2 Egyptian Startups Make The Cut For Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups Accelerator

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Egyptian Startups
The team behind Harmonica, one of the Egyptian startups selected for the 500 Startups accelerator. Photo – MENABytes

A couple of Egyptian startups have been selected to take part in the the latest edition of the Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups accelerator program.

The two startups from Egypt, Harmonica and Shezlong, are among a list of 18 startups from around the globe that have been chosen to benefit from the U.S.-based venture capital seed fund and accelerator, according to DisruptAfrica.

As a result of their selection, the Egyptian businesses both receive $150,000 investment, as well as training and mentorship.

The training and mentorship is delivered through a four-month accelerator that deals in depth with the subjects of sales, fundraising, and storytelling, with a demo day on Jun. 28 wrapping up proceedings.

The cohort, which is the 23rd in the history of the successful accelerator, features startups from the U.S.,Turkey, China, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, according to 500 Startups.

Egyptian startups receive global exposure

Cairo-based Harmonica, one of the two Egyptian startups, is a matchmaking platform that takes a more conservative approach to relationships and bringing people together, as it caters for the Arab world.

Sameh Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Harmonica, explained the value of such a platform within the region.

“We are over 350 million people in the Arab world and no one in the region in the recent past has tried to use technology to solve one of the biggest problems; matchmaking. We are trying to do that with Harmonica,” Saleh said, according to MENABytes.

Mental health startup Shezlong connects users with licensed psychiatry therapists through its online platform, offering users to option of book sessions of varying timeframes with the therapists through chat or video conference.

Founded in 2014 by Ahmed Abu Elhaz and Mohammad ElShami, the Cairo-based firm claim to have over 200 professional therapists listed on their platform, with over 20,000 people served by the platform thus far, according to Weetracker.

Both startups are currently enjoying the training and mentorship components of the accelerator program in San Francisco.

Having built a track record of investment success, 500 Startups has invested in more than 1,700 companies. These include Credit Karma, Twilio, GrabTaxi, Ipsy, Udemy, TalkDesk, ToutApp, and Mayvenn. Its largest exits have been MakerBot ($400 million by Stratasys), Wildfire ($350 million by Google), and Viki ($200 million by Rakuten).

In 2017 the Silicon Valley accelerator selected three Nigeria startups for their 22nd program, with Fyodor Biotechnologies, MailHaven and Mobile Forms traveling to San Francisco for the four-month initiative, according to Pulse.