La Reina, an online fashion rental platform in Egypt, has raised $1 million from Algebra Ventures and 500 Startups in a Series A funding round led by the country’s largest venture capital fund Algebra Ventures, as well as global VC fund 500 Startups.
The concept is the first for rental designer clothes and accessories in Egypt, promoting sharing rather than owning. Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, it allows women to rent their evening and bridal gowns and accessories to each other, resulting in an expanding collection every month.
To date, the platform has garnered over EGP3.5m ($197,997) for dress owners.
“We aim to grow our current closet in order to reach 5,000 items by next January. This would not only mean a revenue worth of EGP8m ($452,565) for the dress owners, but also a humble boost for the local economy and a starting point for a transformative business model,” said El-Tanawy.
The company also plans to use the fund to expand its team, according to co-founder Diab.
“Our team has tripled in the past two months, and we’re still looking for more spectacular minds,” he said.
Algebra Ventures’ managing partner Ziad Mokhtar said, “Ghada and Amr are two smart, resourceful and passionate founders with a clear vision of what they want to build. La Reina is taking the first big step in transforming the way Egyptians consume fashion. Startups that go after sizable multi-billion dollar industries, like fashion, attract Algebra’s attention. La Reina is leveraging shifts in consumer behavior driven by technology, and that excites us.”
Algebra Ventures is a $50 million Cairo-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. Its investments include Eventtus, Elmenus, GoodsMart, and Filkhedma.
500 Startups’ partner Sharif El-Badawi said the VC had been watching La Reina since the beginning and were impressed with their innovative approach to solving a regional pain point.
“Not only have we seen similar ideas succeed in the US where the pain point is arguably lower than a place like Egypt (where every week seems to have a formal event with strong social pressures requiring women to dress-to-impress), we were delighted to see how La Reina adapted their strategy and business model around the local nuances and needs on both sides of the marketplace,” he said.
500 Startups is the most active global early-stage VC fund and startup accelerator focusing on discovering and backing the most talented founders worldwide.
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