Why we invested in MNT-Halan
by Riyad Abou Jaoudeh RiadAJ
Last week, our portfolio company MNT-Halan announced a $120M round led by UK-based Apis Partners with participation from several investors including MEVP. We are excited to share why we believe MNT-Halan is building Egypt’s fintech platform for tens of millions of unbanked and under-served and in doing so improving their lives and empowering them. According to the World Bank, financial inclusion is a key enabler for reducing poverty and boosting prosperity. With the model being easily replicable in other emerging markets across Africa and Asia, MNT-Halan will enable access to financial services and help more people accumulate savings, increase consumer spending, and in turn drive greater economic growth.
MEVP was introduced to Halan in 2018 during the RiseUp Summit and we were immediately drawn to the company’s potential because of its experienced founders, strong tech team, great traction, and more importantly its scalable business model and market reach. At MEVP we are strong believers that technology in emerging markets removes barriers and gives everyone access to services that improve lives. Examples of this are abundant in MENA:
- Access to better transportation e.g. Careem and Bykea (bike hailing)
- Access to financial services such as cards and saving accounts e.g. Xare (Banking for migrants)
- Access to loans or salary advances to make ends meet or pay a child’s tuition e.g. Khazna with salary advances
- Access to music and podcast e.g. Anghami
At the time Halan, was focusing on ride-hailing and delivery using motorcycles and 3 wheelers. While Uber and Careem target segments of the Egyptian population that can afford an air-conditioned car, Halan provided fast and affordable transportation and delivery services to the largest segment of the population in tens of cities and villages across the country. Their proprietary technology was developed in-house to help them scale their offering seamlessly. Over time, we were impressed with their ability to execute their vision of launching new verticals that have better unit economics such as lending, payments, and e-commerce. When Halan opened its $15M round in 2019 we decided to co-lead it along with Algebra Ventures.
As life slowed down during the pandemic the company leveraged its 90 engineers to develop new features and services: Halan Neuron, a loan management and payment processing engine was launched; the mobile application was revamped for customers to apply for a loan and receive it on their wallet; Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) was launched for in-app E-commerce purchases.
Halan’s improved offering created a fully-fledged Financial Ecosystem targeting the biggest segment of the population, overlooked by other providers.
In mid-2021 Halan merged with MNT, Egypt’s largest lender to the unbanked, to create MNT-Halan. The merger marries MNT’s customer base and loan book with Halan’s technology, to create Egypt’s financial services super-app.
The combined entity has an “unfair advantage” compared to others:
- Robust technology platform & team
- Established brand and large app user base, with nationwide coverage
- Strong upselling / cross selling opportunities for new consumer finance segments
- Licensed digital wallet and payments license
MEVP sees in this ecosystem a huge potential to supercharge the “tech as access” thesis:
- Offer BNPL solutions to this segment and the B2B segment
- Allow customers to do e-commerce with financing and delivery
- Approve loans instantly on its app (micro and nano loans) with AI and machine learning algorithms
- Wallet payments and transfers for consumers with a strong network effect
- Business loan disbursement, collection, bill payments, money transfer, remittances on E-wallet
- Business payments and working capital loans
- Geographic expansion across emerging markets in both Africa and Asia
As MNT-Halan’s CEO Mounir Nakhla noted, “MNT-Halan will be the leading player digitizing the unbanked and bringing financial services to millions of underserved customers in the region.” We believe MNT-Halan is on a strong growth trajectory and is on the right track to become the newest African Fintech IPO.
For more information, please reach out to Riyad Abou Jaoudeh on email@example.com