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Teen-focused fintech startup, Zywa, raises $3 million to push expansion

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Teen-focused fintech company, Zywa, has raised $3 million in its seed funding round.

The seed funding round had participations from investment firms like Goodwater Capital, Dubai Future District Fund, Rebel Fund, Trampoline Venture Partners, Zemu VC, some prominent European family office, and some angel investors. The funding comes on the heels of its pre-seed funding round, which held in February, 2022, where the company raised $1 million.

Zywa, which is based in UAE, is a neobank targeted at Gen Z community. The company aims to re-imagine banking services for its target age group in North Africa, and the Middle East.

With the funding, the startup will be pursuing an expansion into Saudi Arabian, and Egyptian markets, where it would be offering a gamified community-based banking app and payment card to Gen Z between the age of 11 to 25 years old.

“Gen Zs in the UAE spend about AED 5B+ every year and still rely on cash or their parents’ cards despite having options like supplementary cards issued by their parents’ banks. While these options give access to digital payments, they are not fundamentally designed for Gen Z, and this is where we add value. We are Gen Z building for Gen Z, and aim to grow our product as they grow, to be the only financial services platform they will ever need,” CEO, Alok Kumar, said.

“Our reward system “Zems (Zywa gems) and Zyons (Zywa coins)” rewards users for healthy financial habits and are currently used as a loyalty mechanism. Once we reach a set volume of users (100,000+ users), we will tokenize the “Zems and Zyons”, which can be used for peer-to-peer transfers, to purchase items at their favorite stores and settle with merchants directly through the tokens, eliminating scheme involvement through a closed-loop system, thus adding additional revenue streams for us,” CTO, Nuha Hashem said.

Zywa, the YC-backed startup, was founded in 2021 by Alok Kumar, and Nuha Hashem, who were born and raised in Saudi Arabia. The co-founders got the idea for the startup from their experience with finances from their parents. They then created to serve as an easier way for the Gen-Z to receive, and manage funds, and also make payments.

Speaking on the fundraise, Alok Kumar said:

“We are extremely proud to have global VCs such as Goodwater Capital, who is one among the early backers of Monzo, joining the round and investing for the first time in the region. The seed fund will help us focus on product, growth and strategic partnerships to accelerate our efforts in the UAE and Egypt markets while prepping us to launch in Saudi Arabia by early 2023.”

“The seed round will help us create more product initiatives to give the best possible experience to our Gen Z users, while building their financial literacy. We want them to experience banking in a cool way that sets a high standard for them in the future. This funding will also help us tailor the product to a new audience in my home country (Egypt) and the country where I grew up (Saudi Arabia). We are proud to have a product that is localized to the MENA region and that Gen Z can resonate with,” Hashem added.

Read also: Early-stage VC firm – Microtraction – raises $15 million community funds; to invest in African startups in pre-seed stage

Commenting on the partnership with Zywa, Samantha Ku (COO of Square Financial Services), and Min Park (ex-Executive Director at J.P. Morgan and General Partner at RNR Capital), both of who participated in the funding round, said:

We are excited to back Zywa as we believe financial education needs to be revolutionized for teens in this changing economy. Giving exposure to kids early on about saving and personal finance fundamentals and done in an engaging way sets up the next generation for success.”

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