Signal Peak backs Hubpay in debut Gulf bet; Y Combinator invests in Zywa

 Signal Peak backs Hubpay in debut Gulf bet; Y Combinator invests in Zywa

The Hubpay team

Dubai-based fintech startup Hubpay has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Signal Peak Ventures, marking the US-based venture capital firm’s first investment in the Gulf region.

US-based VC firm Olive Tree Capital and BECO Capital also joined the round, as did early-stage investors Stormbreaker, Emkan Capital and Aditum.

Hubpay will use the capital to hire more employees and continue its international expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa in 2022. The company has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Karachi and London.

Hubpay, the first startup licensed in the United Arab Emirates for digital money services, said in a statement it has “multiple products in the pipeline”.

Hubpay CEO Kevin Kilty said the fintech market across the MENA region and Pakistan is at a turning point. “A wave of new digital regulatory regimes has been launched, enabling businesses like Hubpay to offer fully digital solutions to underbanked users,” Kilty said.

Zywa

UAE-based fintech Zywa has closed a $1 million pre-seed round for its neobank for teens from Y Combinator and other investors.

Executives from Google, Amazon, Netflix, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, as well as regional bankers and entrepreneurs also joined the round. The company didn’t identify any of the other investors.

Founded in 2021 by Alok Kumar and Nuha Hashem, Zywa offers a social banking app and a payment card to users aged between 11-21 years old, allowing them to go cashless.

The startup plans to use the money to expand its services to Egypt and the UAE and has plans of going live in Saudi Arabia by 2023.

“Gen Z will be the most active segment in the workforce during the next decade, and our vision is to build a platform that will not only help them go cashless but also facilitate their interaction with Web 3.0,” said Kumar.

ASKWHO

UAE-based social media app ASKWHO has raised a $1 million in a seed round led by unnamed angel investors.

Founded in 2019 and launched in October 2021 by Michael Askew and Matthew Gaziano, ASKWHO aims to help users make friends with like-minded individuals and create a more connected community. Users are invited to join localised group discussion pages that focus on particular interests such as fitness, outdoors, art, lifestyle, travel and wellness within a certain city.

The startup said in a press release it plans to use the new money to grow its business.

Aman Malik

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