In early December, regional entrepreneurs, investors and business executives gathered in downtown Cairo for the fifth edition of the annual RiseUp Summit. In-between keynote speeches, workshops and networking, the three-day event featured a string of announcements including new investments, partnerships and the creation of additional resources for regional entrepreneurs.
“We’re thrilled to see the Summit kick off with such incredible participation from all over the world. It’s a testament to the important role entrepreneurship plays in our region, which pushes us every year to create an experience filled with real opportunities for startups,” said Dalia Kamar, RiseUp Summit Manager.
On the investment front, the Egyptian startup Elves, an app that connects people with personal assistants, announced it had closed a seed round of more than $2 million. Investors included Emaar Industries & Investments, The Dubai Angels, the Kauffman Fellows Syndicate and several others from the region and the U.S.
Elsewhere, pioneering global private equity investor The Abraaj Group announced the launch of Bakery, a growth market early-stage investment and ecosystem building platform. Bakery is intended to provide entrepreneurs with access to Abraaj’s platform of global resources and local support.
Another announcement came from EdVentures, an Egypt-based corporate venture capital firm focused on education, which revealed a partnership with Nahdet Misr Group, a regional publishing firm, to launch an investment fund dedicated solely to education and education-tech investments. The size of the fund was not revealed.
U.S.-based online education provider Udacity revealed it is launching in the Middle East, and announced a partnership with the American University in Cairo (AUC). The new program in collaboration with AUC will focus initially on data science and mobile development by combining online curriculums with physical classrooms.
Elsewhere, Seedstars, a platform for tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets, announced it will be opening a space in Cairo in January.
The event also saw demos from the likes of U.S. tech company Stripe, which opened up its invite-only service Stripe Atlas to RiseUp attendees. Stripe Atlas is a service designed to assist in the establishment of internet businesses, from incorporation to legal and banking infrastructure.