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InstaDeep’s £562 million exit: A milestone for Tunisia and the Arab world’s AI industry

The success story of InstaDeep, a decisional AI start-up, is an inspiration not just for Tunisia but the entirety of the Arab world

BioNTech SE, German biotechnology company, announced the acquisition of British AI startup InstaDeep for up to £562 million ($682 million). The company made an initial offer which rounded up to £362 million, according to information released by the company on Tuesday. The deal also includes shares in BioNTech for the full acquisition of the now London-based Tunisian-born AI company, which the German pharmaceutical giant previously invested in last year as part of InstaDeep’s Series B. The start-up’s owners will also be eligible to receive payments of up to £200 million based on performance. The acquisition, which will allow BioNTech to bring on board around 240 new employees, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.


A diverse company

Founded in 2014, InstaDeep works in a few high-potential sectors such as biology, logistics, energy, and transport. It specializes in decision-making AI. The start-up, which now has offices in Tunis, Paris, London, Lagos, Boston, the Bay Area, Cape Town, and Dubai, was born from the founders’ passion for AI and their entrepreneurial spirit. Karim Beguir, a 45-year-old polytechnic engineer, and his partner Zohra Slim, a 38-year-old self-taught computer scientist, started with the goal of creating a company that could combine cutting-edge AI research with the drive to build a successful business. The company, which claims to have a diverse workforce, half of which is Tunisian, has always kept its ties to its home country. BioNTech SE’s acquisition of the start-up is a testament to the hard work and dedication of its founders, Karim Beguir and Zohra Slim, and their team.

The acquisition is significant not only for Tunisia but also for the entire Arab world, as it highlights the true potential of AI startups in the region. The success of InstaDeep, which was founded with only $2,000 and two laptops by its owners in Tunis, demonstrates that companies in the Arab world can achieve global success and recognition in the AI field. This acquisition also serves as inspiration and encouragement for other entrepreneurs and innovators in the region.

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Published on 13 January 2023