Founding Director of AUC Angels and AUC Venture Lab Ayman Ismail tells us about his reflections on the investments landscape in Egypt.
"We are producing many startups in Egypt, but we're also losing many of them to regional markets that are competing for our talent,” Founding Director of AUC Angels and AUC Venture Lab Ayman Ismail tells Startup Scene. Despite of being the fastest-growing offshoring destination, Egypt is still struggling at retaining its startups.
One of the main reasons for this struggle is that the ecosystem has a clear gap in early-stage investments. Egypt has several VCs that are starting to inject funds in the market but not in the $100,000 - $500,000 segment which is what the AUC Angels are trying to do.
“AUC Angels provides a bridge between startups coming out of accelerators and startups that are ready to receive investments from venture capital funds, and that’s how we’re building the pipeline of growth-stage startups,” Ismail explains, highlighting that AUC Angels has invested in a total of eight startups to date, two of which were publicly announced - DentaCarts and Jinni.
The network is the first university-based angel-investment network in the MENA region. It confines itself with no set ticket size, leaving it up to the startup's investment needs. Previous investments have been as low as $30,000 and as high as $250,000.
With 50 active investors, from AUC alumni and friends, it allows them to learn about the basics of angel investment from experienced investors, connect with fellow professionals from a variety of backgrounds and the chance to invest in high-potential startups.
Through its partnership with AUC Venture Lab, AUC Angels has access to vetted and highly scalable startups, that have already launched their products or services, proved traction in the market and have a strong chance for positive returns. AUC Angels trains startups and equips them with business and financial skillset to be able to attract investors.
The network has three main objectives: helping investors land good investments, helping startups get financially ready and facilitate the deal flow between startups and investors from start to end. By joining the network, investors receive a vetted pipeline line of investment-ready startups of at least 12 deals a year.
They also have access to knowledge sessions featuring leading investors and experts in the region; from how to assess startups’ performance to how to serve as a board member in a growing startup. The network will also facilitate pitch nights and deep dive interviews with startups of interest.
On the other hand, for startups to join the AUC Angels’ pipeline, they need to have been operating for at least one year. They need to be registered with a solid financial plan and all due taxes paid, if any. They need to submit a proposed plan for deploying the asked-for capital.
The network has also had a strong relationship with other angel groups. In 2019, AUC Angels signed a syndication agreement with Alex Angels, HIMangel, and Cairo Angels. The syndication entails co-investing in upcoming deals with the purpose of sealing more deals as business angel networks, better follow-up support after closing deals thus helping startups secure other rounds of funding and building a pipeline of startups that have high potential for growth.
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*The content of this article is sponsored by AUC Venture Lab.
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