Cairo-based Khazna raises seed funding to provide mobile financial services to underbanked Egyptians

Cairo-based fintech Khazna has raised seed funding in a round led by leading Egyptian VC Algebra Ventures, the startup announced in a statement to MENAbytes today without disclosing the size of the investment. Accion Venture Lab, Accion’s seed-stage fund that recently closed $33 million in fresh funds also participated in the round, making Khazna their first investment in Egypt.

Founded last year by Omar Saleh, Ahmed Wagueeh, Fatimah El Shenawy, and Omar Salah, Khazna aims to provide mobile financial services to over 20 million underbanked Egyptian who it says are active smartphone users but have little access to formal financial services.

Its first product is Khazna HR, a salary cash advance app that allows employers (who partner with it) to offer cash advance to their employees as a benefit, helping them to cover for unforeseen emergencies. NowPay is another Egyptian startup that offers a similar service.

But salary advance is the first of many services that Khazna is currently working on. It is working with major banking and corporate partners to launch different other products too that will allow users to pay, save, borrow and insure with minimal face-to-face or phone interaction.

Khazna’s co-founder and CEO, Omar Saleh, in a statement said, “Khazna is focused on bringing customer-centric services to over 20 million active smartphone users in Egypt who lack access to formal banking and financial services. This wouldn’t have been possible without the significant momentum created by the Central Bank of Egypt towards digitization and financial inclusion.”

He also explained that Khaza will use the investment to advance their “financial inclusion-focused products and use cases to reach the product/market fit stage by leveraging new technologies, data, and analytical tools to serve the underbanked in Egypt.”

Tarek Assaad, Managing Partner with Algebra Ventures, said, “We’re seeing the rise of a new wave of Egyptian Fintech startups that are attracting interest from local and international investors. We’re excited to be leading this round with Khazna. Omar is an exceptional entrepreneur and we believe that he and his team will grow Khazna to be one of the most transformative startups emerging from Egypt in the next few years.”

Accion’s President and CEO Michael Schlein, said, “Egypt has made strides in recent years toward greater financial inclusion, but millions of Egyptians still struggle to access the financial services they need to build better lives. Fintech startups like Khazna are uniquely positioned to develop better, faster, safer ways to meet the needs of the underserved.”

“Accion Venture Lab is excited to expand our reach into Egypt with this latest investment in Khazna, whose holistic digital banking app and strong founding team are a valuable addition to our portfolio,” added Ashley Lewis, Senior Investment Officer for Africa at Accion Venture Lab,” he added.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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