A Sudan-based fintech that offers a high-yield savings account has raised a $6.5 million seed round. The pre-seed round of the startup was not disclosed.
Visa, Y Combinator, Goodwater Capital, and VentureSouq were among the companies that participated in the financing. Some of the other investors include angels Arash Ferdowsi and Nicolas Kopp, as well as early employees at Tide.
One of the incentives for Bloom to participate in the global card scheme was the investment from Visa. The first Sudanese startup to be admitted into the program switched its cards from Mastercard to Visa after forming a partnership.
For companies like us, the Visa investment is critical. One, aligning with Visa as a partner gives you a bunch of benefits, launching products faster, marketing support and product support; and two, Visa Fintech Fast Track enables you to access these incentives in a streamlined way.
The company launched from stealth in March and was a part of the winter batches of Y Combinator. In March, the company had more than 15,000 people sign up, and that number has topped 100,000, according to the company. The platform has been launched in Sudan, but they wouldn't say how many customers are using it.
Sudan’s first YC-backed startup is helping consumers protect and grow their wealth
The seed round will help the startup execute its expansion plan across the Anglo-East African region, as highlighted in the interview. Some of the competitors in the region are YC backed.
The product is located in Sudan. The plan is for the country to be expanded to other markets. We expect to be in at least one market before the end of the year and a few more early next year.
Sudan is a country that has only recently welcomed foreign investment after 30 years of international sanctions on the country.
500 million people live in East Africa, with a median age of 18 and a fast growing middle class. The Sudan pound is volatile and depreciates 15% to 20% per annum. This volatility is one of the biggest obstacles to wealth protection and creation for this middle class, which is why Ismail and other co- founders launched the fintech: to help Sudanese individuals hedge against this rising devaluation.
Users can save in dollars and buy and spend in Sudanese pounds with a fee-free account. Most of the Sudanese diaspora live in countries where local and dollar cards are free to use. The Export Development Bank has a partnership with the fintech. Revenue is made from interest on these deposits.
The image is called "LOOM."
The adoption of Visa cards in Sudan and East Africa can be greatly increased by this partnership. Visa will provide customers with a secure and fast way to make online payments, as well as a suite of products and services.
VISA is leading the way in digital payments in Sudan. We will bring our global expertise and capabilities to Sudan's government and private-sector partners. Mohey said that they will drive acceptance of digital payments while finding opportunities to launch new products and services to Sudanese customers.Roel Janssen, a partner at Global Founders Capital, shares similar sentiment about the team: “We are very excited by our investment in Bloom. Its experienced and talented founding team has the drive and expertise to build a product that is universally valued by consumers, partners and regulators in Sudan and the wider East Africa region.”