American VC firm Openner launches accelerator program to invest in 50 Egyptian startups

EGYPT – Openner, a Washington DC-based venture capital firm, has launched a new accelerator program targeting to recruit and invest in 50 Egyptian startups.

The VC firm announced that it is currently accepting applications from Egyptian start-ups with the aim of helping the viable ones expand and scale their operations locally, regionally and globally through its accelerator.

Openner, pre-seed and seed VC firm, has so far invested US$25 million in over 100 portfolio companies in the United States since 2016.

The VC firm provides startups with funding, technology and business resources as well infrastructure, access to customers and investors.

Its new Egypt-based accelerator will aims to work with 50 startups in order to make them ready for growth or acquisition.

The VC firm says that applications for its accelerator program are open all-year round, as no specified one-size-fits-all programme will be implemented.

It explained that each portfolio startup will be subject to a custom-designed programme tailored to its needs, combining cash injection with growth resources while focusing on the startup’s product development, tech development and distribution.

“We want startups to organically grow into revenue generating companies without having to raise funds, match them with a strategic investor when they are ready for rapid growth and position them as acquisition-ready,” founder and general partner of Openner Ash Rofail said.

Rofail explained that the VC firm has a very strong and proven track record building companies that have exited or have become leaders in their target industries with 10 per cent of its portfolio companies exiting within three years of operation.

Openner is entering the Egyptian market because it believes in its geographic and cultural centrality, and its promising tech talent, Rofail explained.

Egypt is the fastest growing startup ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to a report published in by Magnitt,.

The rising number of startups Egypt is partly attributed to a growing interest in entrepreneurship in Egypt.

Almost 76 per cent of Egyptians, mostly youth, perceive entrepreneurship as a good career choice, compared to a global average of 61.6 per cent.

The thriving start-up ecosystem has caused significant spike in the number of venture capital companies, and international funds seeking to invest in some of Egypt’s most viable start-ups.

Last year, Egypt topped the list of largest recipients of foreign direct investments in Africa with total foreign investments amounting to US$9 billion, according to a UNCTAD report.

Oppener is the latest entrant in the Egyptian startup Scene, becoming part of a growing umber of venture capital (VC) firms, accelerators and incubators in Egypt which includes prominent names like FastLabs, EdVentures, Sawiri and Endure Capital among others.

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