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Who are the MENA's HIPOs? Algebra Ventures Brings 20 High-Potential Startups to RiseUp

The programme includes 20 companies, like Egyptian Instabug, Dubai's Mumzworld and Fetchr, and Jordan's Liwwa, who totalise a collective funding of more than $159 million.

From HIPOs to unicorns? Some of the Middle East's most promising startups are heading to the RiseUo Summit kicking off on December 1st, for the first edition of the event's brand new MENA HIPOs (HIgh POtential) programme. Crafted through a partnership between Algebra Ventures, Egypt's largest venture capital fund, and the RiseUp Summit, the initiative has identified the region's 20 most promising startups, granting them access to unique resources, tools and opportunities to help them expand in their markets.

The chosen HIPOs come from all around the MENA region, including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt - HIPOs that have collectively attracted funding of $159 million. 

“RiseUp has connected MENA startups with resources since 2013; but regional success stories have been sporadic and fragmented. The question we’re always asked by investors and global players is 'who should we be excited about in the region?' Now we’re answering this by bringing the region’s most promising businesses together in our HIPO Programme, says RiseUp Summit Manager, Dalia Kamar". This is MENA’s potential in a nutshell. These are the people leading the companies of today and tomorrow, and on their way to becoming UNICAMELs.”

The lion’s share of HIPOs this year, however, comes from Egypt, with eight startups making the cut.

The United Arab Emirates boasts the top six startups with the most funding amongst the 20 HIPOs, including disruptive solution providers Fetchr, Bayzat and ReserveOut. Also joining are innovative e-commerce platforms Bulk Whiz, The Luxury Closet and Mumzworld. Emerging startups from Lebanon include music platform Anghami, which now boasts 57 million users, in addition to scriptr.io, as well as Jordanian startups Kharabeesh, a platform targeting digital creators, and Liwwa, the trade and asset finance provider. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia brings two disruptive startups: PayTabs, the leading online payment Solutions Company which this year raised a $20 million round,  and Lamsa, the Arabic edutainment-based platform for children.

Instabug's founder Omar Gabr, on stage at the RiseUp Summit 2016. This year, his startup is on the HIPO programme.

The lion’s share of HIPOs this year, however, comes from Egypt; with eight startups making the cut, including Elves, Crowd Analyzer, the first social media sentiment analysis tool in Arabic, Avelabs, the developer of next-generation automotive software, and Si-Ware Systems, a global semiconductor innovator. These HIPOs are joined by healthcare platform Vezeeta - one of the most successful startups in Egypt, now expanding to Lebanon and Jordan - bug detection service Instabug, food discovery platform ElMenus and event management platform Eventtus, just after its founder Mai Medhat raised a $2 million investment from Algebra Ventures and 500 Startups.

"HIPOs are remarkably unique companies that are set apart by their operational traction, ability to attract capital and exceptional innovation," says Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner at Algebra Ventures. "We believe that HIPOs will lead the way in the rapid development of the MENA entrepreneurship ecosystem. We are excited to witness, and as VC investor’s support, the growth and success of these companies in the years to come."

ElMenus' founder, Amir Allam, made headlines this year when he raised a 1.5 million investment. He is one of the 8 Egyptian High-Potential startups. 

So what's in it for the startups? HIPOs can access the extensive RiseUp network of distinguished experts, lawyers, mentors and media, aside from showcasing their services at the HIPOs exhibition at the RiseUp Summit 2017 and sharing their stories on the summit stage with 5,000 attendees. The startups will also receive education opportunities at world-class universities and education platforms, such as Udacity and IE, alongside a number of special sub-events, including the invite-only MENA HIPOs Dinner hosted by Algebra Ventures, and the MENA HIPOs Breakfast hosted by STRIPE.

“We devote special attention to the power of networking; meeting the right people could work wonders for an emerging startup. That’s why they will get to mingle and exchange ideas with legendary icons from the global entrepreneurial ecosystem, including 500 Startups and Wamda Capital and many more,” Kamar says. 

Find more details about the agenda and the speakers here.

Photography by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.

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