EGYPT – Blnk, a fintech startup that enables instant consumer credit in Egypt, has raised US$23.7 million in equity and debt funding, and US$8.3 million in securitized bond issuance to accelerate financial inclusion within underserved communities across the country.
The funds will support further development of Blnk’s Artificial Intelligence-powered lending infrastructure and the financing of the company’s fast-growing portfolio of customers.
The combined pre-seed and seed funding rounds of US$12.5 million was led by Abu Dhabi’s Emirates International Investment Company (EIIC) and Egypt-based, leading venture capital firm Sawari Ventures, with participation from several prominent local and international angel investors.
The US$11.2 million debt funding was secured from a number of leading local banks. The US$8.3 million securitised bond issuance was underwritten by National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire, making Blnk the youngest Egyptian startup to securitize its loan book.
Launched in October 2021, Blnk has developed a digital lending platform that empowers merchants of all sizes to instantly underwrite and finance their customers’ purchases at the point of sale.
With only a National ID and in as little as 3 minutes, consumers can access financing to purchase a wide range of products or services, including electronics, furniture and automotive services, paying over instalments ranging from 6 to 36 months.
Leveraging its vast base of merchant branches across Egypt, Blnk has disbursed more than $20 million in loans to date. Merchants are also boosting their profitability via the transaction commission that Blnk provides.
“Our mission is to make it easier for more Egyptians to purchase the products and services they desire by offering inclusive and convenient consumer credit at the point of sale,” Amr Sultan, Co-founder and CEO of Blnk said.
“We are delighted to have the backing of a great cohort of investors at an early stage in our journey. With their support, we believe we can drive financial inclusion in Egypt, as well as the wider Middle East and North Africa region.”
According to the International Monetary Fund, Egypt is expected to become the second largest Arab and African economy by the end of 2022.
However, limited consumer credit penetration – only 4 percent of Egyptians have credit cards – means consumers and businesses across the country are unable to take full advantage of opportunities to trade and maximise the country’s full economic potential.
By providing inclusive access to financing for consumers across the country, Blnk is supporting further growth and development in the Egyptian economy.
“We are convinced that the Egyptian market and its startup ecosystem present a compelling opportunity for regional and international investors and we are committed to identifying and investing in value accretive businesses,” Joseph Iskander, Head of Investment at EIIC, said.
“We are pleased to partner with Blnk to drive financial inclusion and economic development in Egypt and we look forward to working with the team to achieve their goals.”
Hany Al Sonbaty, Managing Partner at Sawari Ventures, stated: “we are thrilled to have Blnk in our portfolio and backing them to deliver innovative solutions to tackle the urgent challenge of financial inclusion in Egypt.
“The company has the right combination of a seasoned team and a scalable business model, with a clear path to profitability.”