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Zywa, neobank for Gen Z raises $3M to expand to the Middle East and North Africa

Zywa founders
Image credits: Zywa

Zywa, a Dubai-based teen-focused fintech startup has scored $3 million in seed funding. This round follows the $1 million funding that was raised in February this year.

Who invested in Zywa?

The investment came from Goodwater Capital (that invested in Nano and Sweat Economy), Dubai Future District Fund, Rebel Fund, Trampoline Venture Partners, and Zemu VC. It also saw participation from some of the most prominent European family offices, and strategic angel investors.

With the fresh funds, Zywa aims to re-imagine banking for Gen Z in the Middle East and North Africa.

Alok Kumar, co-founder and CEO said, “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. 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.”

Nuha Hashem, co-founder and CTO added, “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.”

Samantha Ku (COO of Square Financial Services), and Min Park (ex-Executive Director at J.P. Morgan and General Partner at RNR Capital), who were among the investors who joined the round, also added, “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.”

Neo bank for Gen Z

Reportedly, Gen Zs in the UAE spend over AED 5B every year and still rely on cash or their parents’ cards despite having options such as supplementary cards issued by their parents’ banks. While these options give access to digital payments, they are not fundamentally designed for Gen Z.

Founded in 2021 by entrepreneurs Alok Kumar and Nuha Hashem, who were born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Zywa is bringing a unique solution offering a gamified community-based banking app and payment card to Gen Z.

Gamification, community events, rewards and referrals contributed to the company’s rapid growth, in addition to integrating with over 1,000 brands tailored exclusively for Gen Z. Backed by Y Combinator, Zywa is creating a community of teens in the UAE who can connect and network with each other, while building their financial literacy.

Zywa recently joined Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, gaining access to Abu Dhabi’s capital ecosystem, a global network of partners, and a vibrant community of highly skilled talent.

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