Wamda has invested in Saudi Arabia-based fintech Hala, participating in its $6.5 million Series A round. Other investors in the round included Impact46 and other strategic investors.
Launched in 2018, Hala (formerly known as Halalah) offers a complete payment and wallet solution for both individuals and merchants and aspires to be the future bank of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is one of the first fintech startups to obtain the full SAMA licence and now plans to expand its offering regionally.
“We have been focusing on both individuals and businesses at the beginning. Recently, we've made a major pivot by focusing our efforts and services on SMEs, providing them with a consolidated comprehensive payment infrastructure that will allow them to accept payments digitally from any type of card. Ultimately, our vision is to become the future Bank of SMEs in the region,” said Maher Loubieh, chief strategy officer at Hala.
The startup has recently been focusing on services enabling merchants to consolidate their in-bound and out-bound payment needs in one comprehensive platform. It offers merchants a point-of-sale (POS) device, Visa or Mada card, an IBAN and simple app to give them instant visibility on their transactions as well as enabling them to conduct multiple financial transactions including settling vendor and supplier payments.
“Our priority now is to keep on growing, innovating in the Saudi market and increasing our market share,” added Loubieh, adding that Hala is in discussions with multiple central banks in the region to expand its services to further markets, like Egypt, North Africa and Iraq.
“Hala stands out as one of the first regulated fintech companies in Saudi Arabia, building modern banking services for consumers and merchants, and helping thousands of small businesses stay on top of their finances. We strongly believe in the team and their ability to make everyday business easier in respect to banking, accounting, and financial management,” said Daniel Dos Reis, investment director at Wamda.
Hala is continuously working on initiatives to expand its spectrum of services to include other financial and non-financial services that can support its customers in growing their business; as such, Hala succeeded in 2020 to acquire on of the most prominent local companies that provide value-added services for merchants including cashier systems, inventory management tools, accounting and tax reporting and as well as supplier management platform, among others.
“The fintech sector is continuously evolving. Hala, one of the first fintech solutions licensed by the Saudi Central Bank, has played a vital role in promoting the growth of this industry in the region. With the digitisation of financial solutions, Hala is taking part in facilitating B2C financial transactions, the platform also continues to take advantage of the promising opportunities in this sector, to achieve rapid growth on a larger scale,” said Abdulaziz Al-Omran, founder of Impact46