May 1, 2018, Cairo – The School of Business’s Venture lab (V-Lab) at The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated yesterday its fifth anniversary and held a Demo Day to showcase the products and services of 13 incubated startups graduating from V-Lab’s two programs, the Arab African International Bank Cycle 10 and the Spring'18 FinTech Cycle. Throughout five years, the Venture Lab has incubated 115 startups that generated L.E. 88.5 Million in revenues and created more than 500 jobs. Since its launch, the Venture Lab has provided more than 1500 of mentoring and training hours to the startups that have received L.E. 220 million in investments. Khaled Ismail, founder and chairman of KiAngel was awarded yesterday the VLAB Award for Entrepreneurship Impact, which is given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the mentorship and growth of the Egyptian entrepreneurship ecosystem."AAIB's initiative to partner with AUC venture lab as a leadership co-founder in 2013 is a translation of AAIB's belief in the potential of Egyptian entrepreneurs. The collaboration between AAIB and AUC Venture Lab marks a unique alignment between financial and academic institutions for the interest of entrepreneurs. We strongly believe that innovative youth are the key drivers of Egypt’s future growth,” said Hassan Abdalla, chief executive officer of the Arab African International Bank, “As a main driver in the Egyptian economic scene, the financial sector must play a role in empowering the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.”
Ayman Ismail, director of AUC V-Lab, Abdul Latif Jameel endowed chair of entrepreneurship and assistant professor at AUC, said: “We are proud to hold the Demo Day for 13 incubated startups and we are also proud to launch our angel investment network. Over these five years, the journey of V-Lab, the first university-based incubator in Egypt, has been both rewarding and challenging as we have been growing and shooting for a bigger and more sustainable impact year after year. It is very exciting that we get to celebrate our fifth anniversary among our graduates and supporters.”
Dean of AUC’s School of Business, Sherif Kamel said: “We are proud and privileged to be considered among the region’s leading university-based incubators offering services to students on campus as well as the community at large across Egypt’s different governorates.” Kamel also said: “AUC Venture Lab is delighted to be ranked by UBI Global among the three Top Challenger University-based Incubators in the Middle East and North Africa region for the year 2017/18 reflecting our mission and direction and confirms the school’s commitment and determination to create a scalable and positive impact on the society.”
Moving forward, Kamel added that the Venture Lab will continue to engage with the ecosystem’s various constituents through developing partnership agreements and collaborating with associations, networks, mentors, investors and sponsors as well as capitalize on AUC’s intellectual capital across different fields and disciplines on and off campus to support young and promising entrepreneurs who can make a difference.
The incubated startups in the Arab African International Bank Cycle 10 were: CubeZy, VIA, DentaCarts, INDOTS, YallaSa7el, FilSekka, Sports of Egypt, Badgewell, Owls and Pixellion. Three startups, Q-Less, Hood and YallaPay, incubated in the Spring'18 FinTech Cycle, also showcased their products and services.
VIA is a startup that connects its customers with a wide array of vendors through communication technology, where users can order their purchases easily and have them ready to be picked up from the vendor’s venue without having to find a parking spot or wait in line. “Joining V-Lab has greatly contributed to our business in terms of exposure to investors and mentors, interaction with fellow entrepreneurs as well as the production of new ideas for our business,” said Shady Shawky, VIA.
Youssef Medhat, co-founder of CubeZy, which is a platform that facilitates the connection between tutors, centers and customers looking to book online and offline educational as well as recreational courses said: “V-Lab is a journey of continuous learning and sharing experience that we believe will positively impact the success of CubeZy.”
Another online platform that facilitates the relation between customers and vendors is DentaCarts, which provides dental supplies to dentists, allowing them to browse products, buy them, and have them delivered to their doorsteps.
To safeguard homes, INDOTS offers reliable, plug and play home monitoring solutions to notify users on their mobile phones with any dangers at their homes as a result of a break-in, fire or gas leakage.
YallaSa7el is an online platform that provides families and friends with vacation rentals through a simple booking process at an affordable price. FilSekka is a platform that provides mothers with information on their pregnancy, motherhood journey and medical and non-medical services and products.
As for Sports of Egypt, it is an online platform that documents the official results of the national sports competitions, from athletes’ results to dates and venues of competitions, in addition to the contact information of official sports entities.
Another platform, Badgewell, allows people to record various professional and educational experiences, including previous job posts, courses and webinars attended, articles published or assessments taken.
Owls is a startup that provides a platform for the night owls of the online community to share real night thoughts, exchange advice and talk about their daily stories anonymously. The platform is only accessible at certain night hours and the threads and conversations are wiped clean everyday which allows users to share their opinions and experiences freely.
Pixellion provides retail insights for retailers and suppliers through capturing, processing and analyzing in-store images. Its services are based on AI deep learning techniques which provide instant in-store data for both retailers and their suppliers.
Three startups were incubated in Spring’18 Fintech Startups (Cycle 4), including Q-Less, which provides a digital solution that eases connectivity between businesses and payment service providers allowing customers to complete payments, pay tuition and renew subscriptions in the education and sports sectors in Egypt. “V-Lab was a gateway for mentorship and knowledge. Having access to top notch experts in the field of entrepreneurship and other fields gave us the chance to validate some of our plans and adjust others according to the knowledge we acquired,” said Walid Abouelnour, Q-Less.
Another incubated startup, Hood provides a device that is installed in cars to detect errors and is synced with mobiles through an application that informs users whether the error is minor or requires immediate attention. The app can also keep track of the cars movement, history and mileage. A platform that facilitates payment collection from multi-participants, YallaPay is a payment solution app, where users can pay for a trip, buy an event ticket or sell a service or a product.