These 5 Fintech Apps in Egypt Are Heating up the Competition
The Fintech sector is booming in Egypt. Today, Cairo is one of the hottest hubs where to invest. Let’s see how 5 innovative startups are changing the Egyptian tech landscape
Financial inclusion is on the developmental agenda in Egypt, that’s why the fintech startups here are becoming one of the key driving forces to achieve this kind of adoption. With its already vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem, Egypt-based regulators have been making moves to encourage the development of its fintech sector.
Last year, the Egyptian Central Bank discussed the regulation of fintech companies in the country, highlighting sectors such as cashless payments, digital banks, and cryptocurrency. Another draft bill approved in March this year would also allow its Financial Regulatory Authority to issue licences for non-banking financial companies and fintech startups.
The move is expected to encourage fintech investments in the country. "We believe that within the next few months or a couple of years we will see a big bang in fintech”, said Mohamed Essam, a fintech specialis, during the latest Africa Fintech Summit.
According to Findexable’s Global Fintech Rankings Report, Egypt is one of the top Middle East and African (MENA) fintech hubs. Digital payments are expected to be the most benefited vertical within the fintech segment, and is forecast to reach US$19.4 billion by 2025. Egypt, with a population of 102 million has around 19 million debit cards. They are often used only for withdrawing cash, but with 25-30 million people owning smartphones, the country is primed for electronic banking to take off. What’s next? Here are 5 Egyptian fintechs to watch out for in the early future.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Cairo, MNT-Halan is Egypt's largest and fastest growing lender to the unbanked. With 1 million monthly active users, MNT-Halan serves more than 4 million customers in Egypt, of which 3.1 million are financial clients and 1.8 million are borrowers. The company’s main goal is to digitally bank the unbanked and substitute cash with electronic solutions. And it’s going well.
This year MNT-Halan is Egypt's first private non-bank company to be licensed by the central bank to operate a digital wallet, a mobile telephone application that allows consumers, vendors, lenders and borrowers to transfer money, pay bills, buy goods on instalment, secure loans and make other transactions.
Founded in late 2016 by Ahmed Wadi, MoneyFellows has digitized the concept of money circles (ROSCAs) which are commonly known as “gameeya” in Egypt and other Arab countries, through its online platform. Similar to a savings cooperative, users pay into this app-version of a traditional money circle, and proceeds are distributed to members for big purchases. This practice is very popular for saving money in different parts of the world and allows a group of people (who are normally friends or colleagues) to contribute a fixed instalment every month to a pool, with one of the members taking the whole pool as payout every month.
The circle ends when everyone receives their payout and is usually repeated if the participants are interested. The company with its mobile-based platform has digitized this entire process. MoneyFellows has now 1.5 million users and has raised capital of $11 million. Moreover, earlier this year, it signed an MoU with Banque Misr, to provide MoneyFellows users with disbursement and collection products.
Paymob, an SME digital payments provider founded in 2015, offers financial solutions to empower businesses and other financial service providers in both the Middle East and Africa. According to data, the company’s infrastructure processes over 85% market share of mobile wallet transactions in Egypt. Aside from being the largest payment facilitator in Egypt, it also has a presence in five other markets, including Kenya, Pakistan, and Palestine. The company also aims to step foot in regional markets this year, including Saudi Arabia.
Over the years, Paymob has achieved tremendous things, and currently, it has over 12 million users, 150000 agents, over ten bank deployments, and carries over 120 million transactions, with annual total payment volume crossing US$5 billion. Paymob’s merchant clients include Swvl, ElGouna, LG, Samsonite, Aeropostale, and the American University of Cairo. They offer many services like online payments, POS solutions, payment links, subscriptions, instalments, marketplace, payouts, paymob sync, and digital wallet, as reported by media.
Launched in 2019 by Sumair Farooqui and Karim Nour, Kashat is a mobile platform providing micro loan solutions for businesses, unbanked and under-banked demographics in Egypt. Micro lending is one of the many ways Egyptian companies are leveraging to bridge the financing gap in Egypt amidst a complex financial inclusion environment, that’s why Kashat main mission is to positively impact financial inclusion in Egypt, and the Arabic-speaking world at large, by providing accessible, seamless and productive financial services.
While above-mentioned startups - PayMob and MoneyFellows - work on the larger Egyptian market, Kashat’s operations serve a unique demographic. By providing micro-loans and nano-financial services to Egypt’s unbanked sector, Kashat is tapping into a market that constitutes more than 70 per cent of the population. The company raised US$1.75 million in a bridge funding round this year, after it closed an undisclosed amount of funding from Cairo Angels post its launch in February.
Launched in April of this year by Swvl’s co-founder and former CTO Ahmed Sabbah and Youssef Sholqamy - who was previously a senior engineer with Uber’s infrastructure team - Telda aims to revolutionize banking for many Egyptians, providing an online-only experience. The company has immediately gained attention after it became Sequoia Capital’s first MENA startup foray. The VC firm led a US$5 million pre-seed round, with participation from Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global. Sabbah and Yousef teamed up to work on Telda with the aim to change how Gen Z spends and manages their money in the MENA area, starting with Egypt. “Telda is a financial brand built for Millennials and GenZ”, stated Sabbah.
In short, Telda hopes to make waves in Egypt, especially among the more technologically literate young. According to data, within a month of its launch, 30,000 people had already signed up, with 17,000 on the waiting list for a card; that number has now more than doubled to 40,000. In the same month, Telda officially partnered with Mastercard – helping Mastercard to make further inroads into the Egyptian and wider Middle Eastern market.