Mission-based Fintech, DAOs, NFTs, Neobanks | Fintech & Web3 Founders Monthly

Fintech and Web3 Founders Monthly News | Mission-based Fintech, DAOs, NFTs, Neobanks, Latest Fintech fundings

It’s only the beginning of summer, and the Fintech and Web3 Founders Series is already bringing in some of the trendiest topics in the Fintech world from NFTs, DAOs to digital banking. 

Our first June episode discussed the emergence of FIntech in the MEA region and the meaning of conscious capitalism that is driving growth in climate or mission-based Fintechs. We also learned about the role of Infratech companies such as M2P in strengthening the global Fintech ecosystem and how they are helping start-ups to succeed. Moreover, our guests from Art Daos delivered an educational session about the world of NFTs and DAOs, what they are and their use cases in the real world.  We extended our conversation on digital art with the Middle East’s first NFT artist, who explained how NFT ecosystems are bridging the gap between creators and art lovers around the world and their burgeoning community. Last but not least, the CEO of YAP, UAE’s first independent neobank, had an insightful chat with us about building and growing a successful superapp.    

Want to immerse yourself in the world of Fintech entrepreneurship through stories of inspirational founders and hear insights into the market’s current climate? Keep on scrolling!

What’s next for Fintech? Purpose.

Fintech is all about ease, access, convenience, transparency, affordability and being able to delight the consumer, however there is a 7th one – being a purpose-driven brand

Nameer Khan, Chairman & Founding Board Member of MENA Fintech Association

Our conversation with Nameer Khan highlighted the importance of conscious capitalism whereby 91% of consumers today are willing to switch brands based on whether or not they are purpose driven. In fact, conscious capitalism is not simply an option but rather a reality for Fintech companies. 

Nameer believes Fintech could make the world more equitable through financial services, being a powerful force and touchpoint in every transaction, leveraging technology to provide more opportunities for the underserved and future generations. Conscious capitalism is enforced not simply whether the company wants to make a humanitarian impact, but because the consumers demand it. 

This podcast will deliver insights on (and much more!): 

  • How the MENA region could become one of the world’s most attractive fintech hubs
  • Why Fintechs must adapt to regulations and market dynamics of the country of operations
  • What is driving mission-based Fintechs

Infrastructure: The Backbone of Fintech

Founders lose a lot of time thinking how to keep a small bank excited about what are they are doing, and at the same time keep the Fintech ecosystem going

Madhusudanan R, Co-Founder of M2P Fintech

In the backdrop of the digital economy, the majority of businesses are looking to embed digital payment processes into their operations to improve their customer journey. This means many Fintech companies must rely on partnerships with the banks to deliver financial services on their own platforms. 

Madhusudanan mentioned the gap between fintech start-ups losing a lot of time and money to the complex process of embedding payment services and the banks that also lack the tech capability to integrate with fintech platforms. M2P was then formed as an intermediary API infrastructure provider with a mission to bridge the fintech ecosystem and financial institutions together. 

Listen to the full session to learn more about how an infratech company works, covering topics including and not limited to: 

  • Value proposition of M2P for both banks and companies 
  • How M2P help Fintech start-ups scale and integrate financial solutions 
  • Building infrastructure for different customer cohorts 
  • Slowdown of the Fintech market 

Blockchain is the New Finance

“You cannot swim in the ocean without getting threatened – if you want to swim you need to jump in. But jumping in does not mean you have to jump off a cliff. So you take baby steps. The way you take baby steps in NFT space is to buy a small project yourself. Buy your first NFT. Doesn’t matter which project, something you believe in, something that is at a reasonable price

Danosch Zahedi, Co-Founder of Arts DAO

The rocketing growth in the number of projects within the NFT space has been driving more conversation and attention around this new form of digital asset and the blockchain in which it is recorded. Danosch Zahedi, the co-founder of Arts DAO, the largest NFT community in the Middle East, welcomes people to make NFT investments but with caution. He advises to enter the market with baby steps and really understand and believe in what you are investing in. 

Check out the full episode to take a deeper look into the world of NFTs, blockchain and DAOs. You will learn:

  • What are NFT and DAOs and what are their use cases
  • How to enter the NFT space 
  • Opportunities within the blockchain

NFTs & Art: a New Hope for Creators

What I didn’t understand at the beginning, is when people talk about the community, it is important – obviously a community I’ve never had. I’ve never belonged to a community, even as an artist. I had galleries that I worked with, I had a group of artists that I know online. But there’s no sense of community that I felt within the NFT space.

Kristel Bechara, Visual Artist at Atelier Kristel Bechara

There are many ways to sell arts in the NFTs market, from purely digital art to certification of authentication of physical paintings. Moreover, the market isn’t just limited to visual arts as it welcomes all kinds of creators from musicians, animators, video gamers to photographers. As Kristel Bechara shared her story of becoming a NFT creator, the broadness of the market along with everyone even besides artists looking to sell for utility have been the reasons there is a lack of community within the NFT space. Through this session, Kristel discusses the importance of identity and building a community in your own niche as an artist to maintain passion and purpose on the platform. Check out the full episode to hear more insights on how to navigate in the NFT space as a new creator, the benefits of owning art as NFTs and the joys of participating in this world. 

Building a Neobank: Success Story of YAP

It’s not just about having an app and onboarding users. Today it’s about having active users using the product.

Marwan Hachem, CEO & Founder of YAP

The development of superapps in the financial services industry in the MEA region is accelerating as appetite for everything digital continues to grow. 

YAP, a Dubai-based neobank, is aiming to become the most innovative digital financial platform in the region by being a one-stop for everything consumers need to control their personal finances. The neobank partners with other banks and fintech companies to deliver intelligent banking services from virtual cards, p2p payments, budgeting analytics to even financial learning programmes for children as young as 10 years old. 

During the session, CEO and Founder of YAP, Marwan Hachem, offered meaningful insights on how to navigate a successful start-up. He placed emphasis on staying true to one’s own brand while also knowing how to adapt to different markets during the expansion phase. Maintaining a sustainable company also requires much effort in budgeting, breaking even and planning KPIs that focus on increasing active users. 

Excess fundraising and spending by Fintechs in the last few years have led to the collapse of many valuations in today’s market, further highlighting the importance of prudent financial planning for many Fintech companies.

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, Nigeria and Israel have witnessed various funding rounds and regulatory acts which highlight the promising growth plans for the region and Fintech hubs. 

Egyptian fintech Paymob raises $50M led by PayPal Ventures and Kora Capital

Egyptian fintech Paymob, which enables merchants to accept digital payments online and in-store, announced today it has raised $50 million in Series B funding. PayPal Ventures, the global corporate venture arm of PayPal, New-York-based venture capital Kora Capital, and London-based Clay Point led the round.The round, which is one of the largest at this stage in Egypt and MENA, brings Paymob’s total funding to over $68.5 million.

MDI aims to become Egypt’s first fully digital bank

A new banking challenger, Misr Digital Innovation (MDI), is gearing up for launch in Egypt as the country’s first fully digital bank, with the aim of giving Egyptians instant access to their finances and improved customer experience. Created in 2020 by Banque Misr, one of Egypt’s leading banks, the new digital bank aims to provide banking solutions, access to the digital economy and drive financial inclusion within the Egyptian community.

LeapFrog and Tana Africa invest in Nigerian paytech Interswitch

LeapFrog Investments and Tana Africa Capital have made a strategic investment in African paytech Interswitch. The undisclosed amount of funding will support Interswitch in its mission to digitise payments across the African continent.A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the deal.

Dubai-Based FinTech Pemo Snags $12M in Seed Funding

Dubai-based FinTech Pemo has raised $12 million in a seed funding round that it will use for continued product development and expansion across the Middle East and North Africa. Cherry Ventures and Shorooq Partners co-led Pemo’s seed round, with participation from FinTech Collective, Speedinvest, BY Venture Partners, Antler and several angel investors. Pemo has also announced the debut of its all-in-one spend management platform for small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

BaaS start-up Unit raises $100m Series C, reaches $1.2bn valuation

Israeli Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) start-up Unit has raised a $100 million Series C round, valuing the company at $1.2 billion. The round, led by Jeff Horing of Insight Partners, saw participation from existing investors Accel, Better Tomorrow Ventures, and Flourish as well as new investors Stepstone, Moving Capital and a host of fintech angels.The company intends to use the capital raised to develop and rollout new products “and make it even easier for companies to launch and succeed with banking products”.

Nigerian fintech start-up Bridgecard has raised $440,000 in a pre-seed round with multiple investors

Bridgecard merges all cards, bank accounts and fintech wallets into one card and an app, enabling online transactions, bill payments and withdrawal from any linked account in one app. Bridgecard says it will use the money to increase the number of bank accounts that can be linked on Bridgecard, expand to support crypto wallets in supported countries, get the product in the hands of more people and solve online and card payment issues better.

YAP expands into Pakistan with EMI licence approval

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based start-up YAP has been granted an in-principle approval from the State Bank of Pakistan for an electronic money institute (EMI) licence. Following the launch of its digital banking platform in the UAE last year, YAP has set its sights on Pakistan’s fast-growing fintech landscape with the aim of serving the country’s underbanked population. YAP Pakistan CEO Meharyab Niazi says the firm is “dedicated” to expanding into the underserved Pakistani fintech arena to increase financial inclusion.

FOO Launches in Saudi Arabia

B2B FinTech provider FOO said it is expanding its operations into Saudi Arabia in an effort to help that country with its digital transformation. FOO works with banks and retailers in the Middle East and North Africa to create digital products to boost business models and customer experience, such as remittances, digital wallets, tokenized transactions and buy now, pay later. FOO’s efforts will target digital banking, blockchain-based central bank digital currencies, virtual cards, and tokenization.

ADCB Egypt partners Temenos to deliver digital payments

ADCB Egypt, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), will deploy Temenos’ payments solution as it looks to tap into growing customer demand for cross-border payments. ADCB, the third largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, is expanding its partnership with the Swiss core banking vendor to adopt new global payment standards such as ISO20022 and Swift GPI. ADCB Egypt managing director and CEO Ihab El Sewerky says the “technological upgrades” provided by Temenos will allow the bank to expand its offering and comply with regulatory directives.

Kenyan fintech startup FlexPay secures funding from Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund

Kenyan fintech startup FlexPay has raised funding from the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund as it looks to supercharge its growth and help more people avoid debt. FlexPay is an online and offline payment gateway that allows merchants to offer interest-free targeted savings to their customers in Africa. The startup has now raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund (CASF), a micro venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups in the Middle East and Africa. 

You can find all of the sessions of Fintech and Web3 Founders Series here.

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