Cairo-based Khazna, a self-described “financial super app” that has secured a $38 million Series A in debt and equity, is one of the companies attempting to provide for the underbanked and unbanked. Since its establishment, the startup has raised a total of $47 million in funding.
Omar Selah, Ahmed Wagueeh, Fatimah El Shenawy, and Omar Salah formed the company in 2019 to provide basic banking and financial services to moderate and lower-income people.
Its first product, launched in 2020, was an earned salary access offering. This solution, branded Khazna HR, enables partner firms to provide financial advances to their employees in part or in full.
According to Khazna’s CEO, the BNPL service is offered in 1,000 merchant locations around the country. In addition, he stated that the platform had 150,000 users across all of its offerings.
When asked how Khazna remains ahead of the competition, Selah emphasizes the company’s product development and user growth.
However, Khazna’s commitment to supporting the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) push for financial inclusion and a “less-cash” environment is a major highlight of the company’s path.
That’s not all, though. According to its CEO, the firm will try to use the bank’s infrastructure for some of the services it has planned.
The Egyptian business employs 70 employees, including former executives from WorldRemit, Uber, Jumia, and Match Group in its leadership team.
According to Selah, the company’s current next target is to achieve a million Egyptians using their financial super app by the end of 2022.
On that front, it will rely on the latest financing spearheaded by Quona Capital. After B2B retail e-commerce company Capiter, Khazna is the impact investor’s second investment in an Egyptian company.
Nclude (a venture capital fund created by three Egyptian banks and Dubai-based Global Ventures), Speedinvest, Khawarizmi Ventures, Algebra Ventures, Accion Venture Lab, and Disruptech were among the investors in the round.
In a statement, Monica Brand Engel, Quona co-founder, and managing partner said that Khazna has developed and monetized swiftly in just two years and is already a market leader in the quest for financial inclusion for Egypt’s 35 million unbanked.
She went on to say that by enabling consumers and small companies with Khazna’s convenient, user-centric, and transparent financial super app, millions of Egyptians will be able to take charge of their financial lives. Quona is ecstatic about Khazna’s plans to become Egypt’s category-leading digital super app for inclusive finance.
Even if the world is growing more cashless, it is difficult to picture life without a bank account. Two out of every three Egyptians have little or no access to official financial services, despite the fact that 50 percent of the country’s 100 million citizens own smartphones.
Although banks are doing everything they can to reach out to the underbanked and unbanked, it is clear that they cannot meet everyone’s demands.
As a result, start-ups like Khazna are helping to meet the needs of a specific group of individuals while also creating novel ways to improve their services.
Some of these companies, such as Refyne, Earnipay, Wagely, and NowPay, an Egyptian platform, provide this as a separate service.
However, for Khazna, it’s only one of several services offered to customers. Khazna has added features like buy now, pay later, bill payments, and a prepaid debit card after securing an undisclosed seed financing, which from some deductions falls between $8-9 million. Telda and Sympl are two similar Egyptian suppliers.
Earning a salary is one of the new innovations provided by these startups. Earned pay access is attracting a lot of attention from investors in emerging economies like India, Nigeria, and Indonesia, where firms are assisting white-collar and blue-collar workers in accessing their salaries in real-time.
It’s all part of a financial inclusion strategy that spares these people the worry of going broke or having to borrow money from predatory lenders.
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