Complex Made Simple

Egypt is now a hotbed of investment activities in fintech, banking, transport, and financial brokerage

Egypt has worked hard to turn itself into an investment hub, attracting $126 billion in FDI, in 2019. Now, startups are getting noticed in a big way, with millions pouring into various ventures

Cairo-based NowPay's funding stands at $2.7 million when adding $600,000 won in a seed round last year ILLA, an FMCG delivery logistics marketplace, has successfully raised $500,000 in seed funds Thndr, an Egypt-based startup received the first new brokerage license in the country in over a decade

Rapid GDP growth, strategic geographical location, and a large domestic market where skills are abundant and eager.

Sounds like the UAE? Saudi? Sure, very possible but think again.

Try Egypt. 

The country has worked hard to turn itself into an investment hub, attracting $126 billion in 2019, according to UNCTAD, the largest FDI flows in Africa, as reported by Global Capital.

Sure 2/3rd of this is absorbed by oil and gas industries, but as you will see below, startups in other sectors are attracting attention.

NowPay 

Launched in 2019, Egyptian FinTech startup NowPay has announced it raised $2.1 million in a seed round co-led by Endurance Capital and Foundation Ventures. Others joined the round with sizeable investments along with a few other investors from the US, the UAE, Egypt, and China.

The Cairo-based startup funding now stands at $2.7 million when adding $600,000 won in a seed round last year.

Financial stress plays a major role as a top distraction for employees. The startup has a unique platform that enables corporates to offer partial or full salary advances to their employees, at any time of the month, using the NowPay mobile app. 

The company has managed salaries in excess of $100 million with a 60% month-over-month growth rate.” 

The new fund will be deployed to deepen the capabilities of the platform, expand its team, and establish its footprint in the MENA region and beyond.
Mostafa Ashour, cofounder, and CEO of NowPay, previously led the innovation teams at Microsoft Research, while co-founders Ahmed Sabry worked for Amazon Lending, Gehan Fathi worked as managing director of EFG, and Mahmoud ElHosseiny managed Egypt sales for Fortune 500 Stanley-Black & Decker.

Read: Who is funding startups in the UAE and region?

ILLA 

Launched in 2019, ILLA, an FMCG delivery logistics marketplace, has successfully raised $500,000 in seed funds from Averroes Ventures, AUC angels, and a consortium of local and regional investors with follow-on funding from Flat6Labs Cairo. 

The startup caters to Corporates and SMEs with logistics solutions tackling unique trucking pain points to the FMCG industry.

ILLA operates with 24 governorates across Egypt, delivering 7 million cases so far and spanning more than 3 million kilometers.  

Mahmoud El-Zomor, co-founder and CEO held several positions in multinational FMCG corporates like Coca-Cola and Clorox.

BLOM Egypt

Dubai’s Emirates NBD recently said it is carrying out due diligence on a possible acquisition of the Egyptian operations of Lebanon’s BLOM Bank, though it said there was ‘no certainty’ that any transaction will be completed.  

In August, Emirates NBD said it had started preliminary talks to buy the Egyptian unit of Lebanese lender Blom Bank after the Beirut port explosion forced the company to review its strategy.

BLOM’s Egypt unit has 42 branches and is active in retail and corporate banking, according to its website.

Last month, Arabian Business reported that listed Lebanese banks, including BLOM Bank, registered their worst financial losses in history, with a combined net after-tax loss of $770.4 mn in 2019, compared to a net profit of $1.44 bn the previous year.

BLOM Bank was the only listed bank to record net profit in 2019 $115.4 mn.

Emirates NBD already has a sizable presence in Egypt, after buying the local business of France’s BNP Paribas in 2012 in a $500 mn deal.

Exclusive: UAE, MENA startups can access 3000+ investors and millions in funds for under $40

Raseedy

Egypt-based fintech startup Raseedy, has partnered with The Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB) and Mastercard to launch the country’s first independent licensed digital wallet. The new fintech innovation allows users to transfer money, make payments via QR code, pay regular bills, issue online virtual debit cards, and receive remittance internationally.

Jacques Marco, co-founder, and CEO at Raseedy explains that the fintech expects the digital wallet to be used by one million people in the months to come, giving users the opportunity to better manage their finances.

Founded in 2018, Raseedy has built and developed the technology for Egypt’s first digital wallet which is licensed by the Central Bank of Egypt and certified by Meeza which is the national payment’s scheme operator.

Thndr

Thndr, an Egypt-based startup has announced that it has received the first new brokerage license in the country in over a decade. 

Thndr recently acquired the necessary licensing from the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA). 

Ahmad Hammouda, Co-Founder and CEO at Thndr said Egypt is expected to be the 7th largest economy by 2030 and has more than 100 million people, most of which are young and are looking for a convenient and digital way to invest their money. 

“That’s why we are excited to bring a new breed of young investors to the market” he added.

Founded in 2019, Thndr is a mobile-first investment platform with 0% commission, no account minimum, access to real-time news, market data, and easy account setup and funding processes available in Egypt. 

The first product developed was a mobile-first equities trading platform.   

As a Y-Combinator backed investment platform, Thndr functions to make the process of investing in stocks, bonds, and funds easier as it is commission-free.   

“Thndr aims to solve the painful, outdated, and time-consuming process to open, fund, and actively manage investment accounts,” the company said. 

Thndr has received an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from several distinct investors such as; Y-Combinator, 4DX Ventures, Endure Capital, The Raba Partnership, MSA Capital, along with some other notable investors that include Tom Stafford, Managing Partner, DST.

Thndr is currently available for download on both the App Store and Google Play.