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StartUp MENA awards €2000 cash prize to top pitching start-up at RiseUp

Winning Egyptian start-up, ZEX, was called to the stage to receive €2000 cash prize in the exclusive “Investor Lounge” hosted by Startup MENA as part of the event line up at this year’s Rise Up Summit. After showcasing their app with a killer pitch and an advertising solution with great potential, international and local investors unanimously agreed to reward the recently launched ZEX team with the cash prize to support the new and upcoming business.

The ‘pitch & mentoring’ platform in the Investor Lounge successfully showcased Egypt’s entrepreneurial talent and provided invaluable feedback to entrepreneurs. Startup MENA presented five of the best and most prominent tech startups currently rocking Egypt’s ecosystem to a line up of 30 international and local investors eager to support and invest in Egyptian start-ups. “It was an amazing experience – the level of knowledge from mentors and investors was beyond any events we have attended in Egypt”, says Moataz Kotb, Founder of ZEX. He continues, “…the knowledge accumulated from these sessions alone will keep us working for the next 2-3 months”.

There was a significant mix of international and local investors who took their time to be part of the Summit this year in Cairo. International investors like Playfair Capital and Hoxton Ventures took the journey from London to Cairo to especially attend this edition of Investor Lounge as well as investors Alfonso Von Wuncheim (Future Vents Private EQUITY) and Keith Wallace (De Investeers Club). There were regional and local investors also featured in the Investor Lounge such as Hanan Yousef from OT Ventures, Ziad Mokhtar from Ideavelopers, Hossam Allam from Cairo Angels, Emad Barsoum from 8 Miles, and lastly angel investor and serial entrepreneur Con O’Donnell.

Investor Lounge
Investor Lounge

The pitching line up consisted of some of Egypt’s most interesting fundraising tech startups: Iqraaly, SpeakOL (former Naqeshny), Wall Street Chamber, Instabug and winning start-up Zex. The start-ups were selected from amongst 100 applicants and went through assessments and interviews in order to get through to the top five startups to pitch. “We are very happy with the turnout of this edition of Investor Lounge. We couldn’t have asked for a better line-up of startups”, says JakobKistorp, founding partner of VentureScout.

The format was based upon inviting start-ups to pitch their business idea in five minutes followed by a short Q&A from the investors in the room. Following the pitches was a mentoring session where 10 investors continued to mentor each startup in 20-minute coaching sessions. “This is what really generates value for the startups”, JakobKistorp says. “… and for the investors it is a great way to get to know the teams and their solution better”, he adds.

Over several panels and workshops at RiseUp, Egypt’s entrepreneurs gained interest both in the US and in Europe. Startup MENA was happy to provide a format that can provide Egyptian startups with a global focus. “It’s always interesting to see the startup landscape outside the UK, especially in the Middle East” mentioned Ishaan Malhi, International investor of Playfair Capital

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