2017 Set to be a Record Year for Fintech in MENA

Lynn Bizri, Aug 28 2017

2017 is looking like the year where fintech investment will reach an all-time high. According to the KPMG Pulse of Fintech report, total global fintech investment doubled quarter over quarter in Q2’17 to $8.4B, up from $3.6B in Q1’17.  Moreover, CB Insights reported an increase in venture capital investment in fintech from $3.75B in Q2’16 to $5.2B in Q2’17.

The United States and Europe have seen the vast majority of fintech investment this year; however, Asia is also starting to see its fair share.  The MENA region, in specific, has accounted for the smallest proportion of global fintech funding over the years (around 1%), yet has also experienced the most explosive growth, according to research conducted by BCG.

This year, the region has witnessed fintech investments amounting to over $24M, a 13% increase on the $18M in disclosed investments last year. Here are some of the deals that have taken place so far this year:

AUGUST 22 l NOW Money - $700,000K 

NOW Money raised $700,000 in a seed round from two US-based VC firms, Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital. NOW Money focuses on offering low-income expat workers a mobile banking solution for their remittance requirements. The startup will use the investment to launch their service across the UAE and then across the GCC.

Founded: 2015
Country: UAE
Category: Mobile Banking Technology

AUGUST 21 l PayTabs - $20M

PayTabs raised $20M in investment in a Series A round from undisclosed private investors. PayTabs is a payment solution built to provide buyers and sellers with an advanced technology to pay and get paid. The startup plans to use the investment to expand globally, invest in product development, engage in strategic acquisitions and create job opportunities.

Founded: 2014
Country: Saudi Arabia
Category: Payment Solution

MAY 24 l YallaCompare - $3.5M

YallaCompare, originally Compareit4me, raised $3.5M in a Series B round from lead investors STC Ventures and Wamda Capital. YallaCompare is a financial comparison site that helps users to find and compare everything from car insurance and credit cards to flights and phone plans. The startup will use the investment to expedite the growth of their fast-growing insurance business in the UAE and the greater MENA region.

Founded: 2011
Country: UAE
Category: Financial Comparison Website

In addition to these deals, TPay, MENA’s first and largest Direct Carrier Billing platform, acquired its competitor and the second largest Direct Carrier Billing service provider in Egypt, DCBEgypt, earlier this month for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2014, TPay is among the first Fintech companies in the region to revolutionize digital payments and has processed over 2.6 billion transactions since being launched. With the acquisition of DCBEgypt, TPay will be able to offer clients a greater regional experience.

Investment in fintech startups, especially at the seed level or during early rounds of capital-raising is crucial and highly valuable. ‘Fueling money into the fintech space allows two major developments to occur: easier access to funding for those who need it and easier methods of spending money for those who seek it,’ says Omar J. Sati, Managing Director of Dash Ventures. By lending support and resources to regional fintech startups that are aspiring to convert their ideas into reality, institutional investors and family businesses have an opportunity to partner with, foster and incubate the fintech ecosystem.

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