Thursday , March 30 2023

Opening of the Tunisian startup ecosystem


(CIO Mag) – At the beginning of 2018, when Partech Ventures published a study on "Capital injections of African startups in the new technology sector in 2017", it rightly reveals that the sector is still largely dominated by Anglofon, South Africa ($ 167 million), Kenya (US $ 147 million) and Nigeria (US $ 114 million). Then came Egypt (37), Rwanda (36.7), Ghana (20), Uganda (16) and three French speaking African countries, close to 10: Senegal (8th place with 10.7 million dollars), Morocco (3.9) and Cameroon (2.7).

So go to Tunisia and only $ 1.5 million was raised in 2017. Because who knows Tunisia and its Hightech ecosystem, there must be a mistake somewhere. The first Arab and African country to connect to the Internet in 1991, Tunisia is one of the main international submarine cables (4) to Africa.

The Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) is the only North African Internet exchange point (TunIXP) and since 2016 it is the first certified IPV6 training center accredited by AFRINIC (African Network Information Center) and manages the giant Akamai servers installed in the country.

In Tunisia, ICT accounts for 7.2% of GDP, as is tourism, 7.5% growth, 100 000 jobs (7500 jobs per year), 1200 ICT companies created. In particular, since the establishment of the country's independence, it has established one of the most voluntary scientific and technical training policies that produce about 10,000 engineers per year in terms of 11.6 million people, just as France's proportional population is 67 million, training about 32,000 engineers a year.

In 2015, there are not less than 590 laboratories and research units, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Tunisia has significant achievements in research and development. And in 2014, the country is proud of 1803 researchers per million inhabitants. It is the leader of the MENA region and the third in Africa for the period from 1996 to 2015. World Bank.

So, as with such an environment and such abilities, Tunisia is not recognized as a great African hightech, just as South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Egypt, Morocco or Senegal. In 2017, Tunisian start-ups have more than $ 10 million.

Should we invest $ 10 million to get into the top 10 and be seen as an attractive, innovative ecosystem for investors? We have the right to ask a question …

It is all the more surprising that in 2018, the state collects names that are recognized as the most innovative African country (Bloomberg), the first place in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, and has the best mobile internet connection. on the Continent (Speedtest Global Index). Tunisia is full of untapped talents, Forbes published an article published on January 11, 2018.

This lack of visibility is mainly due to lack of communication, not skills, and when we live in the 21st century, we must recognize the political issue of communication. Communication, as well as information, culture, knowledge, are modern industries. But in our modern society, which is undermined by the economic crisis, tension and unemployment, success is culture. It is cultivated and becomes a form of communication that spreads ambition and positive attractiveness to national image, such as Estonia, Jordan,

Rwanda, Chile or Singapore.

The massive brain drain to the Tunisian Government by introducing the first African-Arab Founding Act to monitor, support the development of the Tunisian startup ecosystem to help the country's youthful power and combat the mass exodus of talents The OECD refers to the 95,000 Tunisia skills that have chosen to leave their country since revolutions), he demonstrates his will, ambition and was able to communicate on his initiative. The country is becoming an example of a model in Africa, and this is because Tunisia has talent, knowledge, education, research and innovation on the African scale that it has been an African Alliance chosen to discuss the development of an African startup ecosystem.

What is it about this ecosystem? According to the ILBOURSA site in Tunisia, the financing of Tunisian start-ups in 2017 was over $ 10.5 million, far from 1.5.

The premium is given to BARAC (Fintech-Big Data) with US $ 3.7, especially from Barclays, which analyzes large data in real time to better protect IT systems, and that was the only one that discovered the Wannacry virus. Then comes NEXTPROTEIN (Agritech) with US $ 1.7, which grows black soldiers flying larvae, turning into valuable components for aquaculture and pets, as well as agricultural fertilizers, among investors – bottom Kima Ventures Xavier NIEL and Jérôme LECAT, Silicon Valley investor.

EXPENSYA (software), specialized in automated management of professional spending, increased 1.2 million. Its solution is now available in 30 countries in Western Europe, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Tunisia, Singapore, Morocco, Japan, China and Hong Kong. . Then follow each other, POLYSMART (video games) 0.6, DATAVORA (big data) 0.48, ILBOURSA (media) 0.4, ROAMSMART (telecommunications) 0.4, SYMMETRYK (IoT) 0.24, PAYPOS (software) 0.2 METHANIA, 0.2 (creative industry).

In total, the ecosystem had 25 transactions in 2017, disregarding the many newcomers or investors who did not want to communicate and would allow the country to invest around $ 18 million. 500 newly created and 20 incubators The ecosystem is also the Tunisian Business Association, which brings together about 500 start-ups, high-performance incubators / accelerators (over 20) including IntilaQ, Flat6Labs, famous universities, research funds and more. investments like Africinvest.

It should be noted that 60% of new businesses are export oriented, 20% of them go to European markets, 21% to African markets and 14% to Middle East markets, and only 40% of them. do not sell their products online between them.

These newly created companies, which work in very different fields, are taking part in Tunisia's success story, which we know, but the world does not know.

As you can see, Tunisia lacks a success story and is also present in key industries such as Fintech (SWIVER, PAYPOS, ULTIMIUM, VNEURON, HADRUM, KAOUN, MITIGAN …), artificial intelligence, Blockchain (ELECTRIFY NETWORK, DIGITUS, DAR BLOCKCHAIN) opening, the first Blockchain incubator on the continent and the African Blockchain Summit held in Tunisia in May 2018. Similarly, in Tunisia, female entrepreneurship is growing.

is run by women SEABEX and iFARMING (agritech). CARPET PLUS, AUCTION IT 4 HER, SHE SHARES, HAND AND CRAFTS and AHMINI are the first Tunisian start-ups launched under the World Bank's EmpowerHer initiative. In addition to the lack of international communication and visibility, the ecosystem also suffers from 'outsourcing' outsourcing, promoted by TUNISIE DIGITALE 2020 to attract investment and create jobs in the ICT sector.

As part of the SMART TUNISIA program, the government also announces the creation of SMEs / SMEs as start-ups and it is precisely this mixing that is harmful.

Like SMART TUNISIA, start-up should be your program. Another element is the positioning of almost all Tunisian start-ups on the B2B niche, which is historically explained by the fact that coupling is offshoring. go international and get more "affordable" funding.

Although Tunisian start-ups will not benefit from the influence of African competitors on B2C, it will be difficult to create a unicorn, but they are of greater value, have an international presence that no other African country, they have acquired business skills, the flexibility to eliminate competition from those IT companies who choose to buy them.

Thus, VENTE-PRIVEE has just announced the acquisition of DACO from France and Tunisia, which puts artificial intelligence into the brand competitiveness strategy.

Article published in CIO Mag Nr

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