Y Combinator backed Dubai-based fintech Zywa closes a $1M pre-seed round for its teen neobank. Besides Y Combinator, the strategic investors from the United States and the Middle East who participated in the round include; executives from Google, Amazon, Netflix, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, as well as regional bankers and entrepreneurs.
Zywa is part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 batch (YC W22) that kicked off early this year. Y Combinator is the most globally renowned start-up accelerator that has backed unicorns like Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, Coinbase, Stripe, DoorDash, Instacart, and Brex, GitLab. With a collective portfolio value of $600B+.
Founded in 2021 by young entrepreneurs Alok Kumar and Nuha Hashem. Zywa is bringing a unique solution to the region through offering a social banking app and a payment card to Gen Zs between the age of 11-21 years old. Growing up as teenagers in the GCC region, the young founders personally felt the pain point of using cash. While growing up and took it upon themselves to enable Gen Z in the region to go cashless. The startup is building a solution for Gen Z and has already assembled a founding team of Gen Zs and young Millennials.
“Gen Z will be the most active segment in the workforce during the next decade. Our vision is to build a platform that will not only help them go cashless but also facilitate their interaction with Web 3.0. It is quite humbling to be a part of Y Combinator. And we are excited that Zywa is among the very few companies that are selected globally. We believe Y Combinator’s mentorship, extensive network and access to strategic global capital will be a catalyst to propel us towards our vision at a faster pace.” mentioned Alok Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Zywa.
“When we started in 2021, our priority was to build a solution that is tailored for teens and their parents in the region. We assembled an in-house tech team and developed a product which is available in both English and Arabic. Free of cost and can reinforce teens’ financial literacy through a learning-by-doing approach. It also gives them a social space to interact with their peers, earn rewards, and even rack up collectible NFTs on the side. Parents can also track their kids’ spending and saving behavior, have complete oversight, and transfer money instantly to their kids. Through Y Combinator’s vast resources as well as a world-class network of experts. We are confident that we can build and scale the product to something that Gen Zs all over the region will love.” said Nuha Hashem, co-founder and CTO of Zywa.
The team has already secured strategic partnerships in Egypt and the UAE. And the app is already available on the App Store where teens and parents are able to join the waitlist. Zywa is planning to launch in Egypt and the UAE soon and prepping to go live in Saudi Arabia by 2023.
Amila Africa Launches Amila Insights
Amila Africa Founder, Lethabo Sithole
Amila Africa is thrilled to announce the launch of Amila Insights, a revolutionary division that is committed to providing advanced analytics, research and comprehensive solutions for businesses, governments, and international organisations looking to achieve success in African markets. The company offers a range of services, including syndicated market intelligence reports, customized research solutions, high-level market access events, content development, and value communication.
As a budding pan-African and women-led advisory firm specialising in policy, enterprise and infrastructure development within the trade, investment and energy sectors, Amila Africa brings unparalleled expertise to the forefront with the launch of Amila Insights.
“With a focus on demystifying development trends and delivering data-driven analyses of opportunities across Africa, Amila Insights serves as the strategic partner organisations need to thrive in the region” said Lethabo Sithole, Managing Director of Amila Africa. “Our suite of services is meticulously designed to empower clients with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive growth and achieve sustainable success.”
With a steadfast commitment to collaboration and partnership, Amila Insights collaborates closely with clients to develop tailored solutions aligned with their specific goals and priorities. “By leveraging its extensive network and deep understanding of local dynamics, Amila Insights assists clients in identifying new opportunities, enhancing competitiveness, and optimising business strategies,” said Noluthando Mthonti-Mlambo, Executive Director at Amila Insights.
Amila Insights strives to be more than just a provider of information and data to clients. It aims to challenge the existing narratives on Africa, African businesses, countries, and multilateral organizations and become a trusted source of inspiration and change.
For businesses, governments, and international organisations seeking to unlock the vast potential of African markets, Amila Insights represents a compelling opportunity to gain useful insights into the complex, evolving and growing African market. With a focus on excellence and a dedication to delivering tangible results, Amila Insights stands ready to be the trusted partner organisation to rely on to navigate the dynamic landscape of African business.
Africa Finance Corporation Appoints Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of Board
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading instrumental infrastructure solutions provider, today announces the appointment of Mr. Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mr. Emuwa brings a wealth of experience spread over three decades leading and transforming banking institutions across Africa. After completing a sterling 25-year career with Citibank where he left as the Country Officer and Managing Director of Citibank in Nigeria, he went on to serve as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank of Nigeria.
In this role, he led the bank’s transformation and worked successfully with the new shareholders to transform and restore one of Nigeria’s oldest institutions back to its rightful position as a credible and strong provider of financial services. Mr. Emuwa’s extensive experience and unwavering dedication to the advancement of Africa make him a valuable asset to AFC at a time when the Corporation is rapidly expanding its operations across the continent and building partnerships through international collaborations.
He has been a part of AFC’s Board since 2015, previously serving as the Chairman of the Board Risk and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Board Nominations and Governance Committee. He is also the Chairman of Tangerine Financial (U.K.), the holding company for a financial services group providing insurance and pensions solutions across the continent. Mr Emuwa is thus well positioned to oversee and guide AFC on its future strategy and growth aspirations. The Corporation’s mission to accelerate development impact, foster industrialisation, and enhance value capture and retention across the continent through the provision of critical infrastructure, is crucial for African development and prosperity.
Speaking on the appointment, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, said: “Mr. Emuwa’s considerable experience, insightful perspectives and immense dedication to Africa’s development seamlessly align with our mission. We are confident that under his continued guidance, AFC will continue to make significant strides in transforming the continent. He brings a deep understanding of Africa’s financial landscape within a global context, and has a clear vision for enabling AFC to further amplify its impact.”
Mr. Emuwa commented on his appointment, saying: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed Chairman of Africa Finance Corporation, an institution that has, over the past 16 years, evolved into the leading infrastructure investor in Africa, delivering transformational projects across pivotal sectors of the economy. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the board, management, and all stakeholders to advance AFC’s mission and strengthen its role as a driving force for economic growth and infrastructure development on the African continent.”
Fawry FMCG Partners Edita to Enhance Digital and Financial Inclusion
Fawry FMCG has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Edita Food Industries to provide innovative solutions to facilitate electronic collection systems and digitize the sales collection cycle. Fawry is a company specializing in financial technology solutions for the consumer goods sector, is keen on providing its partners in various sectors with an advanced set of financial technology solutions, especially the food and beverage sector and spreading the culture of digital transformation to achieve a cashless society in accordance with Egypt’s Vision 2030 .
According to this agreement” Edita” representatives and clients will be able to deposit funds collected daily and around the clock through Fawry retail network spread across all governorates of Egypt and Fawry Plus branches.
Besides, “Fawry FMCG” is considered the first and largest electronic financial platform in Egypt that serves consumers and companies through various channels and thousands of service points throughout Egypt.
“Fawry FMCG” platform currently serves more than 320,000 merchants and more than 100 consumer goods companies, with the aim of digitizing supply and demand processes, and creating an ecosystem where the relationship between the retailer, the sales representative, and the consumer goods company is seamless, digital and cashless.
Ashraf Sabry, Chairman of Fawry FMCG said: “The partnership represents a bright step for us in Fawry FMCG’s journey in the Egyptian market, as “Edita” is one of the largest food industry companies, and we are excited to work together to develop collection and payment systems in the food industry sector, through the latest innovative and fully secured technology solutions.”
He also stressed Fawry’s commitment to support the Egyptian market and all industry sectors in order to advance the economy and strengthen local markets.
Commenting on the agreement, Edita’s Chairman Hani Berzi said, “We are very pleased to announce our partnership with Fawry, Egypt’s leading provider of e-payment services, who will help Edita digitalize cash collection across its merchant network, improve trade cash management and enhance overall operational efficiency for our business. This is a crucial step toward advancing digital transformation across our organization, which is a key pillar of Edita’s ESG strategy. We look forward to working with the team at Fawry and to realizing our strategic objectives through this partnership.”