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This article was published on October 12, 2011

Cairo-based accelerator Flat6 Labs launches with 5 startups

Cairo-based accelerator Flat6 Labs launches with 5 startups
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

Newly established Cairo-based startup accelerator, Flat6 Labs, who we first saw at Startup Weekend Alexandria, has just announced the first startups which will be spending 3 months under the group’s mentorship.

The startups will have access to facilities and guidance, as well as seed funding ranging from approximately $8,000 to $12,000. In return, Flat6 Labs will get 10-15% equity in each startup.

The startup world in Egypt is beginning to thrive, at the creativity stage, but how many of them survive and become a success is another story. Flat6 Labs aims to do something about this, by providing all the tools necessary not only for a chance of survival, but for a chance to succeed.

Founded by Sawari Ventures and the American University in Cairo, Flat6 Labs is offering applicants the space and time to take a startup from concept to reality.

The Next Web spoke to Flat6 Lab CEO Ramez Mohamed about the state of entrepreneurship in Egypt. While the startup scene has picked up in Egypt in the past couple of years, Ramez sees a long road ahead for Egyptian entrepreneurs:

In Egypt, entrepreneurship is not well defined. People think it’s someone who’s working on his own idea and trying to make it a success. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about taking a risk. It’s about knowing your target and trying to reach it.  It’s about getting involved, making connections, getting mentorship. It’s not just about funding and making your startup succeed. The term is new to Egypt, and there’s still a lot for entrepreneurs in Egypt to learn.

According to Ramez, one of the main obstacles for the growth of entrepreneurship in the country was a lack of mentoring.

The main problem is there was no ‘transfer of power’ so to speak. The old entrepreneurs didn’t work closely with the new entrepreneurs. we had entrepreneurs 8 or 10 years ago building companies, and they didn’t work closely with new entrepreneurs, so a transfer didn’t happen.

With Flat6 Labs, as well as Alexandria based accelerator Tahrir², N2V Labs, the Google Ebda’ initiative, and more effort taking place across the country on the whole, it is safe to say that the transfer of power has officially begun, and young Egyptian entrepreneurs are being afforded the tools and means to break away from the cultural norm of a stable 9 to 5 job, and can instead focus on innovation.

The role of Flat6 Labs is to speed up the process as much as possible:

We’re trying to accelerate these startups – so instead of building it in a year, they’re building it in 3 months. But good entrepreneurs can succeed under this kind of pressure.

Five startups have been selected for Flat6 Labs’ Cycle 0, selected by invitation only. All Cairo-based, with team members from all over the country, most of these startups are former participants in both Startup Weekend Cairo and Alexandria.

Careerise, a recruitment platform that harnesses the power of social networking. It sources candidates from these networks, and makes recommendations based on trusted connections. Careerise is a tool which will allow employers to handle recruitment themselves, and as a result, save time and money.

Ekshef, a startup focusing on the healthcare sector, will provide doctors with the technology needed to improve both the doctor and patient experience. The main problem Ekshef will be addressing is to make it easier for patients to find the best doctors, and drive patients to newly opened clinics.

App developers F16Apps will begin their time at Flat6 Labs working on a social networking app called Neatly. The app is a client which will display items in a user’s feed based on relevance and interests.

Mobile application Snapze provides activity recommendations based on their social profiles, or activities they have done in the past. Snapze becomes more intelligent the more you use it, and will be able to make accurate recommendations based on your personal taste.

Tabshora is a cloud service designed to gather feedback on any visual material. Tabshora collects feedback from clients and co-workers, and will also help analyze, organize and act upon the feedback. Tabshora was first presented at Startup Weekend Cairo, participated in NexGen Bootcamp, and after a slight pivot and team shuffle, they are the final team joining Flat6 Labs for Cycle 0.

After the 3 month period is over, Flat6 Labs will host a Demo Day where teams will present their products to investors, and startups can go on to establish a company with valid market potential and receive additional funding of over $40,000.