- Papama Nyati
Our Pre-Seed Journey: One-on-one with Egyptian Startup, CIRCLE
Having secured US$50 000 in pre-seed funding from 500 Startups, Circle is determined to empower property managers in Egypt with software tools to better engage with their clients, handle their requests and reduce operational costs.
Headquartered in the beautiful land of pyramids and rich history, Circle is one of Egypt’s hot up-and-coming tech startups, and it is digitizing the ancient industry of real estate.
Circle provides a property management software designed to empower property managers. It achieves this through a mobile app that enables property managers to better engage with their clients, handle their requests and reduce operational costs. Circle targets gated communities in Egypt and asserts that users, property managers and tenants, benefit from the App as they can explore and request a wide range of services with a click of a button.
The Egyptian startup launched in 2019 and secured Pre-Seed funding of US$50 000 in May 2020 from the world-renown early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator, 500 Startups.
Circle is the brainchild of its co-founders Nancy Kamal and Essam Maged. Nancy heads up product and sales and marketing. Nancy speaks on their soaring business and journey.
Tell me about your journey leading up to co-founding Circle.
NANCY. I have been working in digital platforms for most of my working career. I have previously worked at MSN in Arabia, Morocco and Pakistan; then I joined Souq (Amazon) as a business development manager. I joined the real estate scene in 2017 with Mountain View and City Edge and recently Orascom Development. I gained my digital knowledge with the business challenges to try to leverage on the technology to provide a seamless customer experience, cut cost and achieve higher productivity rates.
How did the idea of Circle come about, what was the market opportunity you identified?
NANCY. While working for Mountain View, I was in charge of digital transformation, which entailed setting the infrastructure for a paperless and customer centric experience. Real estate is a complicated industry and the experience was not pleasant. So I wanted to provide an interface that can help stakeholders in the property market work smarter, efficiently and deliver a great customer experience.
Who are your clients and what is your unique selling proposition when approaching them?
NANCY. Our paying clients include Mountain View, Inertia, Misr Italia, Al Attal and others. We cover the full life cycle of the client in terms of real estate. Our clients in real estate trust us in our ability to build impactful solutions.
Funding and the road ahead
Circle secured US$50 000 in capital funding in May 2020 from 500 Startups - who are world-renown for investing in and accelerating more early-stage startups than any other global venture capital firm. The funding went a long way for Circle which they used to hire tech talent and launch new features on their platform, including building virtual sales offices for their clients to be able to engage with their clients, and perform online payments.
Nancy believes that Circle can be the leading player in the property tech industry in Africa, and they are paddling well through the rough waters of the pandemic that has many startups on the edge of shut down. Nancy states, “Covid-19 posed a difficult time for many startups but proved a great blessing for us. We were able to double our user numbers as many property managers realized the significance of the app and used it to provide seamless, efficient services and deliver an amazing experience for their clients.”