Press

Womentum 2019 Graduates Cohort of 7 Female-Led Tech Startups

Standard Chartered awards 3 prizes worth $50,000 to FreshSource, Pas-sport and Dimension 14

OCTOBER 10, 2019 – DUBAI: womena® graduated the second cycle of its Womentum Accelerator, empowering seven of the top female-led tech startups from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

After four months of acceleration, the founders are now well-positioned to grow and scale their businesses in the region.

Womentum 2019 Cohort

“When womena® preaches diversity as a core value of innovation, we mean diversity in all aspects: gender, experience, faith, industry, age, and socio-economic levels,” says Elissa Freiha, founder of womena®. “We are proud of the true diversity shown amongst this year’s Womentum cohort.”

Womentum 2019, a women in tech accelerator by womena® in partnership with Standard Chartered, took the startups to Berlin and Dubai for an immersive experience in the two vibrant hubs, with a remote mentorship period in between, before wrapping up with an exclusive Demo Day on October 10.

Standard Chartered awarded three startups equity-free cash prizes worth a total of $50,000 at Demo Day, after the cohort pitched to an audience of the region’s top investors and ecosystem players.

Winning $25,000 in first place, FreshSource (Egypt) is disrupting the agri value chain through innovative solutions that connect smallholder farmers to the modern value chain. Second place worth $15,000 went to Pas-sport (Egypt), setting out to transform athletes’ lives by unlocking global opportunities and connecting them to sports scholarships. The third prize winner of $10,000 was Dimension 14 (UAE), a one-stop shop for advanced planning problems within a single AI-powered application.

“After four months of accelerating talented women-led startups, we are proud to see the cohort graduate and join the growing community of successful startups in the region,” says Rola Abu Manneh, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank UAE. “The Women in Tech program is a promising step in the right direction, capturing the essence of the bank’s sustainability strategy of futuremakers, enabling the next generation to learn, earn and grow,” says Abu Manneh.

Through the program, the top-performing startups will also receive up to $100,000 in direct investment from the founder of womena®.

Supported by Event Sponsor Google for Startups, this year’s Demo Day was an exclusive event for investors, mentors and media, showcasing the startups to the regional ecosystem.

“Womentum 2019’s graduating cohort has been through four months of intense business building and development in order to be ready to scale and be hypergrowth businesses,” says Christina Andreassen, Womentum’s managing director.

“They’ve had their business models validated by mentors, investors and consulting firms, they’ve rebranded, built world-class tech, achieved double digit growth rates, and proven to us that they have the business acumen and work ethic to lead some of MENA’s leading tech companies,” Andreassen adds.

The accelerator also leveraged womena®Media to tell the stories of the founders and their businesses to an expansive audience, giving them global exposure and access to an early customer base in regional markets. The founders’ experiences were documented for Season 2 of the Womentum Series, which follows the journey of the founders to see how it has impacted their personal and professional lives.

The womena®Media team and a dedicated series production crew followed participating startups from Berlin to Dubai, and visited their home countries during the remote period, to see how they implement the advice and mentorship from the accelerator as well as how they deal with the personal and professional challenges.

Womentum 2019, powered by the invaluable support of our dedicated partners, kicked off in July after an intense and multi-tiered selection process. Startups from a wide range of industries were chosen from among 200 applicants from across the MENA region..

“With companies in everything from fashion, to healthcare, to agriculture, and hailing from North Africa to the Levant and the GCC; we believe that their incredible growth over the last four months is not only a representation of our strength as a program, but of their strength as an open, curious, diverse, multicultural and multi disciplinary cohort,” Freiha says.

Womentum follows a blended model designed to give startups mentorship, access to capital and networks as well as media exposure, with a focus on integrating emotional intelligence (EQ) session into the program

The startups were paired with mentors from Standard Chartered during the remote mentorship period, who they got to meet in Dubai for dedicated one-on-one sessions focused on their respective businesses. “Seniors from the bank have invested hours with the startups, supporting and helping them scale, and equipping them with skills that are necessary to thrive in today’s world,” Abu Manneh says.

The program’s Consulting Partner Boston Consulting Group supported Womentum by providing free consultation hours to each startup as well as consulting hackathons in both the Berlin and Dubai bootcamps. In Berlin, six consultants visited the startups to get to know their stories and business models, while in Dubai, a team of more than 40 consultants dedicated their Annual Community Service Day to consulting with the startups.

As our Official Legal Partner, Latham & Watkins provided one-on-one legal mentorship to the startups throughout the four-month cycle, during both bootcamps as well as the remote period in between.

The program’s Dubai bootcamp was hosted by our Co-working Partner nook, where the startups attended the program sessions, hackathons and workshops and got access to the working and wellness space. Supporting founders with rides around Dubai, our Transportation Partner Careem gave our founders a dedicated promo code throughout their entire stay. Fueling the Dubai bootcamp, our Catering Partner Talabat gave all our founders access to a diverse range of on-demand delivery options.

“We’re so proud to be a part of their journey and be able to tell their stories in order to be able to inspire other female founders throughout MENA,” says Andreassen.

**Find out more about the startups and see quotes from the founders below.
**Cohort and founder photos: LINK

About the startups and quotes from the founders

Chefaa (Egypt) is an AI-powered GPS-enabled platform where patients can easily access recurring medicine and schedule delivery of pharmaceutical products.
Founders: Doaa Aref (co-founder and CEO) and Rasha Rady (co-founder and COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “Womentum has shown us that it is possible to accelerate startups in a way that is tailored perfectly to their stage, needs and expectations. The knowledge, network and simulation of different situations have been eye-opening.”

Luxury Promise (UAE) is a marketplace for pre-loved luxury goods delivered with speed and authenticity, using visual recognition and anti-counterfeit technology.
Founders: Sabrina Sadiq (founder and CEO)
Profile video: link
Quote: “Womentum has been not just a great way to accelerate, but an opportunity to learn and reevaluate our business model. I feel much more equipped to deal with investors with a stronger understanding of my numbers. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m so glad I was given this opportunity. I’m excited for the next chapter.”

Dabchy (Tunisia) is a peer-to-peer online marketplace for second-hand fashion where the community can buy and sell clothes, bags and accessories.
Founders: Ameni Mansouri (co-founder and CEO) and Ghazi Ketata (co-founder and COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “We are pleased with our Womentum experience. It allowed us to take a step back on our process by getting more feedback from our customers to improve the delivery and to communicate more about all steps. We were really surprised by the high level and commitment of all mentors and speakers.”

Pas-sport (Egypt) is transforming athletes’ lives by unlocking global opportunities and connecting them to sports scholarships.
Founders: Nada Zaher (founder and CEO) and Zeyad Montasser (COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “Womentum was challenging in the most positive way. Being around such a talented pool of entrepreneurs and the top mentors in the field really allowed me to push myself to become a much more confident and mature founder.”

FreshSource (Egypt) is disrupting the agri value-chain through innovative solutions that connect smallholder farmers to the modern value chain.
Founders: Farah Emara (co-founder and CEO) and Omar Emara (co-founder and COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “Our Womentum journey has really benefited FreshSource. The program is extremely well constructed, and the mentorship and guidance we have received from the partners and the Womentum team has been critical in accelerating our company. During the program, we were able to develop the tech component of our business with the guidance of experts.”

MakerBrane (Lebanon) brings the toy stories of the world together in an online platform where anyone, anywhere can design their own toys and play digitally or in real life.
Founders: Ayssar Arida (co-founder and CEO) and Sabine de Maussion (co-founder and COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “Womentum is a hands-on accelerator, investing all resources for our ventures to succeed.”

Dimension 14 (UAE) offers a one-stop shop for advanced planning problems within a single AI-powered application.
Founders: Melda Akin (co-founder and CEO) and Chris Wallace (co-founder and COO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Jam-packed with learnings, ranging from legal setup to emotional intelligence (EQ), Womentum has put us on the right road to scale our business.”

About womena®

womena® is the Middle East’s leading women empowerment platform dedicated to encouraging diversity in innovation by empowering female entrepreneurs and change-makers.

womena®Media produces creative content focused on female founders, creatives and changemakers. Our flagship accelerator program, Womentum, is the first experience-based accelerator focused on female-led tech startups in the region. The accelerator is documented through our media platform and produced into the Womentum docu-series. Our womena®Bossladies Network has the largest number of female entrepreneurs and investors in the Middle East.

All of these elements come together to make womena® the leading ecosystem enabler for diversity and inclusion in MENA, promoting more women in business, more women investors, and a more inclusive, diverse, and consequently booming ecosystem.

For more information:
Amira Salah-Ahmed
Chief Media Officer
amira@womena.com