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Fintech Saudi partners up with Flat6Labs to launch accelerator

Yehia El Amine

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Fintech Saudi in partnership with Flat6Labs, a regional startup accelerator, are launching a Fintech accelerator that consists of an intensive innovation and entrepreneurship program spanning 3 months. 

The partnership brings together Fintech Saudi’s market reach as well as Flat6Labs’ experience and resources to provide 10 startups with all the tools, practices, and resources to scale up their business models. 

“The Fintech accelerator is an important milestone for Fintech Saudi. Over the last year we have seen a threefold increase in the number of fintech companies operating in Saudi Arabia and we want this trend to continue and contribute to the goals of Saudi Vision 2030,” Nejoud Al Mulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi, was quoted as saying. 

Al Mulaik added that they “are therefore delighted to collaborate with Flat6Labs to launch the Fintech accelerator programme that will provide entrepreneurs with the key skills, support and access they need to grow their fintech business in the Kingdom.” 

Fintech Saudi was launched by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority in partnership with the Capital Market Authority in April 2018, to act as a catalyst for the development of the financial services technology (fintech) industry in Saudi Arabia. 

The initiative aims to transform Saudi Arabia into an innovative fintech hub with a thriving and responsible ecosystem.

This comes at a time where Fintech Saudi attempts to bolster their local industry, as the kingdom doubles down on empowering their startup sector to push their economy forward. 

According to an annual report by Saudi Fintech, the kingdom has witnessed an increase in the value of fintech at a rate of 18 percent, reaching over USD 20 billion in 2019. 

“The fintech market in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach transaction values of over USD 33 billion by 2023,” the report added. 

The program offers a wide array of assistance to the selected startups in the form of investor exposure, coaching and mentorship from a myriad of renowned professionals across the board. 

In addition, the accelerator will provide pitching training to aid them in showcasing their solutions on regional and global stages. 

Startups who wish to enter the program must have developed solutions that can fill the gap in the Saudi market, with an aim to disrupt the sector. 

In parallel, participating startups must be registered as private companies, while having validated business models with existing users, and have already begun generating income over the past three months. The application deadline is on the 22nd of October 2020. For more info, visit Fintech Saudi’s website 

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Yehia is an investigative journalist and editor with extensive experience in the news industry as well as digital content creation across the board. He strives to bring the human element to his writing.

Fintech

Buy now pay later services to reach $995 Bn globally in 2026

Inside Telecom Staff

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Buy now pay later

Commerce has come a long way in the 21st century; it has evolved from the simple act of exchanging banknotes for goods, to the current digital age where you can make transactions by a digital currency mined by someone on the other side of the planet.

Commerce transformed into eCommerce, and with it came a plethora of strategies, payment methods, and gateways that can give you the option to pay at your convenience based on your preferences.

As such, technology took financial services and procedures to the digital realm, and then birthing the popular eCommerce strategy of Buy Now Pay Later, that many have found to be go-to method of payment when online shopping.

A new study from Juniper Research has found that spending via buy now pay later services, which are integrated within eCommerce checkout options, including fixed instalment plans and flexible credit accounts, will reach $995 billion in 2026, from $266 billion in 2021.

This 274 percent growth will be fueled by a greater appetite from users for credit to spread costs, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, which has put extreme pressure on user finances.

The research identified that, while regulations will inevitably place restrictions on services, such as limiting charges or enforcing affordability checks, these changes will not diminish the appeal or growth of the platforms; merely placing them on a more secure footing.

The report recommends that vendors focus on improving the transparency and use of credit assessment and reporting now to minimize future disruption.

Buy Now Pay Later a go-to eCommerce

The new research, Buy Now Pay Later: Vendor Strategies, Regulatory Frameworks & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, found that, by 2026, buy now pay later services will account for over 24 percent of global eCommerce transactions for physical goods by value, from just 9% in 2021.

“As a tool to split the cost for users, buy now pay later is ideally suited for high-cost items, as it enables users to seamlessly split large costs into smaller, more manageable payments. By 2026, these platforms will increasingly become the norm for lower-cost purchases as well; driven by user demand and eCommerce platform integrations,” Research co-author Damla Sat explained.

Buy Now Pay Later to reach 1.5 billion in 2026

The research also found that the global number of buy now pay later users will exceed 1.5 billion in 2026, from 340 million in 2021.

In turn, the report recommends that eCommerce merchants must integrate buy now pay later services immediately, or risk losing transactions to other payment platforms which offer preferable payment options.

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SoftBank invests $60m in Malaysian digital marketing business

Karim Husami

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digital marketing

SoftBank and Axiata Group announced Tuesday an investment of $60 million by the Japanese company in ADA, a digital analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and marketing company in the Malaysian telecom’s conglomerate.

The investment is aimed at expanding and speeding ADA’s analytics, data and AI digital marketing business in Asia, Axiata and SoftBank said in a joint statement. ADA currently serves 1,300 customers in the region.

“Beyond Japan”

In addition, Daichi Nozaki, SoftBank Vice President and Head of the Enterprise Business Unit’s Global Business Division, will join the ADA board in mid-May 2021.

SoftBank Corp. Representative Director and Chairman Ken Miyauchi said the ADA investment enables his company to embark on its “Beyond Japan” business strategy.

“We will utilize ADA’s know-how in data and AI, and its support structures,” Miyauchi told a virtual news conference. “And by closely collaborating with ADA, I’m confident we can propose new digital marketing solutions to companies in Asia and help support their digital transformation.”

The investment is also in line with SoftBank’s growth strategy announced during its initial public offering in 2018, he said.

With the investment, SoftBank will hold a 23.07 percent stake in ADA, which has a valuation of 1.07 billion ringgit ($260 million). Axiata Digital Services remains ADA’s majority shareholder at 63.47 percent.

Japan’s Sumitomo owns a 13.46 percent stake.

Common ground

Also, Axiata Group President and CEO Izzaddin Idris said both Axiata and SoftBank discovered they have common ground, and that ADA could fit well with some of SoftBank’s existing businesses.

ADA aims for a $2 billion valuation in the next five years across Southeast Asia.

“We have no immediate plans to spin off ADA via a public listing,” Izzaddin said. “Listings are to raise capital, but ADA is already raising capital without listing,” he added.

ADA CEO Srinivas Gattamneni said the $60 million investment would be used to develop a big data platform and AI models focused on digital marketing and the automation of content creation for the advertising industry.

Miyauchi said SoftBank sees tremendous potential in digital marketing, digital communication, digital automation and security services — with digital marketing in Asia as a promising growth area.

The latest advertising statistics show that as of January 2021, there were 5.22 billion unique mobile phone users in the world, as DataReportal noted. This makes up 66.6 percent of the total global population.

It also marks a 1.8 percent year-over-year increase from January 2020. In this one year, the world gained 93 million more mobile phone users. If these digital marketing statistics continue to trend, we’ll be seeing even more mobile phone users over the coming years.

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MTN Rwanda launches mobile money FinTech services

Yehia El Amine

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Mobile Money

MTN Rwanda announced late last week the launch of a FinTech subsidiary called Mobile Money Rwanda LTTD, to provide and manage mobile money services throughout the country.

The announcement – which was made as the operator received approval from National Bank of Rwanda to launch the FinTech service – also places Chantal Kagame as its Chief Executive Officer to drive business development, strategy, innovation, and day to day operations of the company.

According to a statement by the South African courier, the setting up of Mobile Money Rwanda Ltd is in line with MTN Rwanda’s strategy to lead digital solutions while contributing to the national economic strategy on enhancing cashless transactions that offer convenience and security to all Rwandans.

“We are very glad to announce the establishment of Mobile Money Rwanda Ltd as a wholly owned subsidiary of MTN Rwanda. One of the key pillars in our strategy is to establish platforms that our customers find valuable. This restructure will ensure that the Mobile Money business remains agile, well poised for future growth and accelerated innovation. Mobile Money has matured over the last ten years in Rwanda, and this marks a pivotal milestone in our journey toward a cashless economy,” MTN Rwanda CEO, Mitwa Ng’ambi said in a statement when speaking about the new standalone firm.

In parallel, Kagame highlighted the company’s commitment to enhance the MoMo user experience and keep innovating products and services aligned with their digital ambition.

“The transition process to a standalone business has now kicked off and we look forward to cementing Mobile Money Rwanda Ltd as a key FinTech player in the Rwandan market,” she added.

The South African-based telco already provides FinTech services under the name of MoMo, a service that has been in operation since 2010. According to figures by the company, MTN currently boasts about six million subscribers.

MTN claims the largest market and value share in the increasingly competitive telecoms sector of Rwanda.

The announcement comes in line with MTN’s ambition to expand within the large African market, as the courier placed a bid to receive an operating license in Ethiopia, as the country looks to liberalize its telecoms sector and digitize its economy.

Prior to Chantal’s appointment, she held the role of Chief Business and Corporate Affairs Officer since she joined MTN in 2018. She is a senior Telecom Executive with over 19 years of experience in Multinational Telecommunications.

She has a track record of excellent achievement in areas of Executive Leadership, Sales and Distribution, Mobile Financial Services, Strategy Development and Execution, Corporate Affairs and Credit Management.

Prior to joining MTN Rwanda, Chantal was the Deputy CEO/COO at Tigo Rwanda for 3 years and Head of Sales, Distribution and Corporate Affairs at the same company from 2011 to 2015.

The establishment of Mobile Money Rwanda Ltd does not in any way affect nor change the delivery of services to current Mobile Money customers. Mobile Money customers will continue to enjoy access to the wide range of MoMo products and services, the over 30,000 Mobile Money agents and 60,000 MoMoPay merchants across the country.

MTN foresees an even brighter future to further expand and deepen its offerings to the public in line with Rwanda’s vision to become a fully cashless economy.

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