Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license

Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license
Esam Al-Nahdi Founder and CEO of Halalah
Short Url
Updated 24 March 2020

Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license

Halalah secures SAMA’s fintech license

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) announced last week that Halalah has successfully attained the full e-money institution license (EMI) in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-based fintech company has been operating in the local market previously under a sandbox trial period license. Halalah managed to “graduate” from the trial period ahead of schedule after complying with all regulatory requirements that focused on the maturity of product, the structure of the company, the agility of its processes and the security of its infrastructure.
“Halalah is not your typical startup, as it has gone through a long journey in a short period of time to reach where it is today,” said Founder and CEO Esam Al-Nahdi. Starting in Saudi Arabia with clear ambitions for the regional fintech market, the company got licensed in UAE in 2017 by the FSRA’s Fintech RegLab in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), before coming back to Saudi Arabia to get SAMA’s sandbox approval in the first quarter of 2018, to kick-start its operations in November 2018.
“Throughout 2019, Halalah managed to institutionalize its operating model, and build a robust infrastructure and product engine, as well as striking a few strategic partnerships that will cater to the needs of the new generation of customers and putting the company in the right position to achieve its local, regional and global plans,” added Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Maher Loubieh.
With the full license now obtained, “the next milestone in Saudi Arabia is to relaunch Halalah KSA with a new set of financial services and products that will enable customers to manage their finances and do transactions through Halalah,” said Al-Nahdi.


‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

Updated 03 December 2020

‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

‘KAUST Challenge’ seeks tech ideas for Hajj & Umrah

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has launched a new campaign to catalyze research, innovation, economic development and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia through new crowdsourcing initiatives that challenge local and international talents to identify ideas and solutions that advance the Kingdom’s national priorities and support Vision 2030. With the “KAUST Challenge,” the university is seeking to develop and support bold science, technology, and engineering initiatives that aim to transform the lives of Saudis and develop Saudi talents.

“We wish to draw on the participative power of crowdsourcing to solve problems faced in the Kingdom and the world with the KAUST Challenge,” said Najah Ashry, vice president for strategic national advancement at KAUST. “The speed, flexibility and scalability of crowdsourcing will bring us new science-based ideas and solutions that can be further developed through deep collaboration with players in the Kingdom’s research-development-innovation ecosystem.”

The focus of the inaugural 2020 edition of the KAUST Challenge is on improving the Hajj and Umrah experience for pilgrims from all over the world and on advancing efforts to make Makkah a smart city. The KAUST Challenge will play an active role in advancing one of the Kingdom’s national priorities of better serving the increasing number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and improving their experiences in the two holy cities. It will identify and support science- and technology-based ideas and solutions that can move quickly into the market for SR1 million ($266,000) in cash and other prizes. The challenge spans three themes: Healthcare, to increase preventative measures to ensure health and well-being for all pilgrims, a concern augmented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; mobility to ensure adequate availability and access to public and private transportation; and crowd management, to enhance infrastructure to meet capacity requirements for large crowds.

To gather valuable inputs from this challenge, KAUST is targeting a wide group of national and international participants to submit their ideas and solutions, including startups (growth stage startups or scaleups with solutions proven by the market), innovators (seed startups and IP-holders with ideas or solutions yet to be fully market tasted), and general public (students, academics, entrepreneurs and individuals in society).

“Advances in high technology can assist in solving the challenges that Hajj and Umrah pilgrims face. We know that people here in Saudi Arabia and across the world have great solutions to contribute,” said Ashry. “We are excited to receive their submissions and to offer our neighbors in Makkah creative and unique ideas that we hope will serve all pilgrims.

Submission to the KAUST Challenge is now open and will run until Jan. 5, 2021 with a virtual final event that will take place on an immersive platform at the end of February 2021, where the three best ideas, one for each theme, will be selected by a panel of qualified judges and one grand prize will be awarded.