Zywa, a teen-focused fintech startup aiming to re-imagine banking for Gen Z in the Middle East and North Africa, has announced a seed funding round of $3 million.
Investors who participated in the round include Goodwater Capital (the largest consumer tech VC globally), Dubai Future District Fund (venture capital fund of funds of Dubai, anchored by Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Future Foundation), Rebel Fund, Trampoline Venture Partners, Zemu VC, and some of the most prominent European family offices, as well as strategic angel investors.
The funding shortly followed the company’s pre-seed round of US$1M raised in Feb 2022. The seed round also brings the YC-backed startup to a valuation that exceeds 110M AED, despite the current economic downturn.
Founded in 2021 by entrepreneurs Alok Kumar and Nuha Hashem, who were born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Zywa is bringing a unique solution to the region by offering a gamified community-based banking app and payment card to Gen Z between the age of 11-25 years old. In just 4 months of the pre-seed round, Zywa received 100,000+ signups. Gamification, community events, rewards and referrals contributed to the company’s rapid growth, in addition to integrating with more than 1,000+ brands tailored exclusively for Gen Z.
Alok Kumar, co-founder and CEO said,
“Gen Zs in the UAE spend about AED5 billion+ every year and still rely on cash or their parents’ cards despite having options like supplementary cards issued by their parents’ banks. While these options give access to digital payments, they are not fundamentally designed for Gen Z, and this is where we add value.
We are Gen Z building for Gen Z and aim to grow our product as they grow, to be the only financial services platform they will ever need. We are extremely proud to have global VCs such as Goodwater Capital, who is one of the early backers of Monzo, joining the round and investing for the first time in the region. The seed fund will help us focus on product, growth and strategic partnerships to accelerate our efforts in the UAE and Egypt markets while prepping us to launch in Saudi Arabia by early 2023.”
Backed by Y Combinator, as well as prestigious governmental accelerators in UAE such as DIFC’s Fintech Hive and Mubadala’s Hub71, Zywa is creating a community of teens in the UAE who can connect and network with each other, while building their financial literacy. Zywa has launched a number of community programs such as internships, influencer partnerships, community events and more with key public and private sector entities in the UAE.