Egyptian Entrepreneur On Stage With Obama at GES in Silicon Valley

The Egyptian entrepreneur Mai Medhat, Co-Founder of Eventtus, was invited to the stage with President Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Silicon Valley. This high profile appearance sheds the light on the dynamic entrepreneurship society in Egypt.

A New FinTech Accelerator in Egypt

Cairo-based Flat6labs has announced the launch of a new fintech accelerator, the 1864 Accelerator, in cooperation with Barclays Bank in Egypt.

1864 accelerator will provide different types of support for entrepreneurs, including seed investment of 150,000 EGP (US$16,900), and was named after the year Barclays Bank launched in Egypt.

The accelerator will operate based on the same model used by Flat6Labs.

Egyptian VC Algebra Capital Launches a $ 50 Million Fund

Egyptian investor Ziad Mokhtar says he has almost closed a new $50 million venture capital fund, named Algebra Capital.

According to Mokhtar, $40 million has been raised, as he said during the Road to Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on Wednesday.

The new fund is raised by Algebra Ventures, a new Egyptian VC firm founded in 2015 by KI Angels’ Khaled Ismail, and Tarek Assaad and Ziad Mokhtar who are both principals at EFG Hermes VC fund Ideavelopers.

Mokhtar has reportedly been talking with entrepreneurs over the last few months and he expected the first deals to be closed in the summer of 2016.

Algebra will target Series A and B investments primarily in technology startups. Mokhtar however also said the fund wants its investment to be as broad as possible, describing Algebra as “opportunistic and generalist”.

He added that the new fund will typically invest between USD 500,000 and USD 1,500,000 in the form of Series A and B investments, which are “crucial for Egypt not to lose momentum”, as he referred to the developments of the Egyptian startup ecosystem.

Half of the funds raised so far have come from the Egyptian-American Enterprise fund (EAEF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which have committed $10 million each.

Branson vs Musk: Colors of Entrepreneurship

The race to space does not seem to be reaching the finish line soon, and the battle of billionaires seems to be only starting. Both men are self-made men who are working hard to take human race into space as CNN puts it. Both have extravagant interests and ambitions. Branson expects the journey from New York to Sydney to take 30 minutes. Musk expects a train journey from San Fransisco to Los Angeles to take 30 minutes.  Both have exuberant characters and a set of extraordinary skills. Additionally, they seem to be heading towards a head-to-head competition for low orbit space communication. There are fears that there will be literally no “space” for both in the space.

While extraverts are masters at influencing people and communicating their vivid visions and reaching the maximum potential by aligning vast amounts of resources, introverts also have their own share of strengths.

Up to this point, the two men have too many similarities. They share interest in strange causes. Whereas Branson contributes to rescuing swans in England, Musk supports efforts to keep artificial intelligence in check. Obviously, both share a lot of enthusiasm for adventure as well, but this is not what interests us, neither are the other similarities … What interests us most is the difference, and particularly personality differences.

Musk is an introvert, an extreme case of introversion indeed, whereas Branson is an extravert, and a good example indeed, despite the fact that he repeatedly mentioned his stage fright and occasional introspection.  The comparison of both men gives a clear and a living example of the ability of both personality types to  flourish if individual’s strengths are exploited. While extraverts are masters at influencing people and communicating their vivid visions and reaching the maximum potential by aligning vast amounts of resources, introverts also have their own share of strengths. Introspective minds are always more capable at observing hidden patterns, analyzing and strategizing for better or worse.

Diversity is the source of specialization, and specialization is the core for innovation.

The main point though is to realize one’s main strengths and weaknesses and possess a high degree of self-awareness to team up with the right people to complement the skill set. As illustrated in the previous post on colors of entrepreneurship diversity is the source of specialization, and specialization is the core for innovation. In the example of Musk and Branson, both work hard for what is seemingly a very similar goal, but their strategies are much different. Each of them leverages what he does best, and this is the key. Irrespective of the personal differences in character or style what is seemingly impossible can always be achieved if passion prevails, whether it is the passion for glorious endings or simply for a memorable endeavor.

What are the differences between incubators and accelerators?

Incubators typically provide startup companies with flexible programs, products and services, such as mentoring, office space and in-kind support for varying lengths of time based on startup’s needs and based on the incubator graduation policies.

On the other hand, most accelerators take a group of companies, a cohort, or a cycle, through a specific process over a predefined period of time, concluded by a public pitch event or demo day.

Accelerators also generally offer their services along with seed financing in exchange for for equity, while many incubators do not make this type of financial commitment.