Egypt-based online fashion rental platform La Reina has closed a $1 million funding round led by local venture capital fund Algebra Ventures, along with U.S.-based 500 Startups.
Formed in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, La Reina is an online platform allowing women to rent their evening and bridal gowns to each other. Users who lend their dresses to La Reina earn money from those who rent. To date, the platform has garnered more than EGP 3.5 million (about $200,000) for dress owners.
“Our number one priority is [to] take our collection from hundreds to thousands. We aim to grow our current closet in order to reach 5,000 items by next January,” said El-Tanawy, regarding the funding. The company also plans to use the investment to expand its team.
Based in Cairo, Algebra Ventures is a $50 million fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. Notable portfolio companies include Eventtus and Elmenus.
Ziad Mokhtar, a managing partner at Algebra Ventures, says La Reina caught his firm’s attention because it’s using technology to target an opportunity in a sizable industry in the Arab world’s most populous nation—fashion. “La Reina is taking the first big step in transforming the way Egyptians consume fashion,” says Mokhtar.
La Reina is also the latest regional company to get backing from global venture capital fund 500 Startups, which has a long history of investing in the Middle East and North Africa.
“[We have] seen similar ideas succeed in the U.S. where the pain point is arguably lower than a place like Egypt,” said Sharif El-Badawi, a partner at 500 Startups. “We were delighted to see how La Reina adapted their strategy and business model around the local nuances and needs on both sides of the marketplace.”