engaging with various industry stakeholders with extensive expertise, thereby creating sustainable innovation ecosystems for resolving construction-related challenges within SIAC, Dar, and the industry at large. The pre-accelerator program graduated nine of the most innovative ConTech startups in Egypt – including Reblox, Tawredaat, AION Innovation, Masafa, HomeLab, A.D Innovations, Makinahub, and JEEZAR. During the pre-accelerator, these startups were offered strategic mentorship, entrepreneurship-focused business training, one-on-one sessions with subject matter experts, as well as other benefits that would empower them to develop and present their innovative ideas and solutions.
With the launch of the new accelerator program, Flat6Labs intends to provide ongoing support to construction technology startups. The program will initially focus on Egyptian entrepreneurs, before expanding to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and subsequently to the wider MENA region.

Commenting on the new Makers Accelerator Program, Faysal Shair, Head of Digital Solutions at Dar, said, “We are thrilled to continue our exceptional collaboration with SIAC and Flat6Labs to accelerate the transformation of the construction industry. We believe that the program will promote innovation in the construction industry and foster talents in construction tech, empowering them to showcase their innovative solutions and work alongside industry leaders to bring those solutions to the market. We are looking forward to seeing what the selected startups will bring to the table.”

“We are proud to be a part of the journey towards digitizing the construction industry and unlocking more opportunities and potential for ConTech startups in Egypt,” stated Seif Ragab, Deputy CEO at SIAC. “The digital revolution of the construction industry is becoming more crucial than ever and we are excited to capitalize on this momentum and make major leaps. We are confident that the expansion of this program would essentially help the growth and development of the region’s constructing industry.”

“We are excited to announce the launch of an accelerator program in collaboration with SIAC and Dar Al-Handasah, with the hope that it will serve as a conduit for the development of cutting-edge innovation while driving growth and opportunities for promising startups,” said Yehia Houry, Chief Programs Officer at Flat6Labs. “We are proud of the success of the pre-accelerator program, and we believe that Makers will have a significant impact on the construction industry in Egypt, and eventually across the Middle East.”

Compared to other sectors like fintech, the construction industry typically moves at a slower pace when it comes to embracing innovation or digitalization. The Makers program strives to equip construction entrepreneurs with the necessary support in order to provide innovative solutions and fresh technologies that optimize and automate construction industry processes, making them more efficient and sustainable while propelling the sector forward.

About Flat6Labs:
Flat6Labs is the MENA region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, currently running the most renowned startup programs in the region. Flat6Labs invests in innovative and technology-driven startups enabling thousands of passionate entrepreneurs to achieve their daring ambitions and ultimately becoming their institutional co-founders.
Flat6Labs manages a number of seed funds with a total AUM in excess of $85M. More than 25 leading institutions have invested into the Flat6Labs managed funds; believing in the asset class and Flat6Labs’ proven track record as the market leader. Flat6Labs provides a wide range of investment ticket sizes ranging from $50K to $500k, supporting startups through their early journeys from Pre-Seed all the way to Pre-Series A stages. Alongside the investments, Flat6Labs’ exceptional startup programs, executed to cater specifically for the needs of the innovative entrepreneurs, helps them accelerate their growth by providing them with a plethora of support services and connecting them to unparalleled opportunities with an expansive network comprising hundreds of business mentors, investors and corporates.
Launched and headquartered in Cairo since 2011, Flat6Labs has multiple offices across the region; with ongoing plans to expand into other emerging markets.
For more information, visit

About SIAC:

SIAC Construction is one of the leading regional construction private sector companies in Egypt and the Middle East. Since its establishment in 1986; SIAC gained a vast record of experience in the construction of mega projects; including top-quality finishing buildings, heavy industrial construction, power plants, infrastructure, and petrochemical projects.

SIAC’s aim is to create a difference in quality construction, by implementing the most modern management and construction systems, in order to ensure and improve its position as a leader in the construction field.

SIAC also is a member of SIAC Holding which was established to manage the diversified activities of the Group. These activities include construction, development, and building materials.
About Dar-Al-Handasah

Dar is one of the world’s leading consultancies, providing design, planning, engineering, and project management services for a wide variety of market sectors, including buildings and cities, transportation and civil infrastructure, and water and the environment, and project management. We are a global community of over 7,850 talented and innovative engineers, planners, economists, architects, designers, project management specialists, construction management professionals, and multidisciplinary experts. We take on some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious projects in order to nurture sustainable development, empower and connect communities, create more and better opportunities, and enhance lives. Our company’s portfolio includes over 4,500 projects, collectively worth $540 billion, delivered for over 950 clients. The firm’s commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and sustainable development has earned it a reputation as a trusted and reliable partner in shaping a better future for communities around the world.

Dar is also the founder of Dar Group – a global network of industry-leading brands with over 18,600 employees in more than 300 offices around the world. According to the industry-standard Engineering News Record, Dar Group has ranked among the top 10 international design firms for over 15 years, and it currently ranks 1st in the Middle East and 3rd in Africa (ENR 2022).

New entrepreneurship initiative to boost job creation in Libya

Tripoli, May 2023. The new “Deraya – دِرَايَــة Entrepreneurship Initiative” for young entrepreneurs seeks to build a dynamic ecosystem of innovative entrepreneurs and startups in Libya.

Young entrepreneurs in Libya face many challenges, including accessing markets and financial resources, and navigating regulations and administrative procedures. The Deraya initiative is designed to equip entrepreneurs with the essential know-how to turn innovative ideas into successful startups. The initiative was jointly developed by the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Targeting youth and vulnerable groups, Deraya is open to innovative and aspiring entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35. Through interactive webinars, the initiative’s participants will be given an opportunity to engage with experienced entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and role models from Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia and learn from their success stories, wealth of knowledge, and expertise. The initiative will also entail startup weekends in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, and Derna, culminating with a pitch competition where the winning startups will receive financial support, financed by EU and AfDB, to further develop, grow, and take their business ideas to the next level. As a critical step towards sustainability, entrepreneurs will be linked to the municipal business incubators being set up with MoLG with UNDP’s technical support.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Dr. Bader Al-Deen Al-Tomi, Minister of Local Government, said: “The Deraya initiative plays a pivotal role in the Ministry of Local Government’s strategy to develop entrepreneurship and micro-enterprises at the local level, empower municipalities economically, and provide job opportunities in line with Law 59 and Resolution 1500 . We are delighted to work towards these goals in cooperation with our international partners, EU, AfDB and UNDP.”
EU Ambassador Mr. José Sabadell added: “Libya’s economic prosperity will be driven by young entrepreneurs with innovative, forward-looking ideas. They will be the key to a more diversified Libyan economy, a strong private sector and new jobs. Together with our Libyan and international partners, the European Union therefore seeks to offer strong and concrete support to young Libyan entrepreneurs, to realise their business ideas.”
Mr Mohamed El Azizi, Regional Director for North Africa at the African Development Bank, further commented: “Private sector development is key to boosting economic diversification and job creation in Libya. Supporting the trajectory of young Libyan men and women to develop and grow their start-ups has enormous socio-economic potential and will contribute to job creation. It is also important to ensure an adequate business enabling environment and institutional support. The EEYES project, financed by the AfDB through the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multidonor Trust Fund, and implemented by UNDP, supports these components.”
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Marc-André Franche, said: “Libya has a new generation of young people, women and men, , with promising capacity and big ambitions. The country has the potential to be one of the biggest entrepreneurial ecosystems in North Africa, and through the Deraya programme, UNDP seek to help inspire and provide young entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and assets to realise growth and innovation.”
The Deraya programme is part of UNDP’s Local Peacebuilding and Resilience efforts in partnership with MoLG, aimed at creating socio-economic opportunities for youth and vulnerable groups to promote sustainable growth in Libya, including the establishment of the first Municipality-led business incubator and the TEC+ Accelerator programme.

The Deraya initiative, co-funded by AfDB and EU, is designed and implemented in collaboration with a consortium consisting of Flat6Labs, Tatweer Research and MAZAM, bringing in years of experience and specialized knowledge in helping young entrepreneurs launch successful ventures in both the Middle East & Africa regions.

Further information and how to apply can be found on the website:

UNDP supports Libya’s transition towards peace, economic recovery, and sustainable development to help the country get on a more robust development path by supporting local authorities to restore essential services delivery and livelihood opportunities and promote peaceful co-existence. Job creation for youth is at the heart of UNDP’s local Peacebuilding efforts. This initiative is part of UNDP’s “Environment towards youth entrepreneurship support and positive migration governance project (EEYES)” programme financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Strengthening Local Capacity for Resilience and Recovery Project funded by the North of Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Stability which contributes to addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF – NOA). The Deraya initiative is implemented in partnership with Flat6Labs, Tatweer and Mazam.

​​Flat6Labs Launches New US$95M Venture Capital Fund to Expand its Impact in Africa

Cairo, Egypt – 14th, March 2023: Flat6Labs, MENA’s leading seed investor, has announced the launch of a new US$95 million Seed Fund to nurture the growth and development of early-stage tech startups on the African continent. Flat6Labs has a proven track record in carefully vetting out and investing in promising startups in North Africa since it was founded 12 years ago, with more than US$16M invested in startups, and over US$191M raised in follow-on funding while creating more than 2,500 direct jobs and 80,000 indirect jobs through its first two funds in Egypt and Tunisia.

Headquartered in Egypt, the Africa Seed Fund (ASF) will focus on three main investment territories in Africa: North Africa, West Africa, and East Africa. Flat6Labs will be extending its reach into several new territories including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Senegal, amongst others. The ASF will be led by Ramez El-Serafy and Dina el-Shenoufy as General Partners for the fund. The fund will invest in more than 160 early-stage startups over the next five years that operate in the technology sector in Africa, with a focus on impactful sectors that accelerate digital inclusion through the use of information technologies and industries which contribute to addressing social and environmental challenges, such as HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, GreenTech, AgriTech, ClimateTech, and other sectors.The significant influx of capital from the ASF has the potential to create more than 14,000 jobs, provide support to more than 1,200 founders with 20% female participation, and generate revenue of more than US$700M.

Ramez El-Serafy, General Partner for ASF, says, “We are extremely excited about the launch of the Africa Seed Fund. Africa is one of the most exciting regions to invest in tech and innovation, with huge untapped potential and unique business opportunities. We will leverage our experience and knowledge to guide the startup founders to create truly scalable, investment-ready, Africa-based companies.”
The African tech ecosystem has continued to grow in 2022. According to Partech 2022 Africa Venture Capital Report, funding for the African sector increased to US$6.5B in 2022, up from US$6.0B in 2021. Clearly, the deep forces driving growth of the African tech ecosystem have prevailed against the global headwinds.

With the Africa Seed Fund, Flat6Labs will be investing in 160 companies that are in Pre-Seed up to Pre-Series A stage, with tickets ranging from US$150K-US$500K through the Flat6Labs’ Africa Seed Program and will also be providing seed tickets to seasoned founders independently of the program. ASF will also be able to reinvest into portfolio companies in follow-on rounds.
Flat6Labs’ Africa Seed Program provides portfolio companies joining the program with seed funding, regional business support, access to a regional network of seasoned local mentors, as well as regulatory and logistical support to set up and grow their businesses. The program also adapts to be regional with a hybrid model allowing for physical on-the-ground interactions in local markets while combining virtual elements that allow for cohort interactions across the entire fund region. Two cohorts will be run annually, with an average of 10 to 15 startups per cohort. The first investments in the selected startups are planned to be made before the end of 2023.

Dina el-Shenoufy, General Partner for ASF, says, “The Africa Seed Fund is well-positioned to be a catalyst for driving long-term positive change that the youth of Africa really deserve, and to providing resources to the brightest of them, while accelerating the future of the African continent. The program is designed to provide entrepreneurs with the resources that they need to be able to grow and to scale-up their businesses to new heights.”
“We have observed that the entrepreneurial market has matured over the years with a new wave of founders that are more experienced. We will also cater for these founders and offer higher ticket sizes to support these companies and a different track to the program” el-Shenoufy added.

The Africa Seed Fund (ASF) is being established by Flat6Labs, project (SAIS), with the support of the GIZ on behalf of the German Government, and through the Egyptian Agricultural Innovation Project (AIP) and Scaling Digital Agricultural Innovations through Start-ups project (SAIS).

Flat6Labs Holds Third Demo Day in Amman

(Amman, Jordan – March 11, 2023) — Venture capital firm Flat6Labs recently held its third demo day on March 7, at the Four Seasons Amman, bringing together a wide array of mentors, investors, and entrepreneurs. The special event celebrated the seven startups’ successful completion of the Amman Seed Program. And it was an opportunity for these new companies to showcase their achievements and receive recognition for the hard work they demonstrated over the past several months.
The seven startups presented their innovative products and solutions during the event. Companies based on AdTech, FinTech, FashionTech, AutoTech, FoodTech, HealthTech, and LogTech. Cayyesh, InvoiceQ, Makesy, Markabte, Kitchmarket, Sawaaid, and Olivery showcased their cutting-edge services that cover a wide array of sectors mentioned above, paving the way for them to succeed in the digital age.
Commenting on the occasion, the General Manager of Flat6Labs, Rasha Manna, stated, “We are proud to witness the progress of the third cohort during the program. Demo day represents the culmination of the efforts they have put in during the program. Our support does not end here, we continue to work closely with our portfolio companies as they scale up. We are proud to be part of their journey, and we constantly seek talented entrepreneurs from the local community.”
The current cohort is the third cycle of the company’s Seed Program. Participants in the program are able to gain insight and benefit from the expertise and guidance of top-notch professionals in their respective fields. The program has also enabled these startups to grow exponentially in terms of their business goals, execution plans, and overall success.
During the four months period, the seven startups gained the opportunity to develop their business and elevate it to new heights. In addition, the program opened the door for them to gain customers, develop their products, expand their reach in the market, leverage the tools they are handed, and create a strategic plan. With the program’s resources, these startups are poised to lead successful businesses and accelerate their growth.