Egyptian fintech Connect Money raises $8 million seed for its embedded finance platform

Egyptian fintech Connect Money has raised $8 million in a seed round led by Disruptech Ventures, Algebra Ventures, and Lorax Capital Partners, with additional participation from One Stop and MDP, it announced in a statement today.

The startup was founded in 2023 by Ayman Essawy, Marwan Kenawy, and Momtaz Moussa, who previously founded Egyptian loyalty solutions provider Dsquares in 2012 and cashback app Lucky One in 2019. Ayman Essawy is leading Connect Money as company’s CEO, Marwan Kenawy serves as Dsquare’s CEO, and Momtaz Moussa is the CEO of Lucky One.

Lucky One had started as a company within Dsquares but it seems Connect Money is completely independent, starting with a completely fresh cap table. Lucky One/Dsquares has raised over $50 million in total funding.

Connect Money has developed a white-label card issuing platform that enables businesses to provide debit and credit cards without building their own fintech infrastructure or obtaining regulatory licensing. The startup has already issued over 300,000 cards to date, according to a company statement.

The platform offers end-to-end managed services, including card issuance and distribution, KYC management, customer support, fraud monitoring, and other banking back-office operations. It also offers mobile banking app development and handles installments operations management for clients that may want to offer its PayLater feature to their customers.

The businesses using Connect Money can also offer rewards, cashback, and discounts from over 20,000 of its partners, to their customers. The startup has leveraged its Lucky One and Dsquares experience and network to offer this.

Connect Money’s platform supports multiple card schemes, including Visa, Mastercard, and Meeza, the local payment scheme for transactions within Egypt.

The funding will enable Connect Money to launch five new business verticals in Africa and the Middle East. The company plans to continue its growth in existing markets such as Egypt and Morocco while also accelerating new market entries with a primary focus on Africa. The funds will be directed towards fueling innovation, enhancing technology capabilities, and expanding their services.

Ayman Essawy, Co-founder and CEO of Connect Money, commented on the funding: “We are immensely proud to announce the closure of our seed funding round, a testament to the confidence and support extended by our investors. This significant seed investment underscores our hyper-growth potential as we strive to eliminate existing pain points for businesses aiming to become financially enabled.”

Mohamed Okasha, Managing Partner of Disruptech Ventures, stated: “We are proud to partner with Connect Money to revolutionize embedded finance in MENA. Connect Money’s expertise, deep market knowledge, and cutting-edge integrated tech will greatly enhance accessibility and efficiency in financial services, benefiting the fintech-enabled ecosystem and transforming banking operations while positioning Egypt as a valuable hub for exporting embedded finance services.”

Omar Khashaba, General Partner at Algebra Ventures, added: “Ayman is an incredible entrepreneur who has co-founded some of the most successful startups in MENA, including Dsquares and Lucky. We were part of his journey since the very beginning and are excited to be backing him once more as he addresses a massive fintech infrastructure gap in the region.”

The other notable startups operating in the space in the Middle East, include NymCard, which has raised over $35 million in total financing to date, and SimpliFi.

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