EGYPT – Cairo-based construction tech startup Elmawkaa has raised a six-figure Seed round headed by Flat6labs and joined by a group of Oqal investors from Saudi Arabia.  

Elmawkaa plans to use the funds to onboard 2,000 suppliers and complete 4,000 transactions worth US$2 million in gross merchandise value. 

“We are not a listing or ordinary marketplace, we are digitalising and innovating the process of buying building materials through a bidding process and our matching algorithms,” Ebrahem Anwar, the co-founder and CEO of Elmawkaa said.    

“Which we built with our hands that deliver accurate and competitive quotations based on our experience in engineering, business, and software development in the last decade.”  

Elmawkaa 500 Startups’ Misk second batch in 2019. Since graduating from the accelerator, the firm appears to have made significant progress: it has onboarded over 1000 suppliers organically, received over 4.5K quotation requests, and its GMV has surpassed US$1 million. 

“Many sceptics told us because we are the first movers we will not succeed but we believed in the relentless team we have and in our experience in construction and technology,” Ebrahem Anwar said. 

“Our plan is to be the best at the domain we compete in and make the purchasing process seamless.”  

According to Elmawkaa’s CTO, Mahmoud Habib, Egypt’s building materials business is worth US$17.5 billion, accounting for 30% of the total market value in Mena. This is predicted to expand at a steady rate of more than US$62.3 billion by 2029. 

Elmawkaa, founded by Ebrahem Anwar, Mahmoud Habib, and Mohamed Thabet in late 2017, uses matching algorithms to make buying and selling building materials easier.  

Customers interested in purchasing construction supplies can use the website to get quotes from high-quality providers on the platform and compare them. 

By 2023, the company hopes to have reached every city in the country, enlist more than 4,000 suppliers, and offer more than 10,000 products, with 11,000 transactions totalling US$6 million in gross merchandise value.  

It intends to expand to Saudi Arabia by 2024, beginning with Riyadh and aiming for a US$30 million GMV. 

“I still remember the first campaign we have launched and the first client we have dealt with. It was too vague to figure out the best way to penetrate the market and generate revenues as well,” said CBO of Elmawkaa, Mohamed Thabet.   

“Shall we start with suppliers or contractors? How can we ensure our customers’ satisfaction? But after many A/B tests, experiments, and exerting a double effort to deal with our shortages, we were able to determine an inclusive framework of where to start. 

“Our success in striking partnerships with the biggest suppliers and key players in the market was a strong validation for what we are offering to the market.” 

The company credited mentors, listening to consumers, knowing how to prioritize, conducting experiments, and being customer-centric for its survival during COVID-19. 

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