Sawari Ventures: Pioneering VC Investments in Egypt's Tech Ecosystem

Sawari Ventures: Pioneering VC Investments in Egypt's Tech Ecosystem

By Erika Masako Welch, 08 April 2024

One of the first to start VC investments in Egypt, Sawari Ventures is a growth stage investment firm. The company has also enabled seed stage investments by founding Flat6Labs, which is a pioneer in the region. 

  • Year Established: 2010
  • HQ: Cairo, Egypt
  • AUM: $70 million
  • # of Portfolio Companies: 18 (plus over 10 legacy investments)
  • % of companies in Egypt: ~90%
  • Avg # of deals per year: 4-6
  • Number of exits*: 1 (plus 1 acquisition and 2 exits in the legacy portfolio) 
  • Funding Stage: Seed, Series A, Series B
  • Ticket Size: US$ 1M – US$ 3M
  • Team Size: 16
  • Website:

Sawari Ventures Egypt Deals and Number of Investments (2019-2023)Founded in 2010 by Ahmed El Alfi and Hany Al-SonbatySawari Ventures is one of the first VC firms established in Egypt, emerging from a vision to harness the untapped potential of North Africa’s knowledge and technology sectors. El Alfi and Al-Sonbaty were investment professionals in the Egyptian tech space for more than two decades prior to Sawari Ventures. Wael Amin, who joined as Partner in 2015, was previously the founder and CEO of tech company ITWorx, which made notable acquisitions in the Egyptian tech ecosystem.

With US $70 million AUM, Sawari has invested in 18 companies and 2 seedstage vehicles in the past five years, with a focus on growth-stage startups. Sawari’s partnerships with leading financial institutions demonstrate its strategic acumen and commitment to growing the SME sector. Accordingly, the firm has a dual fund structure, of which one is a Netherlands Incorporated North Africa Fund and another is an Egypt-incorporated Egypt Fund, which allows it to bring together international capital from DFI partners and domestic capital from local stakeholders. In fact its international investors include the likes of European Investment Bank, British International Investment, the Dutch Good Growth Fund and Proparco to name a few. Local LPs include National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, Suez Canal, and Misr Insurance Group. In April 2021, Sawari Ventures announced commitments of EGP 444 Million (equivalent to US $28 million at close) to close its Egypt-based fund. Alongside the Dutch Fund, with commitments totaling 42M USD to invest in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, the firm was able to invest roughly 60M USD into innovation across North Africa. 

The firm aims to support founders that redefine industries, with a focus on fintech, deeptech, edtech and other tech-driven industries. While Sawari largely invests in growth stage companies, the founders, Ahmed El Alfi and Hany Al-Sonbaty, also co-founded Flat6Labs in 2011, an accelerator program and seed investor, to contribute to the strengthening of the region’s early-stage ecosystem.

The firm has also made a strong commitment to responsible investing, establishing a tailored framework to integrate ESG considerations into fund decision making and portfolio management. In 2023, Sawari Ventures joined the 2X Global community, affirming its commitment to gender equality and financial inclusion. 61% of its portfolio companies have at least one female senior manager. 

With the inaugural funds fully deployed as of 2023, Sawari has started fundraising for its upcoming Africa Fund. While maintaining a focus on Egypt and replicating the dual fund structure, the new fund will be adding investments in selected markets in East and West Africa (in addition to North Africa) to its investment strategy. 

“We are convinced of the massive potential for innovation and impact in Africa. But despite the similarities in demographics and addressable challenges, we have seen companies struggle to scale across the continent. We believe this is not only due to a funding gap, but because there aren’t enough regional, panAfrican investors with the network, capital and ability to bridge existing gaps and support startups with regional aspirations. And while we have seen more pan-African funds emerging in recent years, none are operating out of Egypt, which is among the three biggest markets in terms of VC deals. We are looking forward to step into this gap.” - Ahmed El Alfi, Founding Partner, Sawari Ventures

Visit Sawari Ventures’ Investor Page here


Next Read: Egypt’s Most Active Investors: The Global, Regional & Local Investors Fueling the Ecosystem


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