BEIRUT: UK Lebanon Tech Hub was named the number one accelerator program in emerging markets by Seedstars, a Swiss-based global company that promotes startups around the world.
UKLTH’s The Nucleus Program was ranked as the best between 44 startup programs across the developed world and emerging markets, bypassing SME hubs such as Egypt, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“We are very proud of this ranking, especially as it comes just after the first cohort for us of this new format. We will continue to build on the learnings we have taken away from this group to improve our offering making it even more appealing for startups that need help getting their ideas off the ground,” Dimitri Papadimitriou, Acting Director (UK) and Head of International Marketing & Communications at UKLTH told Annahar.
The UK Lebanon Tech Hub is a joint initiative by Banque du Liban and the UK government through the British Embassy in Beirut. It aims to support the growth of the knowledge economy in Lebanon through the development of tech companies in the country, and create opportunities for Lebanese talent to access international markets.
“The Nucleus is a refined version of the startup accelerator that the hub launched in 2015. To rank top in emerging markets means we are on the right track. Our Seedstars ranking is a great endorsement of the true value of our program to our start-ups. After all, it is their growth that underlines our success,” said Nadim Zaazaa, CEO of UKLTH.
The objective of the analysis was to understand exactly how the offerings of different acceleration, growth, and incubation programs compare.
To decide the rankings, Seedstars pulled together data from the 44 programs, which include the cash made available to startups – a key consideration for founders as it will often be the only lifeline during a program. As well as Equity, the percentage stake in a firm that the program takes, along with program fees and the programs’ offer on an equity basis.
According to the data collected, The Nucleus program came out on top in emerging markets with Lebanese startup companies taking part valued at an average of $1,616,667.
“A key contribution to this is that The Nucleus took the lowest equity stake in any startups that came on board, an average of just 3 percent; while most other emerging countries in the ranking took a percentage stake in double figures, the highest being 22 percent from an accelerator in Ghana,” a statement from the UKLTH said.
Other accelerators in the emerging markets rankings included Argentina’s Eklos, which came in second with its companies valued at an average $1,209,000; India’s ISME ACE FinTech Accelerator held third place with companies valued at an average of $1,150,000.
“There is a lot of analysis on the results of the different accelerators in terms of funding raised for batches and successes/failures, but nothing regarding the actual package founders get in terms of the implied valuation going into a program,” CFO at Seedstars World, Charlie Graham-Brown said.
Oman’s Wadi Accelerator and the UAE’s Turn8 came in fourth and fifth place respectively, while other programs lower in the rankings such as those from Mexico, Jordan, Brazil, Ghana, Tunisia, Nigeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, came to companies posting an average value of less than $1 million.
“Accelerator packages aren’t easy to compare as they offer different structures (equity vs. convertible); they sometimes contain program fees, run for different lengths, and, of course, can be of different quality,” Brown said.
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