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IFC Supports Tech Entrepreneurs in Egypt with Investment in Venture Capital Fund


In Cairo, Egypt:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +201002247482
E-mail:
rmustafa@ifc.org


Cairo, Egypt, December 14, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $10 million in Algebra Ventures, the largest venture capital fund in Egypt, to help channel financing to technology startups. The investment is part of a larger effort to support entrepreneurship, spur innovation, and create jobs across Egypt.

IFC’s equity investment will help Algebra invest in up to 25 up-and-coming businesses in fields like e-commerce, financial services, and consumer internet services. In addition to creating stable, well-paying jobs, the investment is expected to foster the development of transformative technologies. Funds like Algebra are considered vital in Egypt, where startups often have difficulty securing capital. The technology sector in particular faces major challenges, such as a shortage of larger loans, which are vital to an industry with high costs. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is also providing $10 million to support Algebra Ventures initiatives in Egypt.

“We’re here to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build market-leading companies,” said Tarek Asaad, managing partner of Algebra Ventures. “In the midst of all the challenges our economy is currently facing, the belief that technology and innovation are critical to progress is our main driving force. There has recently been a shortage of venture funding, and IFC’s investment comes at a very important time. The new Algebra Ventures fund will provide much-needed capital to allow startups to accelerate their growth and build lasting value.”


Algebra, which recently closed on $40 million in funding, is the first Egypt-dedicated venture capital fund to come to market since 2008. Algebra Ventures plans to reach a final closing of $50m.

“Startups are a potentially major source of jobs and innovation, but many struggle to get the financing they need to be successful,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC. “By increasing access to capital, we can help these companies grow and create jobs. This investment shows how IFC, our development partners, and other private investors can come together to unlock the transformative potential of the private sector.”

Algebra Ventures is led by managing partners Tarek Assaad, Ziad Mokhtar, and Khaled Ismail, who have spearheaded some of the largest exits in Egypt. Those include payment provider Fawry, which was exited at a $100 million valuation, and SysDSoft, which was acquired by Intel. The fund is backed by three more large institutional investors: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, and CISCO.

Hassan El Khatib, EBRD Managing Director, Equity commented: “The EBRD is delighted to partner with Algebra Ventures in the launch of a new chapter for the Egyptian venture capital market. A dynamic and sustainable economy relies on innovative enterprises, which in turn require capital and advice in their initial stages. EBRD’s $10 million investment seeks to address this lack of early-stage venture capital financing and develop an ecosystem of mentoring for young pioneering enterprises, stimulating the growth of a vibrant venture capital market in Egypt.”

The fund’s investments will predominantly be in the range of $500,000 to $4 million.

Earlier today, Philippe Le Houérou signed an agreement that will see IFC invest $20 million in Hassan Allam Holding (HAH), one of Egypt’s largest private construction companies, to support and strengthen Egypt’s infrastructure and promote job creation,

IFC’s support is part of a broader strategy to catalyze the venture capital ecosystem and spur entrepreneurial activity in Egypt, where small and medium enterprises contribute 25 percent of gross domestic product. It is also part of a new effort by IFC to provide funds and advice to startups during the early phase of their development.


About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

About Algebra Ventures
Algebra Ventures is an Egyptian venture capital firm focused primarily on Series A and Series B investments in Egypt and the MENA region. It secured its first closing in December 2016 at $40 million, backed by the International Finance Corporation, the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Cisco. It was founded by three partners who have collectively invested in some of the most successful startups in Egypt today and have realized some of the country’s most prominent technology exits. Algebra Ventures aims to help the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs build unique, scalable market leaders and develop the growing Egyptian entrepreneurship ecosystem. www.algebraventures.com

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