Fintech Founders Monthly | Super App, Talents and Payments in the Metaverse

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Welcome to Fintech Founders Monthly for March 2022! 

It’s the third month of 2022, and the Fintech Founders Series has already hosted three outstanding episodes with founders who have diverse and remarkable career paths. In the first episode, we deep dived into the Egyptian Fintech landscape to uncover how Super Apps can not only help drive financial inclusion, but create immense value for consumers. We celebrated International Women’s Day by hearing three different female founder’s perspectives on gender diversity in Fintech globally. And to add to it, we also learned about the payments landscape in the UAE and how to make payments in the Metaverse. So what’s the potential of Super Apps? How can payments add a new layer of experience to the Metaverse? And in terms of the bigger picture, how can we make the Fintech Industry more inclusive?

Gain insights into the markert with the main highlights of our latest Fintech Founders episode hosted by Ronit & Gaurav and the latest funding-related news from the MEASA region. Let’s get started!

Quotable Quotes from our FinTech Founders

“Only 33% of the Egyptian market is banked, the rest is underbanked. When we launched the app in 2021, it was a blast in Egypt.”

WALEED SADEK, FOUNDER AND CEO OF PAYSKY

“In crypto, the number of people who tell me ‘I do not understand it so I can not join.’ …. ‘Nobody does. So please join.’

MARIEKE FLAMENT, CEO OF NEAR FOUNDATION

“You need to think like a Fintech, act like a Fintech, and build like a Fintech, but controls like a bank.”

RAMANA KUMAR, CEO OF MAGNATI

How to Launch the Next Alipay?

The untold story of Waleed Sadek, Founder and CEO of PaySky.

While Asia is at the forefront of the super app industry, the Middle East and Africa region are not that far behind. PaySky is one of the leading Fintech companies in the region with a mission of democratising e-payments, especially with the upcoming launch of their Yalla Super App product in Cairo and Libya to help build the Egyptian National payment gateway.

Waleed Sadek, Founder and CEO of PaySky, our guest on the eleventh episode of the Fintech Founders Series, shared how a super app can provide advanced financial technology for individuals, merchants, financial institutions, and companies worldwide, which is aligned with Egypt’s Vision 2030, the country’s strategy to achieve digital transformation.

During the session, Waleed underlined the importance of finding talent, which is always a challenge all around the world. Since Fintech and financial services need specific talents, you need to build your own talent pool. Furthermore, Waleed highlights that though there has been a lot of talks on partnerships and collaborations between banks and fintechs, fintechs are still seen primarily as threats and competitors.


Fintech and Talent

The untold story of Co-Founder of CFTE, Tram Anh Nguyen, CEO of Near Foundation, Marieke Flament, Co-Founder of Talle, Bianca Lopes.

Only 1.5% of global Fintech firms are founded solely by women, and receive just 1% of total Fintech funding. But the Fintech sector has received nearly $200Bn in VC investments in the past 10 years. Why is there a gap? Tram Anh Nguyen, Co-Founder of CFTE, Marieke Flament, CEO at NEAR Foundation, and Bianca Lopes, Co-Founder of Talle our guest on the twelfth episode of the Fintech Founders Series, shed some light on how gender diversity can be supported and encouraged in the Fintech ecosystem.

During the session, Tram Anh stressed how skills and the right education can help diverse talent thrive in Fintech. Furthermore, Marieke said that experiencing different cultures has a transformative impact on the mindset and career. Last but not least, Bianca underlined that being the first woman in her industry was hard, but it is possible to change this and work towards making Fintech more inclusive.


How to Become the App Store of Payments

The untold story of CEO of Magnati, Ramana Kumar.

The Middle East’s transition to digital payments is accelerating. Magnati is positioned among the top players in the UAE across payment platforms. Magnati has been awarded the “Best New Digital Payments Solutions Provider UAE 2021”, and many more. In episode thirteenth of the Fintech Founders Series, Ramana Kumar shared what it takes to be an ‘app store of payments’.

During the session Ramana underlined the importance of having partnerships to co-build, and co-develop fintechs together, instead of taking your competitors out of the market. On the other hand, he advised that if you are an entrepreneur who is looking to establish a startup in one particular country,  you need to ensure that the regulators are comfortable with what you are doing in the market as a Fintech company. He also said that making payments in the Metaverse is possible, and the right way to do it is by building ‘experiential commerce’ through the Metaverse. So that people can be connected to traditional payment rails within the Metaverse, jumping from payments 2.0 to 3.0.


What happened in Fintech last month in the MEASA region

In case you missed it, here are some of the must-read news pieces in the FinTech MEASA World. Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have witnessed various funding rounds and regulatory acts which highlight the promising growth plans for the region and Fintech hubs. 

Mashreq Bank Launches Neopay

Mashreq Bank, the oldest privately owned bank in the United Arab Emirates has completed the transition of its existing payments business into a new, wholly owned subsidiary, IDFAA Payment Services LLC, with a brand name NEOPAY. NEOPAY aims to leverage the latest technology and innovation, including card processing and merchant acquiring systems, processing switches and PoS inventory to offer a seamless payments experience to merchants and consumers.

Saudi Central Bank Permits 3 New Open Banking Solution Provider Through Its Regulatory Sandbox

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) announced granting “Bwatech”, “Rabet”, and “Mala’a”, the permit to operate under its Regulatory Sandbox, bringing the total number of its permitted FinTech companies to 35. This newly permitted batch of companies falls under the operational framework of the Regulatory Sandbox in line with SAMA’s endeavor to accelerate the digital transformation of the financial sector, all done in accordance with requirements and objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program of “Saudi Vision 2030”.

The 3 Largest National Egyptian Banks Launch $85 million Fintech MEA Fund

Egypt’s largest national banks – Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt, and Banque du Caire – and Global Ventures, a leading MEA-focused venture capital firm – announce the launch of Nclude by Global Ventures, following approval by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). The initial amount equivalent to $85 million investment in the Fund is led by Banque Misr as an Anchor Investor and National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire as Strategic Investors.


Egypt Largest Fintech Round? Lucky Announces $25 Million Fund Raise

Lucky, Egypt’s leading app for credit products, offers and cashback rewards, announces its completion of a $25 million fund raise. The funding round, which claims to be Egypt’s largest Fintech Series A round so far, was led by Nclude by Global Ventures – the new Fintech fund recently announced by its lead investors Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire – Egypt’s largest national banks – and Global Ventures, a leading MEA focused venture capital firm.


Binance Secures Its First Crypto Licence in the Gulf Region in Bahrain

Binance, a global blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, announced that it has been granted a crypto-asset service provider licence from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). The license will allow Binance to provide crypto-asset trading, custodial services and portfolio management to customers under the supervision of the Bahrain regulators.


Mashreq Invests in F&B Payment Fintech Touché

Mashreq has announced an investment in the FinTech Touché, which is revolutionizing the F&B and hospitality industries with its streamlined payment system. The partnership re-enforces Mashreq’s commitment to support the burgeoning FinTech ecosystem across the UAE, working with innovators and entrepreneurs to improve the overall customer experience from every touchpoint.


Al Fardan Exchange Partners With Thunes to Enable Instant Payments in the UAE

Al Fardan Exchange, one of the largest money transfer and currency exchange firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced today a partnership with Thunes, a cross-border payments, enabling Al Fardan Exchange customers to make seamless payments to 87 countries. Through this partnership, Al Fardan Exchange’s business and retail customers can make instant payments directly not just to bank accounts, but also mobile wallets and cash pickup points in their home countries, enabling recipients to receive money in their local currency.


Khazna Raises $38M As Egypt Funding Surges

Egyptian startup—finance app Khazna—disclosed new funding. The company offers a mobile phone-enabled savings and payment app, with features including instalment payment offers, bill-paying and cards on which workers can receive wages. The Cairo-based company picked up $38 million in Series A debt and equity financing in a round led by Quona Capital.



Alaan, a Multi-Currency Spend-Management Platform Gets $2.5mln in Seed Funding

Alaan, a UAE based corporate spend-management fintech, announced it is coming out of stealth mode with an imminent launch after raising $2.5M in seed funding. The startup is the Middle East’s first multi-currency spend management platform enabling SMEs to spend through corporate cards and automated invoice payments.

You can find all of the sessions of Fintech Founders Series here.

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