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Monday, 21 March 2022

Introducing Nclude: Global Ventures’ new USD 85 mn fintech fund

Global Ventures, state banks launch USD 85 mn fund: Three of Egypt’s state-owned banks are investing in a new USD 85 mn fintech fund launched by Dubai-based VC Global Ventures, according to a statement (pdf) out yesterday. The fund, dubbed “Nclude,” will invest in Egyptian startups specializing in fintech and working to accelerate financial inclusion.

Who’s in? Banque Misr is acting as an anchor investor in Nclude, while NBE and Banque du Caire are on board as strategic investors, Global Ventures said. NBE has contributed USD 30 mn to the fund while Banque du Caire stumped up USD 25 mn, NBE Vice Chairman Yahya Aboul Fotouh told Al Masdar. e-Finance’s parent company e-Finance Investment Group has made a USD 10 mn commitment to the fund, 30% of which will be deployed this year with the remainder to be invested quarterly over the next four years, it said in a statement (pdf). Egyptian Banks Company (EBC) also made undisclosed investments to the fund. Set up by the state and Egyptian banks back in the 1990s, EBC is the OG Egyptian payments firm — it runs the 123 ATM network and serves as the automated clearing house for electronic fund transfers between banks, among other duties. Nclude will also be supported by global ventures builder Shipyard Technology Ventures, the statement said without providing further details.

The targets: Nclude will target early- and growth-stage fintech startups based in Egypt, as well as regional firms looking to expand into Egypt. The fund will invest 90% of its capital into existing startups through seed, series A and series B rounds, and the remainder towards co-creation and venture building activities, e-Finance said.

The fund has already invested in four local startups:

  • Khazna: The fund has made an undisclosed investment in Khazna. Founded in April 2019, Khazna is one of the nation’s hottest fintech players and provides online financial services to Egyptians who don’t have a bank account through its salary advance app. The Cairo-based startup aims to increase their paper money advance service to cover 20 mn Egyptians with limited credit access.
  • Lucky: Nclude led Lucky’s USD 25 mn series A round, which also attracted investments from PayU, Endeavor Catalyst, Venture Souq, Oman Technology Fund, Arzan Capital and Disruptech Ventures, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The round is Egypt’s largest fintech series A to date. Founded in 2018, Lucky has connected over 6 mn customers to a range of credit products, price reductions, and cashback rewards.
  • Mozare3: It has deployed funds to Egyptian agri-fintech startup Mozare3, the statement said without disclosing the amount. Mozare3 supports small farmers by providing them with agricultural inputs of pesticides, fertilizers or seeds. Last year it landed a seven-figure pre-seed investment and has regional expansion in its 2023 plans, with an eye on Sudan and Morocco.
  • Paymob: It has also invested in payment gateway Paymob. The startup was founded in Egypt in 2015 and has since expanded to several other markets — including Jordan, Palestine, Kenya and Pakistan — making it Egypt’s first fintech firm to expand overseas.

There’s more funding on the way: Nclude is expecting further investment from “prominent regional and international investors,” the statement said.

Global Ventures is no stranger to the Egyptian startup scene, having deployed USD tens of mns in local firms including Sympl, Paymob, Yodawy, Thndr, Minly, and Elmenus.

The announcement is getting coverage in the foreign press: Reuters | Bloomberg | Al Arabiya.

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