The ScaleSmart Investment Readiness and Scaleup Program launched its first batch onboarding five startups across various sectors. The selection process included a two-day selection event at Berytech Innovation Park in Mar Roukoz where 12 shortlisted startups pitched their ventures in front of a rotating panel of investment specialists, business development experts, and accomplished entrepreneurs. The judges that contributed to the panel were: Alia Nazar Farhat, Chadi Abou Nohra, Elie Akhras, Lama Makarem, Mazen Slim, Rodrigue Saab, Rudy Bekerjian, Samer Chlouk, Samer Semaan.
Alia Nazar Farhat, Financial Inclusion Expert Consultant
“We constantly see entrepreneurs with great ideas and a lot of passion, but they often miss the technical support to commercialize their idea, develop their strategy, to become investment ready. Programs such as the ScaleSmart Programs are extremely important, specifically now in Lebanon and in the current context and challenges we are facing. The entrepreneurs need the support of such programs so that they can explore their potential, grow and sustain their businesses.”
After another round of internal selection from the ScaleSmart team, five startups were officially selected into the ScaleSmart Program based on criteria such as scalability, innovation, market traction, and investability potential. The program offers tailored mentorship, advisory and linkages to fundraising to help startups scale their businesses.
The five startups onboarded into the first batch of the ScaleSmart Program are:
Ajjerni is Lebanon’s first online peer-to-peer rental marketplace. It allows its users to rent items to and from others in the Ajjerni community. From electronic equipment, camping/hiking gear, musical instruments, to even home furniture, office equipment, and venues, Ajjerni has currently 20 different categories, including one for free items and giveaways.
Book-ink is an all-in-one SaaS platform made to digitize, automate, and facilitate every step of a Tattoo artist’s daily operations and booking process, while also offering an engaging marketplace connecting artists, customers, and suppliers globally.
Brighter Energy is a Saas platform that supports entrepreneurs and small companies in solar photovoltaic installations who lack the engineering resources. The platform allows them to get leads, qualify leads, prepare proposals, give their end users full transparency and accountability for the solar installation.
Kudwa Technologies Ltd, previously known as Numu Cards, is a startup regulated in the UAE by the DIFC. They offer a SaaS planning and analysis tool that allows businesses to: automatically integrate their financial systems with Kudwa plug-and-play model, forecast with the modeling tool and out-of-the-box templates, get real-time dashboards and key metrics, seamlessly collaborate and share, with tailored user access, get actionable insights with scenario planning and machine learning.
Little Melly is a startup working on producing freshly made and additive-free baby food making fresh and healthy baby food accessible to today’s busy yet health-conscious parents. Fresh meals are catered to babies via subscription models and retail sales, freshly cooked each week, and packaged using healthy processes.
Starting Their Scaling Journey
These five startups that were selected for this batch of ScaleSmart will be receiving comprehensive support in several critical areas to help them prepare for a successful investment journey. Throughout the program, specialists will closely collaborate with the startups to establish their data rooms and evaluate their startup’s valuation, develop a robust investment pitch deck, and connect them with top-level executives and advisors from Lebanon, the Netherlands, and other international locations. Additionally, the program will provide founders with the skills to plan their startup’s fundraising path and successfully negotiate with various investors. Finally, startups will be connected to investors through investment events and personalized matchmaking opportunities.
“With the ScaleSmart program, we hope to bridge the fundraising opportunity gap that prevents promising pre-seed and seed startups from surviving and scaling. We are working on equipping the entrepreneurs with the guidance and tools they need to increase their traction and be ready to sit at the table with investors with more readiness and confidence. We have faith in the 5 startups that we selected for the first batch of the program, and are excited to support them through the program in this critical stage of their growth!”Yara Hamdar, Accelerator Manager
ScaleSmart is a program under the ACT Smart Innovation Hub Initiative, which is co-funded by the Embassy if the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon. Its primary objective is to support the growth and sustainability of startups, creating more employment opportunities for young people and revitalizing the local economy.