Egyptian investment group Cairo Angels has invested almost US$1 million in eight startups in the last 18 months, and has plans to expand from its predominantly tech interests.
Founded in early 2012 as a small group of friends looking for startups to invest in, Cairo Angels has grown into a community of 50 investors and entrepreneurs.
Although most of the group’s investments have been in the tech space so far, it is planning to invest in all sectors, especially focusing on the agricultural, logistics and energy sectors.
Founder Hossam Allam told HumanIPO the group was formed on the rationale that investors working together would be more interesting for entrepreneurs than those working alone.
“Cairo Angels’ members invest their personal money on a deal-by-deal basis,” he said. “No corporate or institutional money is in the room. We cooperate on sourcing, screening and due diligence but at the end each person makes a personal investment decision and writes a personal cheque.”
As the group’s first investment was only made 18 months ago, Allam said it was still too early for it to be expecting returns on its investment, though he was optimistic over the potential of this in the future.
“Some of our startups are now in negotiation for second rounds of funding at valuations that are substantially above where we invested,” he said. “So the value of the companies we are holding has appreciated.”
He said Egyptian internet and mobile startups were competitive with anything in the world, and could scale their ideas globally.
“Our top performers are spectacular. There is no reason why Egyptian start-ups cannot be serving the most developed markets. At the median our entrepreneurs often lack the exposure and self belief needed to compete regionally and globally.”
Cairo Angels believes Egypt is a golden opportunity for investors, as a result of its low cost base, underserved opportunities, talented young people and lack of competition.
Its portfolio includes Instabug, a bug reporting tool recently nominated as the only African finalist in The Next Web’s Mobile Startup Rally, overcoming competition from more than 100 hundred applicants worldwide.