YC-backed Zywa, a Gen Z neobank, raises $3M to expand on MENA – gotechbusiness.com


based in Dubai zywa, a neobank for Gen Z, plans to fuel its growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and kickstart its expansion into Saudi Arabia and Egypt after raising $3 million in seed capital at a valuation of more than $30 million (AED 110 million). The new funding follows the $1 million pre-seed it secured in February this year.

Goodwater Capital, Dubai Future District Fund, Rebel Fund, Trampoline Venture Partners, Zemu VC, a number of leading European family offices and strategic angel investors participated in the latest round.

Zywa was founded by Alok Kumara (CEO) and Nuha Hashem (CTO) in 2021, inspired by their experiences in the gulf region, where they mainly used cash or their parents’ cards to pay. They created Zywa as a social banking app and prepaid card to enable Gen Z (aged 11-25) to receive, manage and pay money.

The app also provides convenience for parents as they can send money to their children and track their spending and saving habits.

“Gen Zs in the UAE spend about AED 5B+ each year and still rely on cash or their parents’ cards, despite having options such as additional cards issued by their parents’ banks. While these options provide access to digital payments, they are not fundamentally designed for Gen Z, and this is where we add value,” Kumar said in a statement.

“We’re building Gen Z for Gen Z, and we’re striving to grow our product as they grow, to be the only financial services platform they’ll ever need… The start-up fund will help us focus on product, growth and strategic partnerships to support our efforts in the UAE and Egypt markets as we prepare to launch in Saudi Arabia in early 2023,” said Kumar.

YC-backed Zywa, a Gen Z neobank, raises $3M to expand into Middle East and North Africa

Parents also use the app to send money to their children and to monitor their spending and saving behavior. Image Credits: Zywa

The strategic partnerships Zywa is exploring include working with schools to organize workshops and hackathons to further expose it to its target audience. It also plans to partner with teen-run businesses to allow them to sell on the app, in addition to discount partnerships with brands popular with Gen Z.

Zywa also plans to introduce a social element to its app by allowing users to share photos or videos of their purchases and comment on their friends’ purchases through various feeds.

The fintech is also adding community-based value-adding services, such as a platform it builds within the app to allow users to sign up for internships at Zywa and partner startups, as a strategy to encourage users to start early. to deserve. This is in addition to gamifying finance by rewarding those who save, budget and invest their money.

“Our “Zems (Zywa Gems) and Zyons (Zywa Coins)” rewards system rewards users for healthy financial habits and is currently used as a loyalty mechanism. Once we reach a certain number of users (100,000+ users), we will launch the “Zems and Zyons” token, which can be used for peer-to-peer transfers, to purchase items in their favorite stores, and settle directly with merchants through the tokens, eliminating the scheme’s involvement through a closed system, adding additional revenue streams for us,” Hashem told gotechbusiness.com.

Zywa earns from card exchange income and through partnerships with merchants or brands.