It has been a year of wins so far for MENA-based fintechs, with a handful of top funded fintechs in the Middle East securing deals as well.
Middle Eastern fintech startups having already raised record levels of VC funding in H1 this year. The funding, the highest ever raised by MENA fintechs in six months, was raised mostly by fintechs in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The region also saw a handful of substantial ticket sizes in the earlier seed stage rounds.
With governing bodies across the region looking to propel the industry forward, and more homegrown companies beginning to dot the fintech landscape in the Middle, here are the top fintechs from the Arabian Peninsula that have raised anywhere between US$10 million to US$100 million.
*Total funding data according to Crunchbase where information is publicly unavailable
Top Funded Fintechs in the Middle East 2021
1. tabby (UAE) – US$132 million
With the region’s cash and credit industry coming under the innovation sector’s focus, companies such as Dubai’s BNPL fintech tabby have been garnering investor attention. In its latest round, the company secured US$50 million from Global Founders Capital and STV, overtaking Saudi Arabia’s Tamara as the foremost of the top funded fintechs in the Middle East. tabby is valued at a sizeable US$300 million.
2. Tamara (Saudi Arabia) – US$116 million
Tamara’s US$110 million funding round made headlines earlier this year for being the largest such round to be raised by a MENA fintech. The company also welcomed Checkout.com as an investor through the round. In January, it had raised what was then the largest seed funding round in Saudi Arabia.
3. Sarwa ( UAE) – US$25 million
With retail home traders increasingly taking to financial markets and an array of asset classes opening up to them, government-backed investors such as Mubadala and DIFC are taking interest in backing homegrown companies in this space, such Sarwa. Sarwa’s recent US$15 million funding round this year took its total capital to over a quarter million investor dollars.
4. yallacompare (UAE) – US$21.4 million
This fintech company acts both as an aggregator for loans, cards and insurance, and as an insurance distributor. It has sold 120,000,000 policies so far, the company claims. yallacompare raised over US$17 million before being acquired last year by Kuwait’s Gulf Insurance Group for US$4.3 million. Its last fundraise prior to the acquisition secured US$8 million for the company.
5. PayTabs ( Saudi Arabia) – US$20 million
While not much is known about earlier funding rounds by this B2B payments solution provider, PayTabs has raised US$20 million in a Series B led by Saudi Aramco. The fundraise was aimed at a substantial expansion plan involving MENA countries, South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount from Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures.
6. Paymob (Egypt) – US$18.5 million
One of the several payments infrastructure companies looking to transform Egypt’s cash-based payments trend, Paymob had raised US$18.5 million last year in a Series A. This was one of the largest ticket sizes to be seen in the MENA region, until Tamara came along this year. Not much is clear about the startup’s earlier funding rounds, except that it had struck a deal with A15 for an undisclosed amount that saw the company give away anywhere between 8-25% ownership.
7. Beehive (UAE) – US$15.5 million
Industry: P2P Lending
Stylised as the UAE’s first P2P lending platform based in Dubai, Beehive’s most recent fundraise took place in 2019. The US$4 million Series B topped up its capital haul to over US$15 million since its launch in 2015. In more recent news, it partnered with Emirates Development Bank in June this year to disburse US$8.1 million in SME financing.
8. CashU (UAE) – US$15 million
Industry: Digital wallet
One of the MENA region’s earliest fintechs, details of its funding rounds are hazy at best. The company underwent a management buyout in 2015, with CashU’s General Manager Thaer Suleiman, and Genero Capital jointly acquired the entire business from Souq Group. Suleiman stepped down as CEO this year, with Head of Marketing Ala Dawod taking over as Interim CEO.
9. Telr (UAE) – US$13.9 million
While payments gateway Telr’s last funding round — a US$5.5 million Series A – took place way back in 2017, the company has announced some lucrative partnerships this year. In addition to partnering with tabby over a BNPL scheme for Telr’s merchants, the company also secured a partnership with PayPal for its merchants to accept PayPal payments from online shoppers.
10. HyperPay ( Saudi Arabia) – US$13.7 million
While Crunchbase reports payment processing platform HyperPay’s total funding to be US$13.7 million, the actual figure may vary. The company, originally started in Jordan, raised anywhere between US$10-15 million in an undisclosed round in late 2019.
11. liwwa (Jordan)- US$13.1 million
Industry: P2P Lending
liwwa has raised at least one funding round every year since 2015, according to Crunchbase. Ticket sizes raised by the Jordanian startup have also grown progressively larger, starting from US$500,000 in a 2015 seed round, to US$6 million in 2019. Reports suggest that the startup is currently looking to raise US$3 million in a pre-Series B round.
12. Tarabut Gateway ( Bahrain) – US$13 million
Industry: Open Banking
In February this year, Tarabut’s US$13 million seed round became the largest of its kind to have been raised in the MENA region. A substantially largee amount than the single-digit million dollar values usually raised in seed rounds in the region, the news came just months after the company’s expansion to the UAE.
13. NymCard (UAE) – US$12 million
Industry: Card issuing and processing
This BaaS fintech’s US$7.6 million Series A made it one of the most talked about UAE-based fintech startups. The company had previously raised US$4.4 million in two different unannounced rounds. The startup is looking to disrupt the legacy card system through its cloud-based issuing and processing solution.
14. NOW Money ( UAE) – US$10.9 million
Industry: Digital Banking
NOW Money is a digital payroll and accounts solution that provides accounts and debit cards for unbanked employees. In March this year, it raised US$7 million to expand its footprint in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.