Sudan-based innovation hub 249Startups Hub has announced the launch of an equity fund “Rhino Investments” to help fund 14 seed-stage startups and SMEs in the country. The hub would allocate $500,000 in capital and also launch an acceleration program to help these startups scale and grow their businesses through training, monitoring, and networking opportunities.
Rhino Investments would be Sudan’s first startup-focused impact investment fund. It would create an inclusive startup tech environment for founders, as well as create successful relationships between startups, SMEs, and investors through the latest, most efficient, least risk investment processes the country has to offer.
Based in Khartoum, 249Startups was founded in April 2018 by Mutaz Mohamednour, Khansa Elhag, and Ahmed Elmurtada, 249Startups Hub is creating an environment where startups and entrepreneurs can grow together. The hub is supporting and accelerating potential startups and also generating new ones in Sudan.
The acceleration program dubbed the Impact Acceleration Program would be a three-month program for the startups. 249Startups would provide business knowledge, bespoke services, and capital, in exchange for equity in the startups. The program will target minor ownership in ownership in pre-seed to seed-stage companies based in Sudan and will seek to be their active investor with typical cheque sizes of up to $15,000 in addition to a larger ticket size on follow-up investment for a selected number of companies.
249Startups, through Rhino Investments would continue to strengthen and restructure the private sector in Sudan so as to build a more sustainable ecosystem for startups while encouraging youth empowerment and job creation.
The Impact Acceleration program has received funding from impact investors such as 249Startups, Sudan NextGEN, and several other Sudanese angel investors. The program is also backed by the Challenged Fund for Youth Development (CFYE) in efforts to nurture the growth and development of early-stage companies.
“We can’t think of a more important time to invest in Sudanese young entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and trying to make an impact. Empowering our entrepreneurs, showing them we’re all still here to support them, and creating hope is more important now than ever. We’re also proud to partner with 249Startups who have worked diligently to make this happen,” Sally Elatta, founder of Sudan NextGEN, CEO AgilityHealth US.
The program will launch its first cohort in the first quarter of 2022, to bridge the funding gap in pre-seed and seed-stage businesses. The program would also invest in seven post-MVP stage ventures with a ticket size of up to $30,000 per venture each year in exchange for minor equity, and provide support with capital, talent acquisition, distribution, private sector linkages, customized services, and board nominations.
“We are not afraid to be a founder’s first investor. Matter of fact, our investors base provides up to $25,000 on follow-up funding after completing the Rhino impact acceleration program. Through the acceleration program, we aim to invest a total of $500,000 in 14 companies within the next two years. And it doesn’t stop there — we also aim to create and support over 500 jobs for youth in Sudan,” Ahmed Elmurtada, Co-founder and Managing Partner at 249Startups Hub.
Applications to apply to the program and the investments will open during the beginning of March 2022 for Sudanese entrepreneurs running businesses that aim to scale and create employment for youth.