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Pakistani fintech startup Tez wins $100,000 grand prize at Visa Everywhere Initiative

Tez Financial Services, a Pakistani fintech startup has won the FinTech challenge at first edition of Visa Everywhere Initiative for women, receiving $100,000 as prize money. Tez, founded in 2016 by Naureen Hyat & Hamza Hussain, is a fully digital Non-Bank Microfinance Company (NBMFC), licensed by Securities & Exchanage Commission of Pakistan, providing financial access in form of nano-credit (instant advance), savings, insurance, and investments, to unbanked and underbanked population through a smartphone application.

Tez has four main offerings: Tez Advance that caters to short-term liquidity needs of users through Tez Advance by providing one to four week-instant loans between PKR 1,000 to 5,000 without any guarantees through its app in fifteen minutes; Tez Committee that enables users to park their funds in short-term savings avenues through community-led savings (Digital ROSCAs); Tez Bima for health and term-life insurance; and Tez Sarmaya for investment plans.

Tez was one of the six finalists of the FinTech challenge of Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) Women’s Global Edition who were flown to Paris last week to take part in the final competition. The other finalists included startups from Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. The program also featured a Social Impact challenge with a different set of finalists. The FinTech challenge selected and invited startups that could transform consumer and/or commercial payment experiences locally, regionally or globally.

Launched in 2015, Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), is a global innovation program of Visa, that tasks startups to solve payment challenges, enhance their product propositions and provide solutions for Visa’s network of partners all around the world. Since launching, VEI has seen over 6,000 startups participate in 24 innovation programs. This year, for the first time, Visa Everywhere Initiative launched a Women’s Global Edition to look for female entrepreneurs.

“The VEI: Women’s Global Edition was created to find entrepreneurs in women-founded or women co-founded startups working in the fintech and social impact spaces,” Visa had said in a statement adding that the goal of Women’s Global Edition is to spotlight female business leaders and support Visa’s commitment to micro and small businesses.

The startup that’s going after Pakistan’s massive unbanked population had raised $1.1 million in seed funding late last year that was led by Omidyar Network, the impact investment firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and joined by  Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of global nonprofit Accion, and Planet N, the Pakistani investment firm founded by Nadeem Hussain, the founder of Pakistani microfinance institution Tameer Bank that was acquired by Telenor in 2016.

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