RiseUp has announced the winners of its first multi-stage, regional startup pitch competition, Pitch by the Pyramids, at the Great Pyramids of Giza late on Sunday, in alignment with RiseUp Summit 2019.
The Crowd Champion –the startup that received the most online audience votes – was on-demand personal assistant Yanzo from Dubai, walking away with $60,000, while cloud HR and payroll platform Paynas from Cairo won $50,000 from early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator 500 Startups.
Mobile app platform for digital receipts Receet Inc. from Ramallah and non-food purchasing service for hotels, restaurants and cafes CloudSale from Beirut received VIP tickets to Dubai Expo 2020 provided by SAP Egypt, as well as a one-year rent-free lease on office space in Dubai through the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA). Energy management internet of things (IoT) system provider Amjaad from Cairo also received a VIP ticket to Dubai Expo 2020 from SAP, while the remaining 10 startups won regular invitations to Dubai Expo 2020.
All 14 participating startups also received credit worth $2,000 from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The competition launched qualifiers in eight startup ecosystem hubs (cities) across the Middle East and North Africa, converging for the final event. Regional partners from each of the startup ecosystem hubs - Cogite Coworking space in Tunis, Wamda in Dubai, Social N' Tech in Amman and Ramallah, The Space in Riyadh and Startup Grind Beirut - organised local qualifier events for selected startups to compete, selecting the best, most innovative startups to proceed to the finale. The final qualifier round was held in Cairo.
During the event, Gemini Enterprises Africa, part of Orascom Group, and RiseUp LLC, the MENA region’s connector of startups to local and global resources, signed a three-year partnership that will make the Pyramids Plateau the official venue for the annual RiseUp Summit and Pitch by the Pyramids competition until December 2022.
The partnership was announced during the first Pitch by the Pyramids competition, RiseUp’s latest flagship program, by both Engineer Adly Thoma, CEO of Gemini Enterprises Africa, acting on behalf of Engineer Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, and Abdelhameed Sharara, Cofounder and CEO of RiseUp.
Witnessing the signing ceremony, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that RiseUp is an excellent platform that connects a lot of young people, international institutions, the private sector and investment banks gathered. It is the platform to put together the right ecosystem to ensure Egypt’s young entrepreneurs get the right enabling environment and the right support for them to grow, because they are the future, and they will remain the main contributor to the country’s sustainable growth.
The partnership also stipulates that RiseUp and Gemini Enterprises Africa shall co-develop innovation hubs on the premises and other Orascom-owned holdings, while the former gains exclusivity for any entrepreneurial events in the area.
Meanwhile, Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, declared that it is a strategic partnership between Gemini Enterprises Africa and RiseUp to migrate the summit and all its activities to the Pyramids Plateau.
Abdelhameed Sharara, Cofounder and CEO of RiseUp, said that this partnership brings RiseUp closer to its vision, as it builds bridges to connect entrepreneurs to the most relevant resources in Egypt and the region as a whole, adding that joining forces between Gemini Enterprises Africa and RiseUp paves the road for a fruitful partnership as both entities are positioned to be integral players in shaping the life of our population to reach a brighter future.