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AUC Venture Lab Among Top 20 Most Active Accelerators on Gust’s Middle East and Africa Accelerator Report



By Nour Ibrahim

AUC Venture Lab is the 12th most active accelerator with 24 startups accelerated in 2016 according to The Middle East & Africa Accelerator Report. The report, which ranked 50 startups in total, was produced by Gust. 

Gust is a SaaS funding platform that connects startups with investors and accelerators. The platform provides its services globally and mostly targets early-stage businesses.

Egypt was ranked among the top 10 countries in terms of the number of investments and number of startups accelerated on the same report. Israel, Turkey, UAE and South Africa were among the leaders of both categories.

This report came as a follow-up to a 2015 report on accelerators. The reports explore the evolution of accelerators and the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region.

The 2016 report identified four major trends related to the accelerator industry in the region.

The first trend is growing ties between accelerators and corporations.

“On the one hand, this is because corporations are discovering that accelerators are an efficient and effective way to engage with startups. On the other hand, accelerators understand that corporations can help them fund operations in the short-to-medium term (exits are often far out)," said Miklos Grof, one of the report’s co-authors, as published on Gust’s website.

Verticalization, which replaces the “jack of all trades” mindset with a more specialized approach, was the second trend. According to the report, almost 40% of accelerators have started running industry-specific or niche-specific programs.

“We’re realizing that the more specialized our programs are, the better we can help our startups evolve within a certain industry. We are seeing this already in our FinTech Accelerator program and it’s encouraging us to do more,” said Abdul Latif Jameel Chair of Entrepreneurship at AUC's School of Business and AUC Venture Lab’s Director Ayman Ismail.

The third trend was expansion whether through the creation of new vertical programs or the launching of programs in other cities or countries.

Finally, the report took into consideration that accelerators are moving away from a traditional definition as an increasing number of programs are defined as a mixture between accelerators, incubators and funding entities. 

In 2016, the surveyed accelerators showed the most interest in investing in the Internet of things, FinTech, big data analytics and mobile apps markets throughout 2017.

Only three Egyptian accelerators made it to the report. While Flat6Labs was ranked as the accelerator with most cash invested, AUC Venture Lab accelerated the highest number of startups. 

To read the report, follow this link.

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AUC launched AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) in 2013 which is the first university-based incubator in Egypt. It incubates early-stage and growth-stage startups that are chosen through a selection process that judges the novelty of the idea, the team’s track record and cohesion, scalability and potential for commercialization, as well as the team’s tenacity and commitment to success. Once selected, the startups benefit from training sessions, mentors, student internships and their presence at the AUC School of Business. They also play an active role in the AUC community and Egypt, sharing their entrepreneurial experience with students, faculty members, mentors and investors, as well as a global alumni network.