Accelerator

Propeller: An Amman-based accelerator that wants to invest $150,000 in cutting edge technology startups

Propeller, a recently launched Amman-based accelerator wants to invest up to $150,000 in cutting edge technology startups of MENA. Most probably it’s the first time you’re hearing about them but they’ve been quietly running their acceleration program for some time now and already have more than seven startups in their portfolio, some of which were part of the first acceleration cycle and some were accelerated individually.

Founded by two technology veterans, Zaid Farekh and Tambi Jalouqa who have more than twenty years of tech, product development and design experience between them, Propeller aims to help the startups that want to solve big regional problems using core technology.

“We believe technology can solve huge problems if done right. Having been in the software business for the past 10 years, we’ve seen many companies that had the potential to scale but bad technology practices limited this potential. Since we’re founders first, we’ve decided to merge our entrepreneurial skills with this realized potential and put our money where our mouth is, literally.” Zaid Farekh, one of the Founding Partners of Propeller told MENAbytes.

From the $150,000 as investment, Propeller is offering $100,000 in cash and $50,000 to cover the cost of working with their team and additional program offerings. Even if you consider it a $100,000 investment, it’s way more than what most of the accelerators offer in the region. The selected startups for Propeller’s six-month-long acceleration program will also have access to their alumni and mentor networks and office space. But the most interesting offering by the accelerator is perhaps their team of technologists who will work closely with the selected startups to help them build their technology.

“We’ve come across founders in other accelerator programs looking to raise additional funds during the first weeks of the program. This distracts the founders from building their companies at that crucial stage and not making the most out of the program,” said  Tambi Jalouqa, the Founding Partner of Propeller “In addition, through our experience with our portfolio companies, follow-on investment in this region takes longer than usual and that’s why we want to make sure startups graduate from our acceleration program with cash in order to scale while looking for follow-on investment. Another factor is that we don’t have a minimum number of companies that we have to invest in as part of our mandate. Our mandate is simple – we invest in great companies. Period.”

Some of Proepller’s investments and startups that accelerated with them include POSRocket and Derq. All the seven graduated startups from Propeller’s acceleration program were able to raise follow-on investment which is perhaps the best indication of the kind of companies they select and accelerate in their program.

They are looking for startups to join their acceleration program that starts in January. All the MENA-based startups that have a high technology component embedded in the business as a core advantage are eligible to apply. Propeller prefers to work with startups that have a technical co-founder but they’re willing to make exceptions for outstanding applications. All the selected startups will be accelerated in Jordan so the non-Jordanian startups will have to move to Amman for at least the first three months of the six-month program. During the other half, startups will have the option to stay or follow their markets if needed. Propeller’s team will also offer help with the visa and logistics to these startups.

In very exceptional cases such as not being able to be in Jordan, Propeller may also consider the option of remote acceleration for some outstanding applications.

You can apply for the acceleration program here. The deadline for applications for the cycle that starts in January 2018 is 25th December, 2017.

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.

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