Saudi expansion in focus for Paymob after record fundraising in Egypt

(Bloomberg) –

Egyptian digital payment provider Paymob will use the new funds to enter Saudi Arabia and expand at home as the pandemic spurs a sharp rise in non-cash transactions.

The Cairo-based firm, which provides mobile wallet products to companies, including banks and telephone operators, and also helps process retail payments, sees “huge potential” in the two Arab states, co-founder and chief operating officer Alain said in an interview. El Hajj.

Driven by what he says is the largest ever fundraising by an Egyptian company, led by Global Ventures based in the United Arab Emirates, Paymob is trying to build on the 500% monthly revenue jump it recorded in Egypt in 2020.

“The digital transformation-accelerated pandemic,” El Hajj said, as consumers in Egypt, the most populous nation in the Middle East, as well as Paymob’s chemical, Pakistani and Palestinian markets, increasingly moved online. The Dutch development bank FMO and technology investment fund A15 also contributed to the fundraising of a total of $ 15 million.

Paymob includes Swvl LLC, LG Corp. and Samsonite International SA among its more than 35,000 retailers – the number rose from 1,000 before the Covid-19 crash. The company, which says it processes over 85% of payments via a mobile wallet in Egypt, also credits the government’s moves to encourage digital banking and transactions as a boost to its business.

Paymob has applied for a license in Saudi Arabia and is negotiating with the regulator, CEO Islam Shawky said in the same interview. The Kingdom, home to the region’s largest economy, has set an increase in the share of non-cash transactions as the goal of its ambitious economic transformation plans.

Saudi cash payments, which were already growing rapidly before the pandemic, have risen in the past year. In February, the latest available data, digital transactions and card-based sales transactions, accounted for more than 40% of the calculation, which roughly corresponds to consumer spending. This compares to about 30% at the start of the pandemic and 20% at the beginning of 2018.

Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a “great regulatory environment that pushes the industry” and “market players who have the right tools and products to meet this demand,” said Shawky, who is also one of the company’s three founders.

(Updates with Saudi data on non-cash transactions in paragraph 7)

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