WE COLLECTED THE DATA for this report between 2014 and 2015 using primary interviews with entrepreneurs and publicly available data from Crunchbase, AngelList, and LinkedIn. Tech companies are defined as those that are either actively developing a new information technology or those whose businesses are Internet-enabled. We excluded financial technology, green technology, and life sciences companies from this analysis. Our rationale for excluding these three industries was 1) the overlap between finance and technology has increased, and it is difficult to disaggregate the two; 2) manufacturing drives large portions of green technology; 3) expertise and founders in life sciences firms are largely distinct from those in information technology businesses. We created an initial list of Cairo tech companies and founders using Crunchbase, AngelList, and LinkedIn. We added to this list additional companies mentioned by entrepreneurs, who we define as company founders, in the course of interviews. In total, we reviewed nearly 1000 companies to determine if they met the aforementioned criteria. These companies were founded between 1993 and 2014. We interviewed 236 Cairo tech founders representing 361 Cairo tech companies, 295 of which had connections and therefore ultimately appeared on the map, and asked them five core questions:
• Who inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
• Who invested in your company?
• Who was your mentor during the growth and development of your company?
• Have you founded other Cairo tech companies?
• Which of your former employees have gone on to found Cairo tech companies?
We use the responses to these questions to create an edgelist of connections among companies, along with a corresponding set of five outbound connection types, each of which is represented by a different colored arrow. Where an entrepreneur has founded multiple companies, his or her most prominent company based on an index of founding date, number of employees, total investment, and exit sizes represents his or her influence on the map. Companies are oftentimes connected by more than one type of connection. Where a purple “founder” arrow connects any two companies, the only other arrow that can appear is the blue “former employee” arrow. Likewise, where mentorship and investment occur simultaneously between two companies and their entrepreneurs, we only include the green investment arrow. In the former case, we assume that inspiration, mentorship, and investment are encompassed within the act of serial entrepreneurship represented by the purple arrow. In the latter, we assume that angel investment comes with a degree of mentorship. Otherwise, multiple arrows can connect two companies. We calculate the size of a company’s circle based on directed closeness centrality for unconnected graphs. In layman’s terms, the size of a company is a function of the number of first-, second-, third-, etc. degree connections the company and its entrepreneurs have to others in the network. Each ring represents a time period and companies are located on a ring according to the year they were founded. Connections accrue to a company based on the time period in which the connections occurred. Where we do not know the year a connection occurred, we take one of two different approaches. Where we do not have year information for an inspiration, former employee, investment, or founder connection, we assume that the year of the connection between the source and the target companies is equal to the year the target company was founded. To estimate when a mentorship relationship started where we are lacking a start year, we reviewed mentorship relationships where we do have start year information.