“Proud of our local-yet global entrepreneurial ecosystem that is sustaining growth year after year; serving not only the local market but successfully present in African and Middle Eastern markets as well.”
Cairo’s ecosystem continues to grow despite global challenges. Investors poured $517 million into the country in 2022, up 3% from 2021. Additionally, 160 deals were closed — more than in any other country in the MENA region, according to Magnitt’s 2022 Egypt Venture Capital Report. With 93.6% of Egypt’s startups based in Cairo most of this activity was focused on the city. Cairo jumped from the 71-80 range to the 51-60 range in the Emerging Ecosystems ranking 2022, a reflection of its growing importance.
In November 2022 American VC fund 500 Global signed an agreement to open an office in Cairo, its first in Africa, and to launch several programs to support Egyptian startups.UNDP has plans to launch a $1 billion startup financing facility for Africa and establish eight hubs across the continent in 2023, including one in Cairo. In December 2022, Indian multinational Tech Mahindra signed an agreement with Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency to establish a global delivery center in Cairo that will hire more than 1,000 employees.
The Smart Cities cohort of Plug and Play Egypt welcomed its first 25 startups in 2022, and VC firm Algebra Ventures finalized the first close of its second $100 million Egypt-dedicated fund in Q4 2022. COP27 was hosted in Egypt in 2022. TNW hosted Hangout with VCs in Cairo in May 2022. Cairo ICT was held in November 2022, and the fourth edition of the Startups Without Borders in February 2023. Innovation Summit and Techne Summit 2023 took place in March 2023, with the latter gathering 30,000 attendees.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
Egypt’s Fintechs raised $217 million in 2022, an 18% increase on 2021. Bank penetration grew 131% from 2016 to 2022, and the Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022–2025 aims to further expand access. In January 2023, the FinTech Egypt initiative launched the country’s first digital training academy. In partnership with Global Ventures and Mastercard, three major Egyptian banks have launched an $85 million fund to invest in Fintechs in MENA. MoneyFellows raised a $31 million Series B in October 2022. In February 2023, MNT-Halan raised $200 million, making it Egypt’s first unicorn.
Egypt’s young population and rising internet and mobile penetration rates are driving the expansion of Ecommerce. In 2022, consumers purchased 3.4% of their goods online, with this figure expected to grow to 4.5% by 2025. According to In Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report, 17.6% of Egypt’s funded startups are in Ecommerce. Home furnishings marketplace Homzmart raised a $23 million venture round in August 2022. Digital pharmacy platform Grinta raised an $8 million seed round in November 2022.
Logistics & Transportation
Nearly 80 transportation projects are in development in Egypt, including port development, marine passenger terminals, and multimodal transport. Together, these projects will cost an estimated $6.6 billion. The World Bank has approved a $400 million agreement to enhance Egypt’s logistics and transportation sector and support a shift towards low-carbon transportation. Parcel delivery company Mylerz raised a $9.6 million seed round in May 2022. Digital freight marketplace Naqla raised a $10.5 million pre-Series A the same month.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Cairo
Egypt is located at the crossroads of three continents and sits close to major strategic routes such as the Suez Canal. The country is easily reached via 27 international airports, with major European cities just a few hours away. Egypt’s population is growing by about 2 million people a year, and the country boasts the third largest economy in the region. Egypt is an ideal bridge for trade between Europe and MENA.
Young, Skilled Talent
The median age in Egypt is 24.7, and Cairo is home to several high-quality universities, including the American University in Cairo, British University in Egypt, and Cairo University. Each year, over 600,000 graduates join the workforce, and 80% of the working population speaks English or other European languages. In late 2022, ITIDA made 29 new agreements with technology multinational companies, setting the path for 34,000 new jobs to be created within three years.
The IT Industry Development Agency is a one-stop shop for foreign IT and business services companies looking to invest in the country. Its Knowledge City Innovation Center provides startups with three years of exemption from rent and utilities and free incubation, among other incentives. The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) further supports entrepreneurs. AUC Venture Lab, Egypt’s first university-based accelerator, operates in Cairo.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA)
The IT Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is the executive arm of the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Established in 2004, ITIDA’s core mission is to spearhead the development of Egypt’s IT industry to increase its global competitiveness and make it a key contributor to the country’s economic growth.
Key Ecosystem Players
American University in Cairo - Venture Labs
Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC)
News from the Ecosystem
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