Egypt's Flat6Labs launching $95M seed fund for African startups
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) seed investor, Flat6Labs, has announced the launch of a new $95 million seed fund aimed at nurturing the growth and development of early-stage tech startups on the African continent.
Flat6Labs has been investing in promising startups in North Africa since it was founded 12 years ago, with more than $16 million invested in startups, and over $191 million raised in follow-on funding. It says it has created more than 2,500 direct jobs and 80,000 indirect jobs through its first two funds in Egypt and Tunisia.
Headquartered in Egypt, the new Africa Seed Fund (ASF) will focus on three main investment territories: North Africa, West Africa and East Africa.
Flat6Labs said it will extend its reach into several new territories including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Senegal, amongst others.
The fund will invest in more than 160 early-stage startups over the next five years that operate in the technology sector in Africa.
The aim is to focus on impactful sectors that accelerate digital inclusion through the use of information technologies and industries which contribute to addressing social and environmental challenges, such as health tech, fintech, edtech, green tech, agritech, climate tech, etc.
Flat6Labs joins the likes of Axian Group which earlier this month also announced a new investment arm aimed at funding Africa's fledgling technology startups.
"We are extremely excited about the launch of the Africa Seed Fund. Africa is one of the most exciting regions to invest in tech and innovation, with huge untapped potential and unique business opportunities. We will leverage our experience and knowledge to guide the startup founders to create truly scalable, investment-ready, Africa-based companies," Ramez El-Serafy, general partner for ASF and Flat6Labs CEO said in a statement.
The significant influx of capital from the ASF has the potential to create more than 14,000 jobs, provide support to more than 1,200 founders with 20% female participation, and generate revenue of more than $700 million, the company said.
The African tech ecosystem has continued to grow in 2022. According to the Partech 2022 Africa Venture Capital Report, funding for the African sector increased to $6.5 billion in 2022, up from $6 billion in 2021.
Flat6Labs' Africa Seed Fund will invest in companies that are in pre-seed up to pre-series A stage, with tickets ranging from $150,000 to $500,000 through the Flat6Labs Africa Seed Program and will also be providing seed tickets to seasoned founders independently of the program. ASF will also be able to reinvest into portfolio companies in follow-on rounds.
"The Africa Seed Fund is well-positioned to be a catalyst for driving long-term positive change that the youth of Africa really deserve, and to be providing resources to the brightest of them, while accelerating the future of the African continent. The program is designed to provide entrepreneurs with the resources that they need to be able to grow and to scale-up their businesses to new heights," added Dina el-Shenoufy, general partner for ASF and Flat6Labs CIO.
"We have observed that the entrepreneurial market has matured over the years with a new wave of founders that are more experienced. We will also cater for these founders and offer higher ticket sizes to support these companies and a different track to the program," el-Shenoufy added.
Flat6Labs' Africa Seed Program provides portfolio companies joining the program with seed funding, regional business support, access to a regional network of seasoned local mentors, as well as regulatory and logistical support to set up and grow their businesses.
The program also adapts to be regional with a hybrid model allowing for physical on-the-ground interactions in local markets while combining virtual elements that allow for cohort interactions across the entire fund region.
Two cohorts will be run annually, with an average of ten to 15 startups per cohort. The first investments in the selected startups are planned to be made before the end of 2023, Flat6Labs said.
The Africa Seed Fund is being established with the support of the GIZ on behalf of the German government, and through the Egyptian Agricultural Innovation Project (AIP) and Scaling Digital Agricultural Innovations through Start-ups project (SAIS).
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*Top image is of Walid Triki, Flat6Labs general manager for Tunisia; Dina el-Shenoufy, Flat6Labs CIO and ASF general partner; and Ramez El-Serafy Flat6Labs CEO and ASF general partner. (Source: Flat6Labs)
— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa