EGYPT – Interact Labs, an IT company which provides interactive solutions which develops solutions, has secured funding commitments worth US$60,000 after taking part in Zoom-based Shark Tank equivalent The Nest. 

The Nest, a Zoom-based digital event is a COVID-19 lockdown-inspired event where each week three startups pitch to a panel of angel investors, and anyone else that wishes to listen, in a bid to secure funding. 

The online show has helped African startups secure more than US$135,000 in funding commitments in just three episodes from angel investors such as Vishal Agarwal, Zachariah George, Raj Kulasingam, Sewu-Steve Tavia, Jim Davidson and Piers Clark. 

The fourth episode saw another three startups take part, pitching in front of angel investors Laurent Lamothe, Geetha Tharmaratnam, and Kulasingam, with Egyptian startup Interact Labs receiving commitments worth at least US$60,000 from those angels and others listening.  

The other startups taking part were Ivory Coast’s Julaya, which provides small merchants and SMEs with access to digital financial services, and Kenya’s MPost, which creates virtual postal addresses for users. Both received interest from a handful of investors, but no firm commitments. Both, however, secured sizeable funding rounds in December 2019.

During lockdown, The Nest will take place weekly. When lockdown restrictions ease, Jim Chu, chief executive officer (CEO) of UNTAPPED and organiser of the initiative, told Disrupt Africa it will occur once a month. 

“We’ve seen the potential for this to make so many valuable connections, we are definitely going to keep it going, indefinitely,” he said.  

“I’d like to see The Nest for different regions and specific verticals in the future. We intend to open-source the operating model and brand so that others can take it far beyond what we can do.” 

Interact Labs develops hardware and software products that enhance collaboration, increase engagement and effectiveness through an enhanced user experience and interactivity.    

It aims to maximize the user experience with the digital world through interacting with fully-fledged control unit.