One of the most common complaints I hear from start-ups is the lack of financing. It is therefore good to see that ABAN, the largest network of Angel Investors in Africa, and AfriLabs, the largest pan-African network of technology and innovation centres, have introduced an initiative to support the African start-up ecosystem and deliver real, measurable impact to stakeholders. This programme, called Catalyst, is a cross-stakeholder initiative that aims to increase the pool of capital available to promising African entrepreneurs, and support the startup ecosystem including hubs. Catalyst operates as a co-investment fund that will match investments from qualifying angel investors. Funds from Catalyst will be released after startups have received investments from Angel investors that are registered with ABAN. To be eligible, startups are required to register on the Catalyst platform via hubs that are members of the AfriLabs network. The performance of participating startups will be reported and monitored via the Catalyst platform.
Catalyst is raising funds from various institutional partners to add to a pool which will serve as a matching fund to encourage investment in viable startups by verified angel investors. The first Catalyst co-investment fund will be available towards the end of 2019 with a funding partner which will be announced soon. The initiative hopes to encourage more institutional funders.
Meanwhile, in what is one of the largest ever seed rounds raised by a start-up in the MENA reg
Ben Halim, the B2B start-up connects informal food and grocery retailers with suppliers in the country’s most under-served geographies via an easy-to-use app. Egypt’s $45 billion FMCG food retail market is heavily fragmented and multi-layered, which presents multiple trade obstacles for the country’s 400,000+ traditional retailers. The goal is to re-engineer the informal grocery and food market in Egypt, using empowering technologies and innovative supply chains designed to fit the needs of retailers in their own areas.