Economic Alignment with Investors

A perspective from Dina el-Shenoufy, Chief Investment Office, Flat6Labs, Cairo, Egypt

A perspective from Dina el-Shenoufy, Chief Investment Office, Flat6Labs, Cairo, Egypt

by: Eric Matthews, CEO, Start Co.|

August 3, 2022

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Articles | Accelerators | Economic Alignment with Investors

Seeing A Bigger Need

The founders of Flat6Labs initially sought to launch a Series A venture capital fund to invest one million dollars into later stage companies, but quickly found that there were not that many Series A deals available.  Instead, their application page was flooded with many compelling investable ideas and seed stage startups in which they could provide extensive business and technical assistance. With the inherent risks of early stage investing, the team knew they would need to invest in many companies across a wide base of opportunities with a subset of them creating the returns needed to justify the overall effort.  These were the roots of the system that is now Flat6Labs.  Though it seems like an accelerator program, at the core rests a team of seed fund managers who are optimizing for real economic returns.

Flat6Labs aligns its interests with the entrepreneurs it supports.  By creating value for entrepreneurs, the team at Flat6Labs also creates value for its investors.  When entrepreneurs win, Flat6Labs wins, and investors win.  From this perspective, all activities, from ecosystem engagements and angel group support to mentorship and other efforts, work to create more successful companies and entrepreneurs.

Ten years ago, Flat6Labs launched in Cairo, Egypt, with just one accelerator program.  The key early on was educating and slowly bringing more players into the ecosystem.  Going it alone wouldn’t work in the long run and a broader ecosystem would be needed.  Flat6Labs played the role of the ecosystem-builder.  The effort since then has included reaching out to universities across Egypt to support student entrepreneurship, adding service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and auditors who understand startup needs, creating Egypt’s first Angel group, advocating to governmental entities to explain needs of entrepreneurs, and sourcing corporates to engage more with startups.

Recently, Flat6Labs successfully focused exclusively on supporting female entrepreneurs and increasing participation in its ecosystem.  This included raising awareness, education, and inspirational sessions for females across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, particularly in Egypt.  An additional focus has been on social impact businesses.  Partnering with donor organizations, Flat6Labs operates a pre-acceleration program for social impact startups, which now feed systems like StartEgypt and Flat6Labs Ignite in Tunisia.

The Only Success Metric: Trust

Flat6Labs biggest success metric, while difficult to quantify, is the strength of the relationships the accelerator has built with portfolio companies. 

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Scaled Acceleration Operations for Scaling Startups

Going above and beyond for founders is the key to building strong founders and enlisting supporters.  The Flat6Labs team views itself as an “institutional co-founder” that brings a much more engaged mindset.  The accelerator wants founders to view Flat6Labs as a first resort and not as a last resort for support and advice.  This mindset serves and supports portfolio companies well and, in turn, creates value for investors. Flat6Labs is now in multiple geographies in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and has the strength to connect different markets through this regional footprint.  For a portfolio company out of Tunisia called GoMyCode, this footprint was critical to success.  GoMyCode was founded by two brothers who dropped out of college to pursue the opportunity. Yahya and Amin recognized that while the world was moving towards digital education, the prevailing Tunisian culture remained keen on human interaction.  As a result, they developed a coding school that is partly online and partly in person.

Within months, their courses were attracting all age groups across Tunisia.  Yahya quickly recognized that the opportunity was the same across the entire MENA region.  Due to Flat6Labs’ presence in Egypt and Bahrain, the accelerator was able to help GoMyCode establish a presence in these two other countries as well within months. Flat6Labs provided GoMyCode with intros to local partners, sourced key talent in those markets, made connections to commercial real estate brokers, gave advice on legal and accounting differences by country, and facilitated connectivity to regional VCs.  GoMyCode is now fully operational in 3 markets and is attracting thousands of learners, revealing that when accelerators scale up, their startups scale up with them.

Copyright Notice

COPYRIGHT © Global Accelerator Network, LLC (GAN). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means—graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, and information storage and retrieval systems—without the express written permission of GAN. Contents are based on information from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Nothing herein should be construed as any past, current, or future recommendation to buy or sell any security or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This material does not purport to contain all of the information that a prospective investor may wish to consider and is not to be relied upon as such or used in substitution for the exercise of independent judgment.


Flat6Labs is the MENA region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, currently running the most renowned startup programs in the region. Annually, Flat6Labs invests in more than 100 innovative and technology-driven startups enabling thousands of passionate entrepreneurs to achieve their daring ambitions and ultimately become their institutional co-founders.

Flat6Labs established a new fund, Jordan Seed Fund (JSF), and a seed program to support the next generation of innovative startup companies in Jordan. Over the next 5 years, they are looking to invest in over 90 tech-enabled startups with a focus on creativity and innovation.

Once selected, startups will get access to a maximum of JOD50K in seed funding with the chance of receiving a follow-on funding ticket of up to JOD120K, once they graduate from the program.


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