249Startups launches Sudan’s first equity fund Rhino Investments
- Sudan-based innovation hub 249Startups has launched an equity fund “Rhino Investments” to boost the Sudanese entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- 249Startups has allocated $500,000 in capital to fund up to 14 Sudanese Seed-stage startups/SMEs, as well as an acceleration programme to be launched in the first quarter of 2022, helping startups scale and grow through workshops, monitoring and networking opportunities.
- Founded in April 2018 by Mutaz Mohamednour, Khansa Elhag and Ahmed Elmurtada, 249Startups is a mission-driven innovation hub based in Khartoum aiming to revitalise entrepreneurship in Sudan’s economy.
Sudan’s leading innovation hub 249Startups has announced the official launch of the country’s first startup-focused impact investment fund.
Rhino Investments is 249 Startups’ newest funding vehicle that aims to create an inclusive startup ecosystem for entrepreneurs while creating networks between impact-driven and scalable startups, SMEs, and investors through the latest, most efficient, de-risking investment processes Sudan has to offer.
As part of this launch, 249Startups is introducing the Impact Acceleration Programme: a three-month programme that provides business knowledge, customised services, and capital, in exchange for the equity of the startups. The Impact Acceleration programme will target minor ownership in pre-seed to seed-stage companies based in Sudan and will seek to be their active investor with typical cheque sizes of up to $15,000 in addition to a larger ticket size on follow-up investment for a selected number of companies.
The vision of Rhino is to continuously strengthen and reshape the private sector in Sudan by building sustainable startups/SMEs and cultivating a culture of socially responsible investments while encouraging youth empowerment and job creation. Through The Impact acceleration programme, 249Startups will continue its journey to transform the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sudan.
"We can't think of a more important time to invest in Sudanese young entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and trying to make an impact. Empowering our entrepreneurs, showing them we're all still here to support them and creating hope is more important now than ever. We're also proud to partner with 249Startups who have worked diligently to make this happen!," Sally Elatta, founder of Sudan NextGen, CEO AgilityHealth US.
The Impact Acceleration programme’s first cohort will be launched in the first quarter of 2022 with the goal of bridging the funding gap in pre-seed and seed-stage businesses. Moreover, the programme aims to invest in seven post-MVP stage ventures with ticket sizes of up to $30,000 per venture each year in exchange for minor equity, and provide support with capital, talent acquisition, distribution, private sector linkages, customised services, and board nominations.
“We are not afraid to be a founder’s first investor. Matter of fact, our investors base provides up to $25,000 on follow-up funding after completing the Rhino impact acceleration programme. Through the acceleration programme, we aim to invest a total of $500,000 in 14 companies within the next two years. And it doesn’t stop there — we also aim to create and support over 500 jobs for youth in Sudan,” Ahmed Elmurtada, Managing Partner at 249Startups.
The Impact Acceleration program will be implemented by 249Startups who are joined by numerous private and impact investors within Sudan and across the Sudanese diaspora, including well-known international leaders in youth employment. The programme attracted funding contributions from impact investors such as 249Startups, Sudan NextGEN, and various Sudanese angel investors. The programme is also backed by CFYE in efforts to nurture the growth & development of early-stage companies.
Applications to apply to the programme and the investments will open during the beginning of March 2022 for Sudanese entrepreneurs running businesses that aim to scale and create employment for youth.