The largest single gathering of venture capitalists in the MENA region
Kauffman Fellows’ first foray into MENA, with stops in Dubai, Bahrain, and Cairo.
After their annual summit in Dubai, the Kauffman fellows chose Cairo as their final destination in order to experience its rich culture and history and to meet some key business leaders, investors, and ecosystem enablers. On Feb 13th the Kauffman Fellows were at the center of a fabulous event in view of the Great Pyramid hosted by Elves (Founded by Kauffman Fellow, Karim Elsahy) and co-hosted by EFG Hermes, SWVL, Marakez, and Vezeeta.
With 589 Kauffman Fellows in 46 countries representing well over 500 venture firms and organizations, the Kauffman Fellows Network runs deep with strong bonds across the globe. They count as part of their network more than 1,000 mentors and speakers who have supported the Kauffman Fellows Program, transcending roles as founders, CEOs, government leaders, and more.
“Joining the Kauffman Fellows was one of the best decisions I’ve taken.” said Karim Elsahy, Founder / CEO of Elves, the host of the event. “Every international Kauffman summit I’ve joined (São Paulo, Dublin, Singapore, and Dubai) have been eye-opening experiences so I jumped at the opportunity of hosting in my hometown of Cairo, in the hopes of shining a light on some of the amazing things happening here.”
During an evening of full immersion into Arab/Egyptian tastes, sounds and sights they were joined by local and regional investors, business people and media personalities. They heard thoughts from local leaders such as Walid Hassouna (CEO EFG Hermes Finance, the largest investment bank in the Middle East) and Ayman Soliman (head of the new Egyptian Sovereign Wealth Fund).
“It was a great opportunity to meet with Kauffman Fellows and speak to them a little bit about the vast opportunities that lay ahead of us here in Egypt.” said Ayman Soliman, CEO of the newly inaugurated Sovereign Fund of Egypt and keynote speaker at the event. “The hosts did a fantastic job setting up a memorable night and showcasing examples of what Egypt has to offer.”
“We are happy to partner on this event and use it as a platform to announce a partnership between ValU, the leading fintech installment provider in Egypt, and Elves the popular human-assisted ai startup that’s trying to build a better Siri. The Kauffman Fellows trip proved successful in highlighting Egypt as a compelling market and home to a booming rise of startups that are helping fuel the economy.” Said Walid Hassouna, CEO of EFG Hermes Finance and Group Head of Debt Capital Markets.
The following day they were joined by a group of local innovators, startups, and investors at a BBQ at Elves HQ. The next morning the American Chamber of Commerce and Endeavor sent them off with a farewell networking breakfast.
“We were blown away with what Egypt has to offer. The country is buzzing with energy, the investors are active and the founders determined.” said Jeffrey Harbach, President, and CEO of the Kauffman Fellows. “A startup like Elves is the kind of world-class ai startup you’d expect to find in the Bay Area”, he added.
Elves (Elvesapp Inc.) is a Delaware, US, registered company, founded in 2016, developing machine learning through human conversations while providing customer value with in-chat concierge and personal assistant services, primarily in the MENA region.
Interested in learning more about the UAE's VC & startup ecosystem? Purchase our 2019 UAE Venture Investment Report HERE