BasharSoft, the startup behind leading Egyptian recruiting Wuzzuf, has spent the last 5 years surviving the turmoil of Egypt’s recent history. But it’s come through that to become a rare-commodity: An Egyptian company that has raised significant European VC cash.
It’s just closed a Series A of $1.7 million from Sweden-based Vostok New Ventures and UK-based Piton Capital, in addition to previous investment from 500 Startups and Endure Capital. It’s probably fair to say that raising $1.7m in Egypt is closer to raising a $7m+ round in the US, to put that in context. Vostok are investors in Delivery Hero, while Piton are investors in FanDuel, both ‘unicorns’.
This also means that this is the probably the largest fund-raising round in Egypt for a very long time (obviously, there just isn’t that much historical data). This is also Vostok and Piton’s first investment in Egypt and also the Middle East. Previous investors in BasharSoft included Egypt-based angel investors Con O’Donnell and Tarek Fahim – in addition to Amr Awadallah, CTO and Co-founder of Cloudera.
It’s also been a story that has run in parallel which huge changes in the country, not least the Arab Spring, and the recent turmoil. BasharSoft launched its first job site in Jan 2011 – one week before the Egyptian revolution, and then had to bootstrap for 3 years until reaching positive cash flow in 2013 and getting seed investment in 2014 from 500 Startups. The company almost shut down twice during that time.
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Although it’s flagship platform is Wuzzuf, which now process, over 2 million job applications resulting in more than 40,000 people getting hired at 5,000+ companies, the company is also building recruitment platforms regionally.
Ameer Sherif, CEO and co-founder at Wuzzuf, believes the “potential for tech startups in Egypt is huge. The opportunities are massive in a 90m+ population country, which is larger than the Gulf states and Levant countries combined. Internet penetration doubled in past 5 years.”
However, Wuzzuf is not the only player in the Egyptian market. Bayt.com operates regionally, and ever-present cloners Rocket Internet are also understood to be looking at the jobs classifieds business in the MENA region.