Cash is the principal method of sending and receiving payments in the Middle East. If you pay someone for a cup of coffee or a trip for a longer period, your best bet is to pay via cash. This is one of the many financial issues that are not Been addressed In area.
The good news is that startups are coming forward to provide solutions. Last month, Telda, a now two-month-old startup in Egypt, raised an impressive amount as a pre-seed to offer digital banking services.. Today, Zeena, another Dubai-based startup, has closed $7.5 million in seed funding to expand its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service in the Middle East and North Africa..
Zina has managed to list top global investors and fintech founders in the round. Avenir Growth and Class 5 Global led this latest tranche of funding. Vamda Capital, FJ Labs, Graph Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Jabbar Internet Group, Jasoor Ventures of Oman Technology Fund and ANIM also participated..
Founders who participated include Checkout CEO Guillaume Pousaz through his investment fund Zinal Growth; Krishnan Menon, CEO of Bukucasa, as well as executives at PayPal and Venmo. It joins the roster of executives and early employees from Revolut, Stripe, Brex, Notion, and Deel who joined Ziina’s roundup..
According to the company, it has raised more than $8.6 million since its launch last year. This includes $850,000 pre-seed raised in May 2020 and $125,000 secured after passing through Y Combinator’s winter batch earlier this year..
ziina was established by Faisal Toucan, Sarah Toucan and Andrew Gould. It is the latest addition to the buzzing fintech ecosystem of the Middle East and is taking advantage of the region’s rapid adoption of fintech friendly regulation.
The company allows users to send and receive payments In college A phone number – no IBAN or SWIFT code required as is the actual method in the UAE and parts of the Middle East. It also claims to be the country’s first licensed social peer-to-peer application “on a mission to simplify finance for all”.“
After meeting during a hackathon in the US, Faisal and Gould began exchanging ideas about creating wallets that wanted to reflect the success platforms such as WePay, Paytm. At the time, VCs seemed to be interested in how the wallet ecosystem intersected with banking.
“The lines between wallet and banking have become Really Dim Every wallet has a banking partner, and those who use the wallet use them for their day-to-day needs,” CEO Faisal Toucan told ClearTips.
On the other endSara, who is Faisal’s sister, was in London on her personal fintech journey. There, he participated in several meetups headlined by the founders of Monzo and Revolut. With their knowledge and the experience of the other two, the founders decided that solving P2P payments issues was their own way of making a massive impact in the Middle East..
So how far have they gone? “We have launched beta for the market but it is restricted due to regulatory reasons and basically To keep myself in check with the ecosystem,” commented Toucan. “Since then, we have become regulated. We have a banking partner, one of the three largest banks in the United Arab Emirates, and we have set up a new wallet a month from now. We also have our own wallet at YC. Been doing the same thing throughout the period. So it’s been a very eventful year.”
The fintech sector is growing rapidly in MENA; According to number, at a CAGR of 30%. In addition, in the United Arab Emirates, it guess that more than 450 fintech companies will raise about $2 billion in 2022, compared to $80 million raised in 2017. Fintech in the field are focused On resolving payments, transfers and remittances. As well as its P2P offering, these are the areas Zina wants to play in, including investment and cryptocurrency services..
According to Toucan, there is no ease in investing and remitting online are done In an exchange house, a manual process where people are required to physically go to the office. “So what we want to do is to bring all these products to life in the UAE and expand beyond that. But the first problem we are solving is that people send and receive money in two clicks ,” the CEO confirmed.
Starting with P2P has its advantages. First, peer-to-peer services are a repetitive behavioral mechanism that allows companies to establish trust with customers.. Plus, it is a cheap customer acquisition model. Toucan says that as Jinnah expands geographically – Saudi Arabia and Jordan in 2022; and Egypt and Tunisia a few years from now—he wants the company’s wallet to be basically border crossing. “We want a situation where if you move to Saudi or Dubai, you are able to use the same wallet using different banking applications,” he said..
Being on the right side of regulation is key to any fintech expansion. and despite the area it seems Toukan. According to the friendly fintech regulation ecosystem, this has been a major hurdle that Zina has had to overcome.. The second would be to find the right banking partner. “You need to make a case to the banks that it’s basically a Mutually beneficial partnership. and the way we’ve done it is basically Highlighting various cases globally like CashApp working with Southern Bank,” he added.
Now that the company has overcome those challenges and is ready to launch. This timeZina has up to 1,000 users who, according to Toucan, transacted over $120,000 in volume last month.. The company also has 20,000 people on its waiting list. to be on board after launch.
Ziina has already built a team with experience in tech companies like Apple, Uber, Stanford, Coinbase, Careem, Oracle, and Yandex.. It plans to double down on hiring with this new investment and customer acquisition and establishing commercial partnerships.