Press

Womentum Graduates First Cohort of Female-led Tech Startups

Womentum Accelerator 2018 CohortOCTOBER 11, 2018 – DUBAI: Womena is graduating the first cycle of its womentum accelerator, empowering female-led tech startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

After four months of acceleration, the founders of eight early-stage startups are ready to showcase award-winning businesses that are well-positioned in the market, set for growth and ready to scale.

“We are proud to showcase our first cohort of startups, who have made leaps and bounds since the start of the program,” says Elissa Freiha, founder of womena. “We’ve seen these companies and their founders grow exponentially. They’ve taken risks, they’ve pivoted, they’ve signed on their first clients – the progress has been stupendous and is a sign that this type of program is much needed.”

At the inaugural Demo Day on October 11 (tune in for the live stream), an exclusive event for investors and mentors, womentum startups will be introduced to the regional ecosystem in a personal, dedicated and focused way.

“Building a diverse ecosystem is a challenge for startup communities globally. With womentum, we are demonstrating that MENA’s female-led startups are driving innovation regionally and building fast-growing technology ventures capable of bringing value to both clients and investors,” says Christina Andreassen, womentum’s program manager.

Powered by Impact Hub Berlin and in partnership with in5 Dubai, in addition to support from our official legal partner Latham & Watkins LLP and travel partner Elves, the program kicked off in July after an intense and multi-tiered selection process. Startups were chosen from among 174 applications from female founders of 34 nationalities from across the region, covering a range of 15 different industries.

Womena has built a program that we felt was lacking in the regional ecosystem, one that solves issues we, as local entrepreneurs and investors, have faced ourselves,” Freiha says.

Womentum follows a blended model designed to immerse early-stage startups in Berlin’s innovative ecosystem and then connection them to investors, mentors and regional markets in the Dubai hub.

After two weeks of in-person sessions in Berlin, startups went through a remote execution phase in their home countries, where they received virtual mentorship that allowed them to validate their products in localized contexts. The two-week Dubai bootcamp wrapped up the cycle, with startups focusing on branding, marketing and public relations strategies as well as legal and corporate structuring to get them investment-ready.

Womentum would not have been possible without the support of our many mentors, partners and speakers that have supported us and the startups with their time, resources and knowledge,” says Andreassen.

“The program helped guide these early-stage companies through establishing product-market fit, generating their first sales and building a solid foundation for business success,” adds Andreassen.

Beyond support, the program leveraged womena’s content platform, womedia, 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 entire womentum journey and the founders’ experiences have been documented for a web series womena is currently producing, which will show the behind-the-scenes action of the founders’ quest to build the strongest company.

Womena’s mission is to promote gender diversity and inclusion. We have chosen to focus on the entrepreneurial space as we believe that the next wave of innovation will come from emerging market entrepreneurs – the women of these markets are pivotal in this journey,” adds Freiha.

**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

Jaazi (Saudi Arabia/UAE) develops gamified tools for the workplace that provide data-driven insights to improve employee engagement, retention and productivity. As the first solution to use incentivized surveys, Jaazi is transforming Middle East workplace culture with a pulse-survey tool that identifies key areas of improvement based on regular employee feedback and shows companies how employees really feel.
Founders: Dara Al Sulayman (founder and CEO) and Cawley Thompson (co-founder and CTO).
Profile video: link
Quote: “The womentum cohort and program gave us a safe and supportive space to test, challenge and fine-tune our solution and our business. We are now in a place where we feel confident in our value and ready for investment.”

XPay (Egypt) empowers communities to swiftly and seamlessly make the transition to cashless. Through its secure portal and app, XPay works with communities to digitally manage payments and financial transactions, combating the inefficiency of cash-based operations.
Profile video: link
Founders: Mohamed Abdelmottaleb and Mennat Allah Sabry, co-founders and managing partners.
Quote: “I think womentum is the most organized and impactful program that I know of.”

Seabex (Tunisia) builds intelligent agritech to help farmers manage operations with accurate, data-driven decisions. The precision farming platform is built on internally developed hardware to enable smart monitoring of agriculture-related environmental data and intelligent control of in-field equipment, promoting better water usage.
Profile video: link
Founders: Amira Cheniour (co-founder and CEO), Taher Mestiri (co-founder and CTO) and Ines Hamida (co-founder and CSO).
Quote: “Our experience with womentum helped us improve every side of our business, draw a clear roadmap and define a strong vision. We’ve been connected to highly skilled mentors and received support from big firms, especially in legal and investment. The accelerator of the year is worth it.”

We Share Property (UAE) is a white-label platform enabling property developers and investment companies to offer their investors a branded web application to seamlessly manage their portfolios and, in turn, modernizing the property investment experience by increasing data transparency and productivity in the industry.
Profile video: link
Founders: Sarah Bacon (co-founder and CEO) and Steven Taylor (co-founder and CTO).
Quote: “Womentum has raised the bar enormously, both personally and professionally. We’ve been part of such an amazing community of entrepreneurs trailblazing in so many different industries. It’s been an honor to be around such a tremendous group of people.”

Mrayti (Jordan) delivers trusted, convenient and affordable beauty services by connecting independent stylists with customers looking for on-demand services. A mobile salon for the Arab world, Mrayti partners with independent, verified stylists experienced in hair, makeup, skincare and body care, creating flexible and fair work opportunities.
Profile video: link
Founders: Romouz Sadeq (founder and CEO)
Quote: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of this program among brilliant startups from all over the Arab world. I was skeptical that an accelerator program in its first rotation would deliver such value and be so well-planned. I feel privileged to have gone through this program, which enabled me to become a better CEO.”

Mathaqi (Saudi Arabia) delivers authentic home-cooked meals from a variety of international cuisines on-demand. The online platform offers a daily changing menu of curated meals made with fresh ingredients and prepared by home-chefs who master a range of cuisines. Customers can choose to have meals delivered within 60 minutes or at their preferred time slot.
Profile video: link
Founders: Nouf Al Saleem (co-founder, marketing and communication lead) and Al Ameen Raheed (co-founder, operation and partnerships lead).
Quote: “They say there is no shortcut to success, but womentum holds the keys to success at an accelerated pace.”

Zelij (Morocco) is a green tech solution that transforms plastic waste into sustainable, eco-friendly paving blocks and traditional floor tiles. The innovative formula uses 80% plastic waste and 20% eco-friendly materials to produce 100% sustainable and more affordable construction materials. Paveco, an eco-friendly paving stone, is three times more durable and 50% cheaper to produce. Zelij also produces Moroccan floor tiles by partnering with local artisans.
Profile video: link
Founders: Houda Mirouche (co-founder and CEO) and Saif Eddine Laalej (co-founder and program manager).
Quote: “Womentum gave us the tools, inspiration and energy. Now is the beginning of a success story.”

Furnwish (Egypt) is an immersive augmented reality app that empowers homeowners to visualize furniture in their own space as well as helps retailers and design professionals better showcase their products and services. Homeowners can visualize and customize any furniture with accurate measurements while also layering different products from different stores simultaneously, while furniture stores and design firms can use the app to showcase more inventory in less space and offer a better customer experience.
Profile video: link
Founders: Reham Elmasry (co-founder and CEO), Ingi Naguib (co-founder and CFO) and Ahmad Amin (co-founder and CTO).
Quote: “The journey with womentum gave us the chance to meet and learn from diversified cultures, people and places, which impacted not only our business but our personal growth.”

About womena
Womena is dedicated to encouraging gender diversity and inclusion in the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem. Founded in 2014, womena has built an award-winning Angel Investment group that facilitated over 3 million AED in funding into 10 companies. And that was just the beginning.

Through womedia, where we are telling the story of regional changemakers and through our womentum accelerator and education programs, we aim to increase the pipeline of women entrepreneurs into the MENA ecosystem. Our MENA Bossladies community is the largest network of female entrepreneurs and investors in the Middle East.

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

For more information:
Amira Salah-Ahmed
Strategy and Media Development
amira@womena.com

Christina Andreassen
Womentum Program Manager
christina@womena.com

Leave a Reply