Takeoff: Egyptian Startup Ecosystem Soars By Raising $190 Million
By Jonathan Ntege Lubwama
- Egyptian founders raised $190M in 2020
- There are 2 startup unicorns in Egypt, SWVL and Fawry
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in North Africa and boasts of one of the most advanced startup ecosystems in the region. Founders in the country raised $190 million in 2020, with the majority of that funding going to fintech, healthcare, and pharma as well as e-commerce startups. Egypt’s startup scene has been a standout for half a decade now with its cumulative annual growth rate over the past five years at 100%, according to Magnitt.
Why This Matters: Egypt accounts for almost a quarter of the region’s nearly 600 million people, and is the only African country other than Nigeria to have more than one unicorn. In August 2020, Fawry became the country’s first unicorn after it went public on the Egyptian Exchange. Another Egyptian startup, SWVL, is set to go public on the NASDAQ at a $1.5 billion valuation through a SPAC merger with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital. This deal will be the first of its kind anywhere in Africa.
Egypt is a member of Africa’s big 4 alongside Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, which are the countries that attract 80% of all venture capital in Africa. Notable deals in Egypt include health tech startup Vezeeta's Series C+. It raised $40 million from investors like Gulf Capital and Saudi Technology Ventures. SWVL also raised a $42 million Series C+ in 2019 from Vostok New Ventures, BECO Capital, and Endeavour Catalyst. The biggest deal ever for an Egyptian startup was Alfa Medical Group’s $100 million private equity round investment from CDC Group.
What’s Next: Egypt is projected to have 125 universities by 2030 providing a steady pipeline of talent. With its high rates of tech adoption, large and youthful population, a high number of European expatriates, and increased support from the government, the Egyptian startup ecosystem is set to grow even stronger and become a major player globally.
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