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Thursday, 8 September 2022

Endure Capital reaches first close on fund + UAE’s Tabby lands in Egypt — and Egyptian-ish crypto unicorn

Endure Capital has hit first close on its USD 50 mn Endure 21 fund, raising an eight-figure sum, partner Mohamed Noweir (LinkedIn) told us. The fund, which will focus on early-stage startups across Africa, plans to reach second close before the end of the year and then a third close by June 2023, Noweir said.

The investment thesis: The fund will earmark half its capital for investments in 24 startups and half for follow-on investments. Endure will “follow a sector-agnostic approach” in choosing the companies it invests in, it said in a statement (pdf).

Endure has already deployed a chunk of the fund in Egypt, including in microfinance startup Cassbana, social commerce startup Brimore, and infrastructure management platform Pylon.

Limited partners in the fund include UK development finance institution British International Investment (BII), the Egyptian government’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), and founders of leading regional startups.

What they said: “Endure 21 is focused on smart infrastructure, which is building the connecting line between different communities,” Noweir said, giving Cassbana’s work to offer financial services to small retailers as an example. “We look for the best founders and we look into how the market is going to evolve within our local space.”

Endure has backed some of our most prominent startups: Launched in 2015, the VC has two global funds and the Africa-focused Endure 21. Its first fund backed local industry leaders including Careem, B2B commerce platform MaxAB, grocery delivery startup Breadfast, and stock trading app Thndr, and fintech startup NowPay. The VC’s first fund has seen a 43% internal rate of return and 4.3x multiple on its investments, which it says puts it in the top 25% of funds of its vintage.


Emirati buy-now-pay-later firm Tabby has entered in Egypt after raising USD 275 mn “from leading global and regional investors,” it said in a statement (pdf) Tuesday. The company did not provide further details on the investors.

Who’s leading it in Omm El Donia? Finance industry veteran Ahmed Khalil (LinkedIn) who left the industry back in 2015 to join Uber, where he led operations in Egypt and then MENA before being named GM for Egypt.

Tabby lined up a record USD 150 mn in debt financing from US-based firms earlier this summer, Reuters reports, noting that the sum was the “largest credit facility ever secured by a fintech in the Gulf region.”

About Tabby: Launched in 2019, Tabby offers zero-interest, zero-fee BNPL services. Egypt is the company’s fourth market after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The company says that more than 5k “global brands and small businesses, including H&M, Adidas, Ikea, Shein, and Bloomingdale’s” use its technology to “accelerate growth and gain loyal customers.”


Swiss crypto investment firm has raised USD 25 mn in a round led by hedge fund Marshall Wace, valuing the company at some USD 2 bn, according to a release picked up by Reuters. The company said the round had made it “Switzerland’s largest crypto unicorn,” even as VC funding globally dries up on the back of volatile markets and recession fears. Egyptian entrepreneur Hany Rashwan (LinkedIn) is’s co-founder and CEO.

Star investor Cathie Wood is an investor and has joined as an independent board member. Wood is CEO and CIO of Ark Investment Management, a superstar during the 2020 market downturn. The firm has struggled this year amid the risk off and yesterday appointed a chief futurist to focus on “the convergence between and among the five innovation platforms” that Ark targets, including “artificial intelligence, robotics, energy storage, gnomic sequencing and blockchain technology.”


The UK’s BII will invest USD 100 mn in Egyptian startups, some of which will be earmarked for green companies: British International Investment (BII, the UK’s development finance institution) plans to invest USD 100 mn in Egyptian startups between now and 2026, it said in a statement.

Climate startups could benefit, with BII saying it wants to develop a blueprint for climate adaptation and renewable energy in water infrastructure and unlock clean energy solutions, like solar, wind and green hydrogen.

BII is hosting a summit on “innovation for impact” in venture capital in Cairo this week, with themes including climate tech and food security. BII has already invested over USD 760 mn in Egypt, including in the Benban solar park.

CORRECTION- This story was amended on 8 September, 2022 to correct the timing of BII’s innovation for impact in VC summit.

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