Ahmed Alfi : Founder at Sawari Ventures
If you were to open one of your old textbooks from business school, you would read that assets and capital act as the proverbial foundation of a successful company. Businesses around the world have been following this traditional model for centuries – until the advent of the digital revolution, that is. Just as our laptops got slimmer and our phones got smarter, our need for physical assets also diminished.
Put simply, companies, both around the world and in the MENA region, are becoming more dependent on a combination of human talent and technology, enabling them to grow and expand faster than was ever possible before. As a result, the need for physical assets and debt-intensive capital structure is not as vital as it once was; these elements are no longer compatible with the nature of high growth businesses. In many cases, physical assets now act as an outdated hurdle in a company’s journey; just look at Uber, which own no cars, and AirBnB, which owns no rooms.
An innovative idea, a killer team to execute it and new customers are the assets needed for a successful tech company. MENA startups are now seeking the resources and funding to build this next generation of companies. They are assisted by venture capital firms (VC) as well as startup accelerators who share the risk with them by making equity investments. One of the latter is Flat6Labs, which has recently been launched in Tunis with a goal to support more than 75 startups throughout the next five years.
In addition to offering seed funding, the premiere accelerator takes cutting-edge ideas under its wing and brings them to life by equipping thought leaders with the tools needed to establish a solid business. The accelerator program is particularly focused on providing resources that are generally difficult to obtain in the MENA region, such as exposure to investors, legal support, mentors, training opportunities, and office spaces, as well as a multitude of perks and benefits. Armed with a hands-on approach and longstanding expertise in the market, the Flat6Labs accelerator program has successfully graduated many of the region’s most disruptive startups, including ground-breaking bug-detection app InstaBug.
Tunisian startups can now follow in these companies’ footsteps; with the establishment of Flat6Labs and the facilitations of the new Startup Act, Tunisian youth can dare to dream.