Fintech Digest: Saudi Arabia’s Fintech Space Grows With 16 New Licenses

Fintech Digest: Saudi Arabia’s Fintech Space Grows With 16 New Licenses

Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector has broadened, with licenses issued to 16 new fintech companies during the third quarter of this year (Zawya).

According to the Saudi Central Bank governor, 13 of these companies come from the payments and electronic wallets sector, while the remaining three firms were engaged in insurance and finance.

The news comes on the heels of a Fintech Saudi report published in October this year, which suggested that Saudi Arabia’s fintech companies grew by 37% in number this year, attracting record investments to the tune of SAR 1.3 billion (US$347 million).

Further, payments companies secured 93% of the country’s venture capital investments this year at the time of publishing.

Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector has been on a funding growth spree. Between January and August, they raised US$157.2 million, nearly nine times the annual total of US$18 million raised in 2019. Further, a quarter of funding deals in the first half of the year in Saudi Arabia went to fintech companies.

According to Saudi Capital Market Authority chairman Mohammed Elkuwaiz, fintech companies in the country are able to add value by developing technical ideas that challenge norms, building products that did not exist before in the country, the Zawya report quoted.

MEA Fintech News Highlights



Indian payments and API banking solutions company Cashfree has picked up a majority stake in UAE and Saudi Arabia-based payment service provider (PSP) Telr for US$15 million (Fintech News Middle East).

UAE’s youth focused money management app EdFundo plans to raise US$1.5 million seed funding (Arabian Business).

Hospitality-focused fintech company iOL Pay launches in the UAE (Gulf News).

UAE-based Foloosi launches a digital ledger app in the country to track inward and outward fund flows (press announcement).



Pakistan-based ecommerce fintech company PostEx closes a US$8.6 million seed funding round (Fintech News Middle East).

Saudi Arabia

Saudi SME-focused fintech startup Lamaa raised SAR19 million (about US$5 million) in a pre-Series A round (Fintech News Middle East).

Saudi payment gateway HyperPay acquires a permit from Saudi Payments for new merchant “mada” services (Arab News).

The inaugural edition of World FinTech Summit – KSA kicks off (press announcement).

Saudi’s stc pay partners with digital financial services company Moven for a money tracking solution (Mubasher).



Bahrain’s Batelco launches new BEYON Money Super App (IBS Intelligence).


Coinbase acquires Israeli cryptographic security technology company Unbound Security (Fintech News Middle East).


The Bank of Tanzania announces plans to introduce a central bank digital currency (Fintech News Africa).



Nigeria-based business expense management startup Flex Finance picks up a six-figure USD pre-seed funding round (Disrupt Africa).

Nigerian insurtech company Octamile comes out of stealth with US$500,000 pre-seed funding (Disrupt Africa).

Nigeria’s TeamApt announces unicorn ambitions as it looks to raise a Series C at a valuation of over US$1 billion (The Africa Report).

Nigeria-based VC firm Investment One Vencap invests an undisclosed amount in South African-based biometric digital identity solution provider Paycode (Techpoint Africa).

The Central Bank of Nigeria asks PSPs, financial institutions, and fintech firms to develop products based on its digital currency eNaira (Bitcoin News).

South Africa

south africa

A consortium of investors acquires South African fintech investment firm Crossfin for ZAR1.5 billion, or US$93 million, (Disrupt Africa).

South African fintech group Adumo acquires alternative payment solutions provider SwitchPay in an undisclosed deal (Disrupt Africa).

South Korea’s Shinhan Bank to conduct a stablecoin international remittance PoC in partnership with South Africa’s Standard Bank (Fintech Futures).



Egypt-based fees management and digital collection platform KlickIt closes its first investment round from EFG Finance, DFin Holding, and Camel Ventures (Daily News Egypt).

The fintech arm of Egypt’s Commercial International Bank, CVentures, plans three to four new investments this year, and eight and 10 more in 2022 (The Africa Report).

Egyptian spend optimisation app Raseedi secures US$850,000 in a pre-Series A funding round (Disrupt Africa).

Recommended Reading

“Banking solutions that go beyond traditional services are going to be an “important battlefield” for banking in the UAE. A new report by Arthur D. Little and M2P analysed responses from about 2,000 UAE retail bank customers to determine how consumer forces are changing banking in the UAE. The report suggested that UAE banks are now going “beyond banking,” tapping into growth territories beyond financial services…”

Read more about “beyond banking” in the UAE

“Although the fintech ecosystem in Tanzania has developed rapidly over the past decade, it remains nevertheless small and nascent with just 33 pure fintech players identified. Out of these companies, only 36% have managed to secure seed funding or growth financing, while 35% are still relying on bootstrapping funds from family and friends to support early stage operations…”

What are the challenges faced by fintech companies in Tanzania? Find out here.

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This article was originally published on Fintech News Africa.

Featured image: Unsplash (edited)


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