Y Combinator’s latest summer cohort contains the largest group of startups from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in its history, with eight regional startups participating in the famous accelerator programme, which has graduated the likes of Stripe, Dropbox and Airbnb.
While Mena-based startups comprise less than 10 per cent of this summer’s cohort, the number of startups from the region has been steadily rising, reflecting the rising global interest in the region’s tech ecosystem.
The eight startups selected are fintechs Baraka, Nomod and Amenli, e-commerce and logistics platforms Shipblu, Chari and Freterium and Odiggo and Pylon, an infrastructure management software for the water and electricity sector. The startups are set to receive $125,000 in exchange for 7 per cent equity and will pitch remotely to an audience of over 1000 investors during the demo day slated for this August. YC’s last winter batch featured Egypt-based fintech NowPay and Dayra and UAE-based fintech Ziina.
The fintech, e-commerce and logistics sectors are the three fastest growing sectors in Mena in terms of investment, a result of the rise in online shopping and increased digitisation. In the first six months of 2021, fintech startups raised $306 million, e-commerce startups raised $181 million while logistics startups raised $103 million.
Here’s the list of Mena startups participating in Y Combinator’s summer 2021 batch:
Nomod: Founded by Omar Kassim in 2019 in the UAE, Nomod enables businesses to accept card payments.
Odiggo: Founded by Ahmed Naser and Ahmed Omar in 2019 in the UAE, Odiggo directly sells car parts and accessories sourced from different suppliers.
Amenli: Founded by Shady El Tohfa in 2020 in Egypt, Amenli is a digital insurance brokerage that enables its clients to buy insurance in less than 10 minutes.
Chari: Founded by 2020 by Ismael Belkhayat and Sophia Alj in Morocco, Chari is a B2B e-commerce platform that connects FMCG store owners and retailers to suppliers.
Freterium: Founded by Omar El Kouhene and Mehdi Cherif Alami in Morocco, Freterium is a SaaS platform that aims to disrupt the logistic supply chain.
ShipBlu: Founded by Ali Nasser, Ahmed ElKawass and Abdelrahman Hosny in 2020 in Egypt, ShipBlu offers full-stack last-mile delivery and fulfillment solutions for e-commerce businesses.
Baraka: Founded by Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja in 2020 in the UAE, Baraka offers a commission-free investment app for users in the Middle East.
Pylon: Founded by Ahmed Ashour and Omar Radi in 2017 in Egypt, Pylon is a SaaS platform for the management of infrastructure for electricity and water companies.
This article was updated 5 September 2021 to reflect Pylon's addition to the cohort.