AUC Venture Lab Celebrates the Graduation of 18 Startups
The School of Business’s Venture lab (V-Lab) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated recently its Demo Day that witnessed the graduation of entrepreneurs from its Startup Accelerator. As part of its Arab African International Bank Cycle 12, 18 accelerated startups pitched their business ideas and showcased their products and services. “This cycle is very special for AUC Venture Lab. As AUC celebrates its centennial, the V-Lab is also celebrating six years, 12 cycles and more than 150 startups. With that, we are pleased to double the size of our cohort with the addition of new sectors. We are also deepening the knowledge and mentorship that we provide for our startups,” said Ayman Ismail, Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed chair of entrepreneurship and AUC Venture Lab director. He added: “We are proud that V-Lab startups are having the strongest impact in the market with the highest growth rates and attracting significant investment in Egypt and internationally.”
The AUC V-Lab Startup Accelerator is a 16-week program that provides support for early-stage and innovative startups to launch and grow their businesses using evidence-based entrepreneurship and lean startup methods. The AUC V-Lab, Egypt’s first university-based startup accelerator and a leading accelerator in the Middle East and Africa, incubated, in cycle 12, startups in various fields including healthcare innovation, energy and environmental sustainability, e-commerce and creative industries.
Graduate startups from cycle 12 are: Green Waste; Esorus; Hall of Talents; Cartoona; Monkey Bekia; Connection; Dawaia.com; Doctoorum; ClinPrime; Caroline Beauty; Little Blessings; Marah; Lemon Spaces; Tobadaa; Fntique; Wanas; Tivity and Tafra.
Focusing on the environment, Green Waste sells and builds systems that sustainably generate biogas and fertilizers out of organic waste from livestock, food and sewage. Sarah Zalata, co-founder, of Green Waste said: “Throughout our experience at the V-Lab, we were mentored by business leaders from several fields who provided us with guidance on developing our business plan. The conversations were fruitful and eye-opening.”
Working on finding solutions for environmental problems, Cartoona works to replace plastics, metals, and wood products with cardboards that are light, inexpensive, portable, storable, recyclable and eco-friendly. Monkey Bekia, a trading company, buys solid waste from small businesses and sells it to manufacturers at a profit margin, with the aim of saving businesses time, money and effort while reducing industrial waste. Connection is a smart waste management solution company that enables smart communities within the industries of entertainment, tourism and retail to reach an efficient waste collection process to minimize costs while acquiring renewable energy.
Esorus is a B2B website platform for interior sourcing solutions connecting professional designers, contractors and property developers with qualified suppliers, facilitating the experience from design to purchase. Dalia Laz, founder of Esorus, stressed on the importance of the knowledge sessions provided by the V-Lab, saying: “These sessions give you advanced professional business knowledge matching the quality of knowledge acquired through AUC entrepreneurship degree given by AUC’s world-class professors.”
As for Hall of Talents, it is an online networking platform for filmmakers, artists, and industry professionals to team up, share and gain knowledge and industry insights to create projects. The startup also has a production arm that produces unique content and serves as an outsourcing production house.
In the healthcare sector, three startups offer creative solutions and services to patients. Dawaia.com is a healthcare platform that enables patients to find and book early appointments with doctors, medical centers and hospitals, and find their medications in the nearest pharmacies. Doctoorum is an online medical tourism marketplace enabling patients to compare and book affordable treatments from trusted providers across Egypt. ClinPrime is an online platform enabling doctors to make informed medical decisions based on stored patient data, and to request second opinions from other doctors in a secure and private way.
The cycle also accelerated several startups that are focused on lifestyle and travel. Caroline Beauty allows women interested in beauty products to mix and match different colors and flavors of lipstick, made from natural ingredients, until they find the perfect shade. Little Blessing is an online platform transforming kids’ rooms from imagination to reality through personalized matching products that are made in Egypt, while Tobadaa is a web platform that connects tourists with local travelers and tour guides for a unique travel experience. Lemon Spaces is a housing platform that partners up with handpicked venues in different neighborhoods to offer homes where travelers can live and experience the country like locals.
Bridging the gap between furniture makers in Damietta governorate and customers, Fntique is an online platform introducing furniture from Damietta to international markets. Focusing on Arabic content, Wanas is an on-demand audio platform focusing on Arabic content that allows users to discover, engage and listen to curated audio drama, news, and podcasts with high quality of sound and an approved network of podcasters. As for Tivity, it is a multi-sided platform that aims to digitize the fitness industry by connecting customers with fitness classes providers. Tafra is a platform that aims to connect business owners with top-rated technology recruiters.
AUC V-Lab’s E-commerce Track is sponsored by the Arab African International Bank. The Creative Track is sponsored by Drosos Foundation, while Shell Energy and Sustainability Track Sponsor is sponsored by Shell. The general sponsors of the Startup Accelerator Program are Oxfam and Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP).