Morocco’s startup ecosystem is still in its development phase but is fast approaching an inflection point to become a fast-growing tech landscape. Startup investment is making a comeback to North Africa. Morocco, along with Egypt is leading the entrepreneurial revolution in the region.
According to African Funding Report 2017 by WeeTracker, Morocco saw about USD 3.2 Mn being invested, coming in at sixth place. It was ranked 65th in the world and 2nd in North Africa, scoring 29.2 points in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI). The North African kingdom has been heavily garnering foreign investment and has made significant improvements to its infrastructure. The country is also home to startup spaces throughout the capital Rabat, the economic center of Casablanca, and even sleepy seaside towns like Taghazout.
The adoption of the auto-entrepreneur framework in 2014, similar to the one in place in France, Morocco has put in place a lever to integrate the informal economy into a legal framework. More than 40,000 ‘auto entrepreneurs’ are now benefiting from simplified taxation and access to microloans as well as to social security.
WeeTracker Research brings to you a comprehensive map of all the key players involved in shaping up the Moroccan startup ecosystem. Everything from incubators, accelerators, government-led initiatives, startup communities to angel and venture funds.
Maroc Numeric Fund– Managed by MITC Capital, the Maroc Numeric Fund is a public-private investment fund launched in 2010 and is dedicated to financing Moroccan technology startups. It provides seed funding to innovative startups headquartered in Morocco. It also launched an Angel Fund in 2011.
MNF launched MNF Angel Fund in 2011. The angel fund includes around ten investors who fund startups from the Information and Communication Technology, green tech or biotech sectors. The ticket size ranges from USD 10 K to USD 100 K.
Key people: Dounia Boumehdi
Fund Size: Fund 1 – USD 12 Mn, Fund 2 – USD 21.4 Mn
Ticket Size: USD 500K to 1 Mn
Focus Sector: Information and Communication Technologies, 20 percent share allocated to green tech, biotechnology, or any other innovative generalist sector.
Innov Invest Fund– was launched by Morocco’s Central Guarantee Fund. It plans to disburse the capital to 100 seed stage companies against equity and smart debt in 300 companies in the next five years.
Fund Size: USD 75 Mn (USD 51 Mn has come from World Bank)
Ticket Size: USD 30 K to USD 1 Mn
Fund Size: USD 3.73 Mn
Ticket Size: from USD 53 K to USD 530 K
Key People: Mouad Bouirig
Wamda Capital– This is counted as one of the most active startup investors in the MENA region. It launched its first fund in 2015 and typically invests in Series A. Investors in the fund include Abraaj Group, Zain Group and International Finance Corporation, which spent USD 14 million and is part of The World Bank Group.
Fund size: USD 70 Mn
Focus Sector: Sector agnostic
Outlierz Ventures is a seed investment firm based in Casablanca. It counts amongst its backers Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel and 500 Startups’ Hassan Haider and will invest in pre-seed and seed stage companies.
Key people: Kenza Lahlou
Ticket Size: USD 20k-USD 100k – for idea stage startups and; from USD 50K – USD 200K for seed/series A in growing companies.
Impact Lab is a Casablanca based incubator founded in 2014 by Leyth Zniber for high social and environmental impact innovation and entrepreneurship in Morocco and the region. It has partnered with NUMA, a European accelerator to launch five-month long acceleration programmes wherein they take 5% equity in exchange for access to office space, one on one sessions with experts, workshops, tutorials and more. Its ticket size would range from USD 50 K to USD 150 K.
Endeavor Morocco was launched with the support of the United States Agency for International Development in Morocco, which has provided a grant to start Endeavor Morocco through its Morocco Economic Competitiveness (MEC) program with the aim of advancing youth entrepreneurship. Under the leadership of Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder & CEO, Endeavor Morocco is Endeavor’s sixth affiliate in the MENA region. The initiative provides these entrepreneurs a range of services including mentoring, access to key networks and introductions to sources of smart capital.
Morocco Incubation and Spin-off Network (RMIE) was established by the National Support Programme in 2002. The RMIE comprises 17 active incubators out of which 12 university-based incubators that receive financial support from the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST) with ticket size up USD 63 K.
AFEM: Morocco-based, Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco supports Moroccan women in taking initiatives for starting and further developing their businesses. Established in 2000, AFEM launched the network Maroc Pionnières. From 2006 to 2012, the AFEM also helped create 70 enterprises and had four operational incubators in the country – Casablanca, Rabat, El Jadida, Tangier.
Dare Inc, is an incubation and acceleration program based in Rabat launched in 2015, by Moroccan Centre for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (Moroccan CISE). It aims to support social start-ups active in various fields such as energy, recycling and agriculture right from their establishment. The average ticket size is MAD 30 K (USD 3 K). Since its launch, it has supported 80 projects and incubated 43 start-ups. Startups backed by Dare Inc. which include Eco-Heat, Shems for Lighting, Seaskin and Amendy Foods.
Maroc PME also known as National Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises is an initiative by the government of Morocco to promote startups and SMEs. An industrial Acceleration plan was released in July 2015 and since then has launched multiple initiatives and framework to support Entrepreneurs. The three main agendas of the Maroc PME initiative is to create sustainable jobs, develop efficient ecosystems and to promote an environment conducive to entrepreneurship.
StartUp Maroc– Started in 2014, in Morocco, aims to prepare a new generation of entrepreneurs, to contribute to the creation of better conditions for the development of fundable startups. It organizes two flagship events: “Maroc Startup Cup,” the largest business model competition for the most promising Moroccan startups and “Startup Weekend Morocco,” a nationwide roadshow of Startup Weekend Events.
CEED Morocco was founded in 2013 and headquartered at Casablanca. It was founded by Small Enterprise Assistance Funds with the primary purpose to build and develop SMEs in Eastern and Southeastern Europe as well as the MENA Region. It claims to train entrepreneurs in about 13 countries with USD 7 Mn investments poured.
Mowgli Mentoring– Founded in London in 2008, Mowgli Mentoring is a not-for-profit organization covering over 14 countries and driving inclusive economic in the Middle East and Africa. Mowgli has an alumnus with over 1650 members and has matched over 750 entrepreneurs with trained mentors also offer three distinct programs: Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, Mentor Training Program and MFI Mentor Training Program.
Réseau Entreprendre– Réseau Entreprendre is a network of business leaders’ associations specialized in entrepreneurial support since 1986. Founded in marcq-en-baroeul, France, it has about 120 partners in 10 different countries with its average ticket size being USD 36 K.
Injaz-Morocco was created in 2007 under SNI Group to enable young Moroccans to become a new generation of entrepreneurs. INJAZ has its flagship program Entrepreneurship Masterclass. This pilot project was of a 13-month period with the aim of developing it in other regions of Morocco. In Another unique program for Social Entrepreneurship, INJAZ Al-Maghrib and the SNCF Foundation signed a partnership agreement; it aims for citizenship education for about 3,600 young people from Tangiers, Kenitra and Rabat.
Moroccan Association of Equity Investors (AMIC)– Became operational in 1993, AMIC has now about 21 management companies under it, raised a total of about MAD 16.6 Bn (USD 1.77 Bn) at the end 2016 and also invested 183 companies. AMIC provides training, data collection, statistical analyses and conducts market research that it distributes to its members and investors.
Startup Grind is a global community for entrepreneurs designed to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs, regularly organizes events for the purpose. The cornerstone of the community is monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies. The Moroccan chapter is quite active with over 870 members.
StartupYourLife is a select community of young Moroccan entrepreneurs that has brought together enthusiasts, angels, and potential investors together. It hosts the annual Level Up Morocco meetup in association with organizations like SeedStars World and Jordanian accelerator Oasis500, apart from hosting regular events to share resources and experiences.
With a whole host of enablers present in the Moroccan startup Ecosystem, it will certainly be interesting to see where it is headed and how will the journey shape up. So keep watching this space – we are soon coming up with a piece on another critical element of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this North African nation – the co-working spaces.
Also, if you too are an organisation dedicated to nurturing startups here and have been missed out, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected]