Back to 80 alumni-founded unicorns . . . and counting

McKinsey alumni-founded unicorns 2023: Middle East and Africa

The Middle East and Africa’s startup scene is heating up with the emergence of McKinsey alumni-founded companies worth over $1 billion. Three unicorns have been founded in three different countries, including Africa's first unicorn and two publicly traded companies with a combined market cap of over $6 billion. Spanning various industries, from e-commerce to transportation, alumni-founded unicorns are disrupting traditional business models and are creating innovative solutions to meet the needs of consumers in the region. Read on to see who made the list.

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Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olson


Magnus Olsson (STO, STH, DBI, ADH 06-12) and Mudassir Sheikha (DBB, DBI 08-12)
Headquarters: Dubai
Value: $3.1B at acquisition (Public information from Mar. 2019)

Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha founded this Middle Eastern ride-hailing company in 2012 to provide safe, reliable, affordable transportation options in the Middle East and North Africa. Operating in over 70 cities across ten countries, from Morocco to Pakistan, Careem connects riders with drivers through its mobile app. It offers a range of services, including carpooling, bike-sharing, and food delivery.

Careem reached unicorn status in 2017 and was acquired by Uber in 2019 for $3.1 billion. The company continues to operate as a separate brand with Mudassir as CEO and Magnus as Chief Product Architect. Etisalat by e& acquired a majority stake in the company in 2023.

Amir Schlachet, co-founder of Global-e


Amir Schlachet (TAV 06-08)
Headquarters: Petah Tikva, Israel
Value: $3.6B at IPO (Public information from May 2021)

Amir Schlachet is the co-founder and CEO of Global-e. This e-commerce platform helps retailers reach customers in over 200 countries and territories, providing a seamless and localized shopping experience. Global-e helps retailers overcome cross-border e-commerce challenges like language barriers and complex tax and shipping regulations.

Founded in 2013, Global-e celebrated its IPO and opened operations in Australia and the UAE in 2021. In 2022, the company acquired the Israeli e-commerce platform Borderfree and recorded an annual GMV of ~$2.45 billion.


Jeremy Hodara (PAR, MUM, NJE 06-12) and Sacha Poignonnec (PAR, NJE 07-12)
Headquarters: Ikeja, Nigeria
Value: $2.2B at IPO (Public information from Apr. 2019)

Jumia is a leading African e-commerce platform founded by alums Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec in 2012 to provide Africans access to affordable and convenient online shopping. The company offers a range of 6 million products from over 50,000 brands and operates in 13 African countries.

Jumia introduced the e-commerce holiday Black Friday to Nigeria in 2014, offering customers a wide range of products at discounted prices. The startup became Africa’s first unicorn in 2016 and became the first African tech startup to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. In 2022, McKinsey alum Francis Dufay (BRU 09-14) joined Jumia as CEO.

Discover alum-founded unicorns from other regions