Two days in Cairo: an event recap

A few days ago, the WMF International Roadshow landed in North Africa to host an event in partnership with Startups Without Borders, focused on the international startup ecosystem and the innovation industry. Here is what happened during the two-day event. Plus: an interview with Notchnco, the startup competition’s 1st place.

Friday 17 February 2023
Written by
Angela De Gregorio

Share on

tecnologia startup

Last weekend WMF and Startups Without Borders laid down an outstanding opportunity for tech-forward startups seeking to expand their network and reach the right audience: a two-day event in Cairo, brimming with top international speakers and leading industry players, designed to explore together the main theme, "Go Borderless - investments and connections between Europe and the MENA region”. Here is a recap of what happened on February 10-11 in New Cairo.

As for every event part of the WMF International Roadshow, the final goal was to further promote cooperation, spread digital innovative culture, boost tech-driven entrepreneurship, and strengthen connections within a worldwide innovation ecosystem. The International Roadshow started in 2021 as a traveling project, a series of satellite events that aim at creating an international network where idea-sharing meets cooperation to find cutting-edge solutions to collective global issues.

The event featured over 170 speakers & tech powerhouses, with panels, talks, and workshops about how to foster a borderless world for entrepreneurs and businesses. On February 11th, WMF’s Head of Innovation Giuseppe Oppedisano joined other international speakers in a panel discussion exploring borderless investments, called "Middle East & Europe ecosystem: What is similar, what is different?"

The WMF Innovation team selected 15 startups to be part of the Startup Competition on the agenda, among over 176 applications received. WMF also brought a delegation of five startups from its own network to Cairo, where an expo area was set up inside the event, offering great visibility opportunities alongside many networking moments with local entrepreneurs, investors, and VC representatives. The jurors of the competition were international industry experts and representatives from VCs and investors funds, such as Tarek El-Kadi, Founder and Chairman of Med Angels, Mohammed AlMunifi, Associate at Faith Capital Holding, Giuseppe Oppedisano, Head of Innovation of WMF - We Make Future, Hossam Shafick, Senior Associate at Silicon Badia, and Rana Ezz, Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital specialist at MSMEDA.

Out of the 15 startups selected, six startups were awarded, including two Italian startups and one from Egypt.
Here is the chart with the 6 finalists:

1st place Notchnco
2nd place Yalla
3rd place Skillgym
4th place Talents Arena
5th place Golee
6th place AR Market

After the event wrapped up, we sat down with Bassem Nassif, CEO of the startup competition winner Notchnco, to learn more about this innovative reality.

WMF: Can you briefly outline to our readers your business project?

B.N.: Notchnco is a conversational solution provider, aiming to disrupt commerce and customer experience to deliver various use cases to serve multiple industries in the region. In light of the growth of messaging apps, especially WhatsApp, this brings a great opportunity for businesses to interact with their customers through the most convenient channel, which is messaging.

WMF: WMF encourages the development of innovative entrepreneurial projects harnessing digital tools and technologies to produce a positive impact on the environment and society, outlining the 12 challenges of the future. Which one (or more) of these challenges does your business project address, and how? 

B.N.: Our solution is focusing on developing a great optimized customer experience that impacts retail and commerce. We managed to develop our use cases to cover ordering, booking, and payments. We support businesses to achieve their sales through our conversational channels as well as marketing their products via our outbound messaging platform that includes the call to action as well as the 2-ways conversational feedback.

WMF: Let’s talk about the near future: what is next for Notchnco?

B.N.: We are focusing on expansion and growth across borders. Our 2023 outlook is towards the MENA region, and to be more specific we will be present in the GCC countries as we see the demand and the opportunities for growth using our conversational solutions across various messaging platforms. We managed to gain a lot of traction from various VCs and investors, who will be acting as strategic partners for our expansion plans.

WMF: How did the Notchco team come together? What are the most important qualities or skills to be working in a team inside an innovative growing business?B.N.: Team is coming from Telecom and ICT background, 50% of the board and leadership is female, collaborating since 2016 on multiple projects, having the DNA and recipe for success delivering ultimate results and tangible ROIs on all deliverables. We are only 20+ team members who are passionate about creating success stories, pinning milestones, and raising the bar not only for competition but also for ourselves. I honestly enjoy such a handpicked team, who represents the most important asset in the organization.

WMF: What did it mean for Notchnco to be part of the WMF International Roadshow, win the Startup Competition during the WMF Cairo event, and get the chance to attend WMF in June? What are your expectations for this journey?

B.N.: No words could express our excitement for being the number one startup from the WMF Cairo event, since we always look up to being the first not only in competitions but also in the markets that we present at. We managed to be the winner for Expand North Star Africa, which will allow us to be present in Gitex Africa this year in Dubai and Marrakech, but with WMF, we will be reaching out to the European markets, in one of the most credible and renown technology innovation events: WMF! We can't wait to be part of such an experience, and present our pitch to thousands of investors and potential customers during the event!

We wish the best of luck to Notchnco! And now it’s time for WMF to look forward, to the next stop of our journey: Tirana, Albania. See you there.

Share on