AUC Venture Lab Announces Third Incubator Cycle

December 1, 2014, Cairo – AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) at The American University in Cairo’s School of Business has announced ten new startups incubated in V-Lab’s third cycle. After an exhaustive selection process, startups Waffarly, Tumbleweed Egypt, STEBN, Ion-7, Creative Bits for Information Technologies, Shireet, Soutak.com, Top Choice Admissions, Jozour and Gyma were named as the new cohort. Established by the School of Business, the mission of the V-Lab is to commercialize technologies and innovations developed by Egypt-based startups into commercially viable ventures.“One year after its kickoff, AUC V-Lab proves to be an amazing environment for entrepreneurs to build and grow their startups," said Ayman Ismail, assistant professor and Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC School of Business. "This cycle, we are accelerating 10 startups with innovative business models and tenacious entrepreneurs, and we are pleased to have them join the AUC community."  Startup Tumbleweed is the first Egyptian social-travel guide application giving users the ability to explore and follow experienced users and activities of their interest. It is a hub  where Egyptians can share their personal travel experiences, join communities, try new activities they never knew was available and explore new places that they have never heard of in Egypt and at the same time contribute to the service providers by flourishing the domestic tourism. STEBN startup has smart solutions for traffic in the cities. The idea is to create a network of stations made up of fleet of bicycles located throughout a city, where one person can easily drag a bicycle by using a smart card and return it to any of the different stations around the city.   Ion-7 is an indie games development studio that is specialized in making AAA hard/Mid core games for mobile devices, iOS and Android mainly. Creative Bits applications provide snowball technology to help people create electronic applications and provides an E-robot kit to teach children programming, electronics and to make their own toys. “We believe kids’ education is the key to welfare and prosperity. So via E-robot kids start to learn programming, electronics and engineering in a fun way,” said Hesham Mahmoud, one of the three founders of Creative Bits. Shireet is digital music entertainment network  that targets underground musicians to manage the digital rights of unsigned talents. Shirteet capitalizes on the team’s founding members’ expertise to produce high quality videos at a low cost for underground artists. In exchange the artists sign up with Shireet to manage their digital presence.   Soutak.com is an online platform that enables any person to engage with their in-office elected representatives and candidates of any elections (parliament, syndicate, sport clubs, student unions) in a way that is easy, social and enjoyable. “We are trying to solve the communication gap between the people and their representatives or candidates. Many people don’t know their representatives are, their qualification, their electoral programs or plans after being in office, and most importantly: how to reach them,” said Haitham Mostafa , CEO and product manager of Soutak.com. One startup has focused on helping students find their way to universities, by creating Top Choice Admissions, a holistic admissions consulting firm that assists students with all aspects of the university application process from standardized test prep to admissions essays. As for Jozour, the company works on recycling agricultural residues. “We are working on producing wood panels from date palm midribs through innovative and unique machines,” said  Tarek Zeinah, production manager of Jozour. He explains that they are designing and manufacturing their own machines and developing different types of wood board to be supplied to furniture manufacturers and interior designers. “Our wood has a very unique appearance and could be alternative for wood we import in Egypt plus being a green product (coming from recycled material and recyclable),” he added. Founders of Gyma believe that going to the gym has become a trend, but they hope with their startup to turn the trend into a lifestyle. “Gymawy is an Egyptianized personal trainer on your smart phone. The application provides trainings, diet, and tips for a healthy life. The uniqueness of our application is driven by a local content that is otherwise unavailable on fitness mobile apps on the app store,” said Ahmed El Sayed, founder and CEO of Gyma. AUC Venture Lab is the first university-based incubator in Egypt. It incubates early-stage and growth-stage startups that are chosen through a selection process that judges the novelty of the idea, the team’s track record and cohesion, scalability and potential for commercialization, as well as the team’s tenacity and commitment to success. The 180 applications submitted for Cycle Three went through a rigorous selection process to be narrowed down to 50 applicants who were interviewed by a panel including AUC professors, experts, entrepreneurs and businessmen.  By joining AUC V-Lab, startups are able to capitalize on AUC’s world-class facilities and knowledge base, connecting innovative startups with AUC’s alumni network and fostering a thriving ecosystem of innovation, education and business.

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The American University in Cairo (AUC) was founded in 1919 and is major contributor to the social, political and cultural life of the Arab Region. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions, and study abroad programs. An independent, nonprofit, apolitical, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.