IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing US$1 million in Vezeeta, an Egyptian technology company that operates an online platform that allows patients to quickly find doctors in three Middle Eastern countries.
The investment is part of IFC’s broader efforts to support entrepreneurship, expand access to finance for start-ups and help create new markets.
IFC’s equity investment is part of a larger financing package of up to US$12 million in capital that Vezeeta recently raised from several investors with BECO Capital, a venture fund that IFC invested in earlier this year, among the financiers.
The funding will help Vezeeta—whose database includes more than 4,300 doctors and specialists—to scale up its operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan while expanding into other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
IFC’s support is also expected to help Vezeeta more than triple the number of patients it supports, boosting it to 1 million within the next five years.
“IFC is a global power that will not only help fuel our growth but also bridge us to an incredible global network.” Stated Amir Barsoum, Founder & CEO of Vezeeta while announcing the round.
Egypt’s population is expected to grow to 128 million by 2030 from about 97 million today. The country’s spending on health care, however, has not kept pace with population growth. IFC’s financing for Vezeeta aims to change that. It is a part of a push by IFC to support innovation in the disruptive-technology space in emerging markets.
“Start-ups like Vezeeta have the power to drive innovation in the Middle East and Africa,” said Philippe Le Houérou, IFC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Entrepreneurs across the African continent have enormous creativity and drive—and they’re using the power of new technologies to tackle the region’s most formidable social and economic challenges.”
Founded in 2012, the startup has to date raised over US$22 million.
In the fiscal year 2018, IFC investments in Egypt hit a record $1.2 billion (including funds mobilized from other investors, supporting the country’s banking, infrastructure, construction, agribusiness, and manufacturing sectors.
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