With 2021 almost officially a quarter of the way through, there have been some major funding announcements from fintechs in the Middle East these past few months. Though the global pandemic has affected industries across the world, the fintech sectors globally have also been able to take advantage of the opportunity it presents in terms of digital transformation of the finance industry. Many fintechs have seen higher uptake due to the world moving online, and some were even founded last year in the midst of global uncertainty.
Here are some of the top fintech funding rounds that have happened recently in the Middle East:
Open Banking Platform Tarabut Gateway has raised $13 million, in what it claims to be the largest fintech seed round in MENA history. The round was led by Berlin-based Target Global, as well as Kingsway, Entrée Capital, CE Ventures and Zamil Investment Group, amongst others. Tarabut Gateway will use the funding to develop its product offerings and support regional expansion and growth.
Tarabut Gateway was first founded in 2017 in Bahrain, before recently expanding to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company enables fintechs and financial services providers to access the financial data of their customers from banks through its open banking APIs.
Abdulla Almoayed, the founder and CEO of Tarabut Gateway, said, “The Open Banking industry is a catalyst for transforming the way banks and fintechs in the region interact with one another. With regional regulators quickly adopting it in their strategies, Tarabut Gateway provides the infrastructure which enables enhanced collaborations between financial institutions and an increasingly agile and flourishing regional fintech sector. Through diligent regulation, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for MENA to gain a leading position in the global fintech arena. Something that we are very proud to be playing a part of.”
Israel-based Rewire has announced it has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by OurCrowd, an investment platform. Other participants in the round include former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, as well as Renegade Partners, Glilot Capital Partners and BNP Paribas.
“These investments and licenses are major steps toward fulfilling our company’s vision and will be used for the additional expansion of geographies and products,” said Rewire CEO Guy Kashtan.
Rewire is a Neobank that serves migrants, issuing electronic money and providing payment services while aiming to provide affordable financial services to its 230,000 users originally from Asian countries.
“I was most impressed with Rewire’s understanding of its customers and the unique pain points of migrants around the world. As an investor, it’s crucial to know that alongside a solid business plan there’s a wider view of social impact. Rewire proves to have both. I look forward to seeing Rewire’s meaningful impact in shaping the future of cross-border banking as this young startup takes on the noble cause of financial inclusion,” Jerry Yang said.
Lendo, a shariah-compliant firm based in Saudi Arabia, has raised $7.2 million in funding to help develop new technologies and products in its efforts to triple its revenue this year.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Raee, co-founder and CEO of Lendo, said: “We have financed more than 100 invoices worth over SR 60 million ($16 million) for SMEs. We are planning to grow and triple these numbers this year.”
The Series A round was led by Derayah Ventures and included participation from Seedra, Shorooq Partners, 500 startups and Impact46.
Founded in 2019, Lendo is a crowd-lending marketplace that provides small and medium enterprises with the opportunity to digitally pre-finance their outstanding invoice. Since launching last year, Lendo claims to have financed over 100 invoices worth over SAR 60million for SMEs and given more than SAR 3million in profits to investors.
AlRaee said, “We are proud to be backed by leading investors who have excellent knowledge and experience in the most rapidly maturing MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem. Aside from the financial support and expert advice from the pioneers in the market, their trust in our business model will help us achieve both our short term and long-term goals and scale our business to the next level.”
Egyptian based Dayra offers financial services to the nation’s unbaked gig economy workers and microbusinesses. Headquartered in Cairo, Dayra has joined Y Combinator and raised $3 million in a pre-seed round, reportedly the largest debt and equity pre-seed round in the MEA region. The company received investments from Tanmiya Capital Ventures, EFG EV Fintech, EFG Hermes and Y Combinator, amongst other angel investors.
Founded in 2020, Dayra aims to improve the financial wellbeing of the millions of unbanked people in MENA, starting with Egypt. The company aims to empower businesses by offering financial solutions provided through API integrations to their unbanked gig-workers, such as truck drivers, delivery couriers and freelancers, allowing them to offer better payment terms.
Omar Ekram, the founder and CEO of Dayra in a statement, said, “We are thrilled to be part of YC’s W21 batch and to close our pre-seed round. This is a key milestone in realizing our vision of providing the most accessible financial services solution in MENA, and delivering digital financial services to millions of financially excluded individuals, leveraging on our strategic partnership with EFG Hermes, starting with Egypt.”
Egyptian e-commerce platform zVendo has raised a six-figure US dollar funding round to support its efforts to become a national e-commerce hub. Investors include EFG EV Fintech, as well as various undisclosed angels investors.
Founded in 2018, zVendo is an e-commerce SaaS platform that enables businesses to start selling online through various advanced sales channels. The company has already expanded to the UAE and Saudi Arabia and plans to expand to the rest of the GCC countries with the latest round of funding.
“The main reason why EFG EV Fintech is thrilled to be part of zVendo’s journey is the opportunity to enable more SMEs in the region to digitise their commerce activities in both affordable and effective ways,” said Mahmoud El-Zohairy, CEO of EFG EV to Wamda. “We believe that this partnership will act as a catalyst providing SMEs with a platform for growth in parallel with the government’s economic development and digitisation endeavours.”
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