Innoventures and Fascila Launch Startup Reactor Acceleration Program

by Omar Aysha, October 21, 2012

Last week, Innoventures announced the launch of a new entrepreneurial support program called ‘Startup Reactor’.  

Launched in partnership with Fascila Technologies, it promises to be “a unique acceleration platform designed to enable the success of innovative start-ups targeting a number of opportunity industry areas in Egypt. The program will create an environment to connect entrepreneurs, investors and mentors, and will host, coach and invest in Egyptian seed-stage start-ups for a duration of 6 months.”

The program is looking for innovative and financially promising start-ups in the strategic areas of clean technology, energy, electronics, media and market intelligence. They’re also looking for inclusive businesses or ICT-enabled platforms in broader opportunity areas such as healthcare, education and agri-business. Fascila Technologies will manage ‘VLSI Reactor’, a subsidiary program that will run in parallel focusing on start-ups in the electronics and semiconductor industry.

Innoventures’ model differs from other existing local models in one basic regard. Not only will qualifying startups receive seed funding from an investor with office facilities and an “immersive adaptive training program," they will also get a committed mentor who will receive an equity stake in the venture, thus becoming a part of the business and having added incentive to help the venture succeed. Startup Reactor will also cater to CSR departments of companies that would like to work with startups in a particular sector. 

Innoventures started in 2011 as an innovation platform to bring the “wealth of original Egyptian ideas to market” by catering to today’s entrepreneurs. The company caught the attention of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem when it designed and executed the ‘Start with Google’ (Ebda2) competition in Egypt.

The company is consistently trying new things. It hosts a number of startups in its Venture Hub, and also runs a weekly idea sharing and networking program called ‘Startup Circus’.  The ‘Circus’ hosts a speaker every Wednesday night at a free to attend event, and  speakers have included luminaries of Egyptian entrepreneurship such as Omar Soudodi, Ziad Ali, Amr Mohsen, and Fady Ramzy.

The strategic partnership with Fascila will allow the VLSI Reactor to become the electronics arm of the program, specifically catering to the more advanced needs of semiconductor ventures. Fascila is an electronics industry pioneer, the first to provide a number of semiconductor-based smart wireless automation innovations in Egypt and the Middle East.  Fascila’s CEO Mohammad Omara has long been a proponent of growing Egypt’s semiconductor sector, as Egypt is lagging far behind in the field.

Nora Kafafi, programs manager at Innoventures, said, “Startup Reactor and VLSI Reactor will together serve as an ideal platform for entrepreneurs looking for a complete start-up acceleration package. For investors and mentors, it serves as a portal to access these innovative ventures in the industry areas with the greatest potential for growth and impact.”

Startup Reactor’s first cycle will be in December 2012. A showcase event will be held on the 19th November 2012 at a separate venue to kickstart the program, a sample of the participating start-ups will pitch their ideas, and entrepreneurs will be able to network with potential investors and mentors.

Interested entrepreneurs, investors and mentors are invited to contact Innoventures at info@innoventures.me. For start-ups interested in applying, or for further information, please visit www.innoventures.me.

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Omar Aysha is an AUC graduate, then UK video game developer, turned Euro business IT consultant then serial entrepreneur, turned writer.  He now helps start-ups as a non-executive board member, and has two media projects of his own under development.

 
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