Saudi fintech Lean raises $3.5 million seed for its financial APIs platform

Riyadh-based financial APIs platform Lean has raised $3.5 million in a seed round, it announced in a statement to MENAbytes today. The round was led by Raed Ventures with the participation of Abu Dhabi’s Shorooq Partners, US & Saudi-based Outliers VC, Berlin-based Global Founders Capital & Dubai-based Global Ventures. Some leading angel investors including Souq and Maktoob’s co-founder Samih Toukan and former partner and managing director of Lightspeed Ventures Jake Said also took part in the round.

Founded in 2019 by Hisham Al-Falih, Aditya Sarkar, and Ashu Gupta, Lean is a Plaid-like B2B startup that builds developer-friendly APIs to provide fintechs with access to customer financial data and payment initiation capabilities.

The Saudi startup does this by directly integrating with financial institutions and providing them with an API integration layer to complement their existing infrastructure.

“Our technology provides financial institutions with full transparency, oversight, and control over the data being shared by their customers, while also achieving full Open Banking compliance. As a result, fintechs can integrate with a multitude of Financial Institutions in the region through a single platform – the Lean Universal API,” said the startup in a statement.

Plaid, the US startup and industry leader that has been doing this for American fintechs was acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion earlier this year.

Lean is currently in the process of integrating and going live with different banks in Saudi and Bahrain and has plans to expand soon to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Egypt. The fintech of fintechs aims to be operational across most of the Middle East by 2021.

The use cases that Lean supports, according to its website include, personal finance management, lending, and business finances.

In a statement, Lean explained that its services will add value to all the stakeholders of the financial ecosystem. Customers will gain more access and control over their financial data, fintechs will gain universal access to customers’ financial data, banks will make new technologies available to their customers while gaining full transparency and control over the data being accessed by third parties and regulators will maintain full oversight and control of the entire ecosystem’s operations.

Hisham Al-Falih, the co-founder & CEO of Lean, said, “Customers stand to gain the most from sharing their data with new fintech services. However, this should never come at the expense of their privacy and security. Lean’s core technologies ensure that customers can seamlessly and securely share their financial data with their favorite Fintech apps without ever compromising on their privacy or security.”

Omar A. Almajdouie, Founding Partner at Raed Ventures, said, “Financial inclusion is a great mission that needs the right infrastructure to thrive. Hisham, Aditya and Ashu built Lean Technologies to ensure that fintech innovators have a seamless platform to build the greatest products for their communities in Middle East.”

Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner at Shorooq Partners, said, “Lean is the missing piece for the Middle East Fintech ecosystem. The company will be the enabler of fintech innovation in the region. This will accelerate growth in the Fintech ecosystem and create seamless consumer experiences so that we can all benefit from simpler financial lives.”

Mohammed Almeshekah, Founding Partner of Outliers VC, said, “Lean is strongly positioned to be the conduit of financial data and connectivity with a strong technical foundation built on trust and data security.”

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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