Highlights from the Ecosystem

Every crisis brings with it a series of transformations, as the world, businesses and individuals start to adapt to a new reality. The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly brought about a new technological revolution, and opportunities for companies operating in the tech sphere, have surfaced as a result of the crisis.

As businesses have been forced to shift their operations online, and teams are working remotely, the trends in payments and cash have followed suite. As a result of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about, there are numerous voids to be filled, and companies are jumping at the chance to facilitate the lives of individuals across the globe.

One sector that is on the rise is Fintech, due to numerous factors. Firstly, banks have been too slow to respond to cash requirements of both individuals and businesses, and secondly, people are more reluctant to hold and use cash, out of fear of transmitting the virus.

In the MENA region, governments have eyed the potential and need for the Fintech industry to grow, and have laid the required foundation accordingly. Regulatory frameworks allow for Fintechs to navigate more easily and gain greater access to funding, and sandboxes are allowing for greater innovation in this sphere.

We will start to see trends emerge in the coming year, and the growth of the adoption Fintech products and services:

  • We will move rapidly into a digital only world in more developed markets. Across the MENA region, digital payment providers have seen a growth in business activity, due to a sharp increase in online purchases and e-commerce activity. We will see more opportunities arise, as digital payments and mobile app usage grow.
  • Financial institutions, mainly banks, will seek tech companies to invest in, to develop their digital transformation programs. The activities will move from in-house to external companies to move ahead of the competition. Mergers & acquisitions in this field will also be seen in the coming year.
  • Remittances and payments are being predominantly carried out online. Merchants and businesses are accepting online payments to a greater degree, as a result of COVID-19. In addition, remittances, to and from the MENA region, have moved to fintech-based solutions to process transactions.
  • Insurance companies are diversifying in fintech, with regional companies creating solutions to spread insurance cover and facilitate the purchase of policies online.
  • More and more investments will be made in fintech companies that are agile and those showcasing innovative products and services. However, the competition in the funding sphere will likely rise, and companies in late-stage valuations will be met with increasing pressure.

One thing is for sure, the world post COVID-19, will transform and be navigated online.

Here are some of the rising fintech startups, based on social listening and funding, in the MENA region, according to a report by ArabyAds, in collaboration with Meltwater:

  • Bayzat, an Online Health Insurance & HR Solutions Provider (UAE)
  • PayTabs, an Online Payment Processing Solutions (Saudi Arabia)
  • Aqeed, an Insurance Solutions Platform (UAE)
  • Beehive, an SME Focused Peer2peer Lending Platform (UAE)
  • Souqalmal.com, Financial Products Comparison Site (UAE)

And here are some of the thriving fintech startups and scaleups, part of the BDD community:

  • Bluering, a fintech company delivering commercial and retail credit management solutions to MENA-based banking and financial sector
  • Let’s Grant, a microloans payment provider
  • Juno, a payment product microloan provider
  • Hedgeguard, front-to-back portfolio management platform
  • Simetric International, financial consulting in fintech
  • Money, fintech lending platform
  • Nymcard, fintech platform for payments
  • PinPay, mobile payment and banking services

Share your fintech story. Are you a MENA region based fintech entity? Share your story with us, on [email protected]

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