The acquisition of Exits feeds into PIE's ultimate goal in creating an ecosystem that allows for more exits.
Egyptian M&A (mergers and acquisitions) advisory firm, PIE, has announced the acquisition of Cairo-based Exits, a regional online marketplace on which users can buy and sell websites, apps and traditional businesses.
Founded by serial entrepreneur, Mohamed Aboulnaga, PIE was conceived with a vision to serve the gap that traditional investment banks have often overlooked, the banks that have traditionally resisted investment in startups and SMEs - of which there are still many, despite Egypt and the MENA region’s booming entrepreneurial and tech ecosystems.
With its unique offering as an online marketplace, Exits somewhat feeds into PIE’s vision, potentially paving the way for smaller companies to gain more visibility to investors and for buyers to search for potential acquisitions online.
"PIE can act as both sell and buy side advisor or as an independent advisor that steps into a deal where both ends are unable to agree on the terms of sale, or even as bringing new options for sellers or buyers to a pending deal to enhance the numbers and bring more benefits to the founders,” said Aboulnaga of his new charges. “PIE offers not only the traditional M&A advice, but goes as much as preparing startups inside out to a takeover or an investment through a package of several support functions and business consultancy schemes."
Listing, or indeed buying, a company via Exits is simple enough, though as a result of the acquisition, users will also be able to request the aid of ‘PIE advisor’, who can customise a more complex deal, or even an investment preparation exercise. The company plans to introduce more verticals to achieve its aim of becoming a fully fledged integrated investment boutique that covers the whole M&A value chain.
2021 saw a record number of exits in Egypt, with the number rising to 7 from 2020’s 3. Highlight deals included logistics and fulfilment startup FWRUN’s acquisition by Saudi counterpart Diggipacks automotive marketplace Sa3ar’s acquisition by local competitor ContactCars. The hot streak seems to have continued into 2022 with four exits recorded already, including proptech Milango’s acquisition of its local counterpart Circle and Cairo-based healthtech DilenyTech’s acquisition by US firm Astute Imaging LLC.
For Aboulnaga and co, however, there’s still much work to be done in terms of creating an ecosystem that can foster more acquisitions and exits. "The number of successful attempts that MENA startups managed to exit are less than 10% of those who raised money,” Aboulanaga decries. “We aim to raise this figure to at least triple in the next 5 years so as to enhance the ecosystem for both investors and founders, and lead this entire market to maturity with more pathways to cash liquidity and proper exits.”
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