We Got Funded: Egypt Online Rental Startup La Reina Raises US$1 Million In Series A Round
Founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab, La Reina, an online platform for couture rental, has raised US$1 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital fund Algebra Ventures and global investors 500 Startups. The Egypt-based couture rental platform allows women to rent their evening and bridal gowns, wherein its business model is based on partnership with clients, working hand in hand with dress owners, as the startup receives a rate upon consignment. El-Tanawy had the idea for the enterprise after facing difficulties in finding the right designer dress for her budget at her own wedding, and sought to develop a digital solution for the problem.
Amr Diab, founder, La Reina
The company’s USP, Diab says, is its distinctive offering in Egypt- in the past two years, according to El-Tanawy, La Reina counts having 250 clients and 80 brides, with the dress owners themselves collecting $3.5 million. “Now that the concept itself is gaining momentum, our USP is in how systematically we operate,” Diab says. “Our process secures the safety of each dress through standard paperwork and insurance. On the other hand, our USP in comparison to new competitors is in the diversity and volume of our inventory.”
Ghada El-Tanawy, founder, La Reina
With respect to the investors they got on board for La Reina, the founders have known 500 Startups since 2016, with the startup having benefited from its expertise on digital strategy and marketing. As for Algebra Ventures, El-Tanawy noted that the initial meeting itself made it clear that the two entities shared similar visions. “We consider them more of partners rather than investors,” he notes. With the newly acquired capital, the founders intend to utilize it on finding talent, with a long-term outlook on being a player in the local fashion industry.
As for their future plans, Diab says, “When you think online fashion in Egypt, La Reina should become the answer. We continuously work towards the day when renting becomes a daily choice for millions of Egyptian women.” El-Tanawy adds, “We aim to become the biggest fashion closet in Egypt through reaching the threshold of 5,000 items by next January. This would not only mean a revenue worth of EGP8 million for the dress owners; but also, a humble boost for the local economy, and a starting point for an underrated business model.”
The Investor's View
Ziad Mokhtar, Managing Partner, Algebra Ventures
Why did Algebra Ventures decide to get on board as investors for La Reina?
“When a tech startup is taking steps to transform an industry as big as fashion, this attracts our attention. This is happening because La Reina offers a 10x improvement in what someone can wear for any specific amount of money. When such a startup is also led by founders, like Ghada and Amr, who are visionary, smart, and resourceful, we get excited. Fashion is sizable, it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Shifting consumption behavior from owning to sharing can turn around the whole industry. Being early-stage investors, we aim to realize substantial returns on a successful exit.”