The School of Business at The American University in Cairo (AUC) is celebrating today the graduation of the first cycle of the AUC Venture Lab FinTech Accelerator, powered by the Commercial International Bank-Egypt (CIB). AUC Venture Lab will hold today the FinTech Accelerator Demo Day at AUC New Campus to allow the incubated startups to pitch their business ideas and showcase their products and services, "FinTech has the potential for transforming the financial services sector towards more inclusion, growth, and product innovation. AUC Venture Lab, in partnership with CIB-Egypt, is taking the lead in growing the pipeline of FinTech startups in Egypt and supporting their growth,” said Ayman Ismail, director of AUC V-Lab, Abdul Latif Jameel endowed chair of entrepreneurship and assistant professor.Last July 2016, CIB-Egypt and AUC announced their partnership to support entrepreneurship in Egypt, by founding the AUC Venture Lab FinTech Accelerator, powered by CIB. The 12-week program for FinTech startups creates a platform to bridge the gap between the financial services sector and the emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem to encourage new startups in the FinTech space. It aims at providing a specialized support to take the startup businesses further, gain invaluable insights from some of the smartest minds in the start-up and FinTech world and increase their impact on the Egyptian economy.
“This in fact has been a learning process for us. We did acquire better knowledge and experience of designing a strong, successful accelerator to help FinTech entrepreneurs,” said Mohamed Sultan, CIB Chief Operating Officer, “The FinTech Accelerator is just the beginning of a long journey, during which we have laid the foundation of an ongoing, genuine collaboration model between CIB and the entrepreneurship field. This collaboration will lead to promising opportunities, which will boost the productivity of these untapped segments and accelerate the financial inclusion in the Egyptian society.”
The five startups showcasing their services are Neqabty, Roznamgy, Pochy, Insanyah and 7esba. Neqabty is a mobile and web application that links syndicates with its members and provides comprehensive payment solutions for customers, enabling them to pay for their prescriptions, renewals and medical fees.
Insanyah is a social platform aimed at revolutionizing charity and seeking to connect people with millions of charitable organizations based on their preferred cause. “The past four months with AUC V-Lab were intense, it allowed us to focus and provided our founders with the opportunity to learn at a rapid pace. Learning-by-doing is vital to the process of scaling our venture," said Mohamed Sharaf, co-founder Insanyah.
Another platform is 7esba, which aims at making relations between neighbors easier and friendlier by helping flat owners to manage and track shared building bills and payments. Khaled Wagdy, founder of 7esba, “being part of the AUC V- LAB taught me to focus on the business rather than the product. This is critical for any startup as it helps you channel your efforts and listen to your potential customers’ needs and optimize your business model accordingly."
An online credit-enabling platform, Roznamgy aims to bridges the gap between SMEs and Financial Institutions to match credit applicants with lending institutions in a systematic, easy to use and time efficient manner. On the other hand, Pochy, the first social payment application, helps users to collect money from a group of people for a specific cause.
AUC Venture Lab is Egypt’s first university-based incubator and accelerator. The lab enables startups to capitalize on AUC’s intellectual capital, world-class facilities and research capacities. It connects innovative startups with AUC’s network that includes alumni, faculty, mentors and investors. Through this, it fosters a thriving ecosystem of innovation, education and responsible business. The mission of the AUC Venture Lab is twofold: to help Egyptian startups commercialize their innovative technologies and business models into viable ventures that contribute to economic growth, competitiveness and job creation; and to provide a learning and research platform for the AUC community to connect with entrepreneurs.