One Million Dollars for an Egypt grown life science venture
Cairo, on 8.12.2018
Nawah Scientific announced today closing its pre-series A round of 1M USD. With a mission to empower scientific research and scientists in the region, Nawah has established a core hub of advanced equipment specialized in natural and medical sciences. Nawah’s online platform receives experiments requests, a courier collects samples for analysis, Nawah’s scientists carry needed tests and return results online. By this, Nawah enables scientists to do higher quality research regardless of their location and owned lab facilities.
Life Science ventures are not common in the MENA region. Being high risk businesses by nature and considering that investors are usually skeptical about this sector, this round of investment by Nawah marks a pivotal change and paves the way for other science-based startups to knock doors and raise funds.
Founded in 2015, Nawah has analyzed over 15K+ samples from 32 universities inside and outside Egypt. In addition, Nawah offers a vast spectrum of services to companies in the life science domain, starting from simple analysis for chemical companies, up to helping in research projects for pharma companies.
Nawah’s founder Dr. Omar Sakr holds a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Geneva and an MBA degree from HULT Business School in London. “I was always frustrated that cutting-edge research is available exclusively for those with high tech equipment in their labs, and only very few universities in the MENA have access to such equipment.” Dr. Sakr mentioned. “Scientists waste a lot of time moving between cities and universities to test their samples. This leads to low-quality research projects barely scratching the surface. Consequently, lack of trust between industry and academia, and research converting to marketed products is very minimal. This will change now” Dr. Sakr added.
With a strong purpose driven model as well as a growth rate of nearly 300% year-on-year, Nawah was able to attract the attention of local and international investors. The announced round is led by Endure Capital and joined by 500 startups, Averros ventures and Egypt ventures, in addition to Dr. A. Abdelhamid, an angel investor.
Tarek Fahim, managing partner of Endure capital, commented on this deal “Biotech start-ups are looking more like software start-ups in the early days before AWS and rapid development tools. Biotech needs infrastructure players who can push the boundaries of what is possible in this much needed sector. We need to lower the cost for starting and increase the speed of rapid prototyping. This is why we in Endure are proudly partnering with Nawah to jump forward Biotech in MENA”
Ministry of investment-backed fund, Egypt ventures is the biggest investor in this round. Heba Ali, Managing Director of Egypt Ventures, commented “Nawah is a pioneer in bridging the gap between academia and the life science/ biotech industry in Egypt. It is now in a unique position to democratize scientific research in the entire MEA region; their technology reduces time and costs to reach solid results by an order of magnitude. Egypt Ventures is thrilled to be part of their journey as they scale their offerings and expand into new markets.”
500 startups partner Sharif Badawy said: “We have witnessed Nawah for sometime and we were there in Rise Up 2017 when they stepped forward to the grand prize over hundreds of competing startups. What I like about Nawah is their multi-talented competent team and strong vision driven by a clear purpose. Nawah will not only thrive as a venture but more importantly will pave the way for the biotech/life science ecosystem in Egypt to move forward as Nawah takes out the hurdle of buying expensive research equipment and lab facilities. ”
Dr. Ahmed Alsharif, managing partner of the recently launched VC fund “Averroes Ventures” added “The importance of STEM, and specifically, quality scientific research and development has been largely proven internationally. Recognizing that Egypt has been largely falling behind the curve due to underserving its entire scientific community, Nawah strives to remedy that by offering far greater convenience and accessibility to cutting-edge facilities otherwise not found in Egypt. Leveraging their high-caliber team and prime strategic placement, we have been working closely together to fulfill Nawah’s admirable vision, and we genuinely believe in their immense potential as well as their indispensability in empowering Egypt’s promising scientific community as a whole”.
Nawah plans to use these funds to expand its list of services and grow its marketing activities inside and outside Egypt.