Official banner of the Crowdfunding Accelerator Program by Zoomaal.
One of the biggest crowdfunding platforms targeting the MENA region, Zoomaal, has announced the launch of its first Crowdfunding Accelerator Program, in partnership with Egypt’s Flat6Labs, who also have offices in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Beirut, and Jordanian accelerator Oasis500.
The program guarantees to approve for seed investment projects in tech, the Internet of Things, wearable technologies, and other physical B2C products if they launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. “We want to help and support the makers communities in the region, this is why this program is aimed at them specifically,” says Abdallah Absi, the founder and CEO of Zoomaal.
After closing their campaigns, projects will receive acceleration funds and join either Oasis500 and Flat6Labs.
Absi told Wamda that the point of the program, and the goal of Zoomaal, is to give enough of an incentive for the maker community to come to Zoomaal to crowdfund their projects, rather than using global platforms. “We want to create buzz around this industry and encourage entrepreneurs to come up with tech products,” Absi told Wamda.
As a healthier entrepreneurial ecosystem opens its doors for new ideas from the region, accelerators have to be more meticulous over the products and businesses they are accelerating, and there is a need to make more educated decisions.
“We’ve been trying to develop this program for the past six months,” Absi said. “It wasn’t easy to get the accelerators on board because this is not a conventional, and not a proven model, and we are trying to do this for the first time in the region, and even globally.”
Despite it being difficult to get the accelerators on board Absi is not dissuaded from welcoming others. “We are open to all accelerators to join this program,” he said.
How does the program work?
Initially, projects should apply to the program with a one minute video pitch, team details, and a product overview. Team leads from Zoomaal will select viable crowdfunded products and applications before sending them off to the partner accelerators.
The accelerators will review the applications and qualify a few companies to receive matched funding.
Successfully funded projects will receive between $10,000 and $30,000 of matched funding (in return for equity of 5 to 20 percent), and continue afterwards with the accelerator. For example, if a project applies to the program with a $40,000 funding need, a partner accelerator will approve the project and decide whether to give it $20,000 for 10 percent equity only if they have launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise the other $20,000.
During their crowdfunding campaigns the projects will receive support from Zoomaal and the accelerators in kind as assistance with marketing strategies, dedicated mentorship, support, and access to video production services.
“We have multiple packages to support the projects in building their campaigns, and the accelerators will also put aside small budgets for the ones they approve to help them launch a successful campaign,” Absi explains.
With companies often witnessing a spike in valuation after running a crowdfunding campaign, and crowdfunding success stories coming out of the region, like RoadieTuner, Instabeat and 1Sheeld, Zoomaal is tapping into a proven model for helping startups get off the ground.