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Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Paymob closes USD 50 mn series B round, wants to enter GCC this year

Paymob closes Egypt’s largest ever fintech series B round: Fintech startup Paymob raised USD 50 mn in a series B round, it announced in a statement (pdf) yesterday, calling it the largest round of its type for an Egyptian fintech firm. The round was led by emerging market investor Kora Capital, PayPal’s venture capital arm PayPal Ventures, and Clay Point, an agent of London-based investor Eden Rock.

Who else participated? Other investors included Helios Digital Ventures, the UK government’s development finance arm British International Investment (formerly CDC Group), and the Global Ventures-managed fintech fund Nclude, which counts a cornucopia of state-owned banks among its limited partners. All Paymob’s existing investors also participated — including A15 and Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, who took part in Paymob’s USD 18.5 mn series A round last year.

Big money: While many startups don’t specify how much they’ve raised (instead saying they raised an “xx-figure” round, while failing to even specify a currency), the transaction is one of the the largest funding round we’ve heard of for a local startup, earning mention in the same breath as MNT-Halan’s blockbuster USD 120 mn round last September and ahead of Khazna’s USD 38 mn series A last month.

Paymob is doing well: It closed the round n the back of a strong 2021, during which the company recorded 4x y-o-y growth in the number of merchants and monthly volumes, the statement read.

Where the funds are going: Paymob will use the round for its regional expansion plans across the GCC and North Africa, to add new products, and expand its merchant base. “We want to increase the merchant network we have whether online, POS or tap-on-phone,” co-founder and CEO Islam Shawky told Enterprise. He added that the company is building tools for merchants to better manage their business expenses.

Paymob wants to enter a GCC country this year, Shawky tells us. “The problem we’re solving is not an Egypt-only problem. We really see that a lot of emerging markets are suffering from being extremely cash dependent, SMEs specifically,” he said. The company will start operations in Pakistan next quarter after officially launching there last month, and wants to onboard over 100k Pakistani merchants within two years, Shawky said.

It also wants to get in on financial services: “We’re looking at how to grow the working capital of businesses in partnership with financial institutions … we’re moving from just payments into becoming a financial services enabler,” he said.

Paymob is one of four companies Nclude has invested in so far: The USD 85 mn fintech fund launched by Dubai-based VC Global Ventures and backed by Egyptian state-owned banks has also announced investments in Khazna, Lucky and Mozare3.

Investors are super keen on Egyptian fintech: Egypt has seen an increase of 20 startups, a 300% increase in funding, and more than double the average ticket size when it comes to fintech and fintech-enabled startups. Curious about what’s next in fintech? We recently sat with a number of fintech leaders to learn more about the sector, read our two-part discussion here and here or go listen on Apple Podcasts.

The story got international coverage from Forbes Middle East and The National.

IN OTHER STARTUP NEWS- Emirati buy-now-pay-later startup Cashew will enter the Egyptian market with the help of Mashreqbank, after the UAE lender acquired a c. 20% stake in the company in a USD 10 mn debt and equity transaction, Reuters reported.

Also eyeing expansion into Egypt: A new merger between UAE incubator CE-Creates and Abu Dhabi VC Hatch & Boost, according to a statement picked up by Wamda. The partnership will operate under the name hatch & boost Ventures, and plans to expand into Egypt and Saudi Arabia “in the coming years.”

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