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Sunday, 4 September 2022

Edtech Emonovo raises undisclosed bridge round + Shezlong, SubsBase plan expansion

We’ve got a bunch of startup news for you this morning: Local edtech firm Emonovo has raised a fresh bridge round, and two Egyptian startups — mental health startup Shezlong and subscription management platform SubsBase — are heading to South Africa.

First up: Edtech Emonovo has raised a bridge round led by a number of regional and international angel investors and Flat6Labs, the company announced in a statement on Friday. The company did not disclose the size of the round.

About Emonovo: Known as Marj3 until a rebrand earlier this year, the startup helps match MENA students with universities worldwide. “The company currently works on helping students with the entire application process, starting from finding the right university…[to] accommodation, flights and pre-arrival preparations,” co-founder and CEO Sami Al Ahmad (LinkedIn) told Enterprise. Founded in 2016 by Al Ahmad, Abdo Samy (LinkedIn), and Ahmed Elgebaly (LinkedIn), Emonovo has now secured three rounds of funding, including a six-figure USD seed round led by US-based VC firm Expert Dojo and a pre-seed round from Flat6Labs.

The company will use the funds to develop its tech, onboard more universities and students to its matching service, and boost its recent rebrand and operations, the company said. “We [also] want to introduce an easy apply option, where students can use a single application to apply to all their desired universities,” Al Ahmad said.

SHEZLONG SETS UP SHOP IN SOUTH AFRICA-

Egyptian mental health startup Shezlong has launched its new platform Upright in South Africa as part of its international expansion plan, according to a press release (pdf). Upright will act as an extension of Shezlong to offer mental healthcare services, including e-mental healthcare, to help those underserved by South Africa's healthcare system.

Why South Africa? Because of the size of its market as well as the similarities between Egyptian and South African culture, Shezlong CEO Mohamed Alaa told us. An added bonus is that South Africa has the same time zone as us, which will help the startup manage its operations in the country, he said.

Plans in South Africa and beyond: The startup hopes to see Upright hit at least 50k sessions by the end of 2023, Alaa said. “Our vision is to become the leading online mental healthcare provider in Africa,” he said. “We are currently working on expanding to two other African countries by 1Q 2023 at the latest,” he added. The company is also working to expand into the GCC, he said, without disclosing further details.

More money on the horizon: The company is working on a series A round that could be in the seven-figure USD range, Alaa said. The startup has raised USD 1 mn in investments so far, along with an undisclosed bridge round in late 2021, he added. Investors who have provided Shezlong with financing include Asia Africa Investment Consulting, angel fund HIMangel, and investor Mohamed El Khamissy.

SUBSBASE LOOKS TO SOUTH AFRICA & BEYOND-

Egyptian subscription management platform SubsBase plans to expand into Nigeria and South Africa in the last quarter of the year, co-founder Sherif Aziz reportedly told Al Mal. The company also plans to expand into Saudi Arabia in early 2023, marking the second market in the Gulf for the platform which also operates in the UAE.

New funding round coming: SubsBase is in talks with an unnamed venture capital fund to close a new funding round in mid-2023, Aziz said. SubsBase raised last month USD 2.4 mn in a seed round led by Global Ventures, with the funding directed towards product innovation and development, recruiting talent and increasing the company’s regional presence.

** Aziz was recently featured in Founder of the Week in EnterprisePM: You can read the interview here.

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