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Algerian startup – Yassir – raises $150m; plans African expansion

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Yassir, an Algerian startup based in San Francisco, USA, has raised $150 million in its series B fundraising round.

The startup, which runs a super app that provides telemedicine, travel, eCommerce, and ride-hailing services, said it will use the funding to power its expansion across Africa and the rest of the world.

The series B funding round had leading participations from BOND. BOND is an investment company that has put its chips on other companies like Spotify, Uber, and Airbnb. Further participation in Yassir’s funding round came from DN Capital, Dorsal Capital, Quiet Capital, Stanford Alumni Ventures (aka Spike Ventures) and Y Combinator, and a number of global investors.

Yassir was founded in 2017 by Noureddine Tayebi, who is a Stanford University alumnus. The super app began operations as a ride-hailing and last-mile delivery, this, the startup did to gain trust of its targeted users while it builds towards its goal of providing financial services to users.

“When we first started, the observation was that most people were unbanked, and the number one reason is that people don’t trust the banking systems here for various reasons. We thought we could provide on-demand services that solve immediate needs around where people spend their money. We knew if we executed well, we could have a larger user base that subconsciously trusts us, which we felt was pertinent to offering payment services,” Founder, Tayebi, told TechCrunch.

Yassir has grown to become the company to raise the biggest funds so far, in the whole of North Africa. In the past, Yassir had raised an early seed round of $13.25 million, followed by a $30 million series A round, which was closed a year ago. Yassir has now raised a cumulative $193 million in all its fundraising rounds, and has a valuation that is one of the highest in North Africa.

Although, the company did not disclose what its valuation reads, the founder and CEO, Tayebi, said the company has become the most valuable company in the region, and one of the most valuable companies in Africa, and the Middle East. The CEO, also added that the company’s valuation is “pretty high.”

Tayebi said that aside building trust with its customers, the company encourages its customers to deposit money into their Yassir wallet, and provides them with attractive incentives. Following this approach, Yassir claims it has increased its users 2.5 times from last year’s figures, amounting to about 8 million users.

“Our business model from day one was a super add model and getting into payments. When we first started, the observation was that most people were unbanked, and the number one reason is that people don’t trust the banking systems here for various reasons. We thought we could provide on-demand services that solve immediate needs around where people spent their money. We knew if we executed well, we could have a large user base that subconsciously trusts us, which we felt was pertinent to offering payment services,” CEO, Tayebi said.

Yassir currently has operational offices in France, Morocco, Tunisia, Canada, and Algeria, and it plans to expand into emerging markets across Africa and the Middle East.

“Yassir means ‘easy’ in Arabic, and our mission as a company is to make people’s lives easy. In the markets where we operate, we are already having a considerable impact on how people manage their day-to-day lives. We look forward to expanding our presence into other geographies to become the first super app to achieve mass adoption,” Tayebi said.

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