Digital banking app YAP secures US$40mn in seed funding

UAE-based digital banking app YAP has raised more than US$40mn in seed funding and is reportedly targeting US$20mn more as it prepares for expansion.

Digital banking provider YAP has raised more than US$40mn in a seed funding round as it prepares to broaden availability of its mobile app.

The UAE-based company is reportedly targeting another US$20mn in financing and has already revealed its ambitions to be present in five countries by 2023 – including Pakistan, Ghana, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It has received investment from Aljazira Capital, Abu Dawood Group, Astra Group and Audacia Capital.

The startup has already begun obtaining the relevant licences to operate in its target markets, partnering with the likes of the State Bank of Pakistan and Bank AlJazira. It could be in a position to launch its Series A round by the end of the year, with a view to rollout next year.

Ambitious plans for expansion beginning early next year

At Seamless Middle East 2022, YAP Founder and CEO Marwan Hachem was quoted as saying: “We’ve been building YAP for the last three years, investing massively in our team and in the marketing. We’re already live in the UAE… We just got our IPA [in-principle approval] from State Bank of Pakistan, we got Central Bank approval in Ghana.

“By Q1 2023 we will be live in five countries – UAE, Pakistan, Ghana, Egypt and KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia]. We have a full product stack which we are building which will be an impressive roadmap for the next 12 months.”

The startup has the ambition to be the leading digital banking platform in the Middle East, Africa and other emerging markets. Backed by Rakbank, its app is designed to remove financial barriers and make transactions and money transfers more seamless.

The platform allows consumers to pay bills, review their invoices and transactions, and monitor their spending from within the app. YAP has also been working on new features which integrate into the app, allowing users to add accounts for their children to teach them about financial literacy or for other members of their household.

It could be particularly useful for domestic staff looking to send money back home. According to figures from the government of Pakistan, there are more than 1.5mn Pakistani workers living in the UAE, making them the second largest foreign group behind Indian nationals. Many overseas workers in the country are employed in domestic service. An app like YAP could make it easier for homeowners to pay domestic helpers on time and give them the ability to transfer money to relatives in other countries.

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