Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money
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Updated 28 November 2021

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

Startup of the Week: Wafeer — helping Saudis spend wisely and save money

JEDDAH: Personal finance app Wafeer is the only service in Saudi Arabia that automatically tracks user’s spending patterns in a bid to help them stick to budgets.
The fintech company was founded by Salah Al-Bassam, Ahmad Ramadan and Abdulaziz Al-Jasser in 2019.
Each founder brings their own skills to the firm — Al-Bassam is an investment professional, Ramadan specialized in tech, while Al-Jasser is an engineer.
“We believe this was the formula that made Wafeer what it is right now, the broad and diverse experience that each founder brings to the table and of course our value add investors,” Al-Bassam told Arab News.
In March, Wafeer raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-seed funding round led by Nama Ventures, with participation from RAI group, WomenSpark, and several angel investors.
At the time, Nama Venture’s general partner Mohammed Alzubi said: “We first met the Wafeer team in August of 2020. The first thing that stood out for us was how complementary was the skillsets of the team, with real role clarity from the get go.”
Al-Bassam explains that its software automatically updates expenses that are paid through the app, rather than needing manual entry.
“Beyond tracking user’s expenses, Wafeer offers personalized advice using artificial intelligence helping users get notified before overspending and gives them recommendations that help cut spending or create wiggle room,” Al-Bassam said.
He added the Saudi Vision 2030 growth initiative highlights the importance of creating more awareness of spending, savings and investment through its Financial Sector Development Program.
Al-Bassam said: “It is one of the Vision's realization programs. This program has several goals, the most important of which are achieving financial diversity, stability, and promoting the culture of saving.
“Our goal at Wafeer is to play a role in achieving these objectives with the aim of answering this ongoing question that arises at the end of each month: What did I spend my salary on?”
Wafeer has 82,000 active users in its platform, who have notched up almost 1 million transactions.
The startup has partnered up with big companies in the region, such as online marketplace Noon and Saudi fast food app Hungerstation to provide special offers to customers.
Al-Bassam said: “We are proud of our partnerships, we have signed a number of strategic partnerships, most recently with Noon and Hungerstation to provide Wafeer users with exclusive discounts and offers that match their spending behavior.”
Wafeer currently only operates in the Kingdom, but has plans to extend its services to other Middle Eastern and North African countries.


Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom
Updated 17 sec ago

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

RIYADH: Saudi-listed National Petrochemical Co., better known as Petrochem, saw its profits surge almost fivefold in 2021.

As the Kingdom’s chemical sector grew, profits of the homegrown firm hit SR1.4 billion ($370 million), compared to SR230 million a year earlier.

The company attributed the hike in profits to higher product prices and drops in Zakat expenses, according to a bourse filing.

On a wider scale, data by Gastat earlier showed that outgoing chemical shipments picked up pace significantly, prompting Saudi non-oil exports growth to hit an annual rate of 26.1 percent in November.

Established in 2008, Petrochem operates in the Kingdom’s petrochemical sector. It owns 65 percent of Saudi Polymer Co., located in Jubail Industrial City.

 


Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 
Updated 14 min 43 sec ago

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

RIYADH: Oman-based International Emerging Technologies Co. signed an agreement with the US-based Virgin Orbit to prepare satellite launch platforms in Oman.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has supported the agreement to reinforce the Sultanate’s interest in the space science sector and related logistics services, it said in a statement. 

As per the agreement, the establishment of satellites in low Earth orbit will be studied to conduct scientific research, capture high-resolution images of space, and use the latest solutions to digitally analyse data and images collected from orbit.

The partnership will empower local talents and open investment opportunities for universities through academic exchange programs, according to the statement. 

This happens as Oman seeks to accelerate the space industry in the Sultanate. 


Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report
Updated 21 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is poised to take a leading role in the gaming and Esports industry as consumption is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030, up from $959 million in 2020, according to a Boston Consulting Group report.

The report expected an average annual compounded growth rate of 22 percent for the Saudi gaming consumption.

“Despite the Kingdom being a relatively recent entrant to this space, the industry is vibrant and fast-growing, nevertheless,” Povilas Joniskis, a partner at BCG, said.

“Passionate gamers are primarily powering its growth and popularity at present, and it is more than feasible for them to embark on full-time careers and become involved on the international stage,” he added.

Saudi Arabia accommodates 23.5 million gaming enthusiasts, amounting to 67 percent of the national population, the report showed.

Despite the growth potential of the Kingdom, challenges await due to the landscape being in an early development stage compared to other international markets.

The report also revealed that lack of funding to compete full-time, scarcity of local competition, no clear pathway for gamers to become professional, and social stigma associated with choosing a career in gaming and Esports, constitute key barriers to the industry.


Saudi NEOM, Jordan seeks cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seeks cooperation to run projects across vital sectors
Updated 13 min 1 sec ago

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seeks cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seeks cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

The Saudi Arabian planned city NEOM is seeking cooperation with Jordan to propel the advancement of economically feasible projects across vital sectors, the Jordanian agency Petra reported, citing a statement following a visit by NEOM Co.'s CEO Nahdmi Al-Nasr to Jordan's Prime Minister.

Under the terms of the collaboration, both parties will work side by side to establish projects and partnerships that could potentially benefit both sides across crucial and strategic sectors, especially the energy and water desalination sectors on the Red Sea.

This will follow further research from the concerned ministers in Saudi Arabia and Jordan along with officials of NEOM regarding the scope and economic feasibility of the projects.

Established in 2019 and owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, NEOM Co. aims to develop the relevant area residing northwest of the Kingdom.  


Saudi bourse extends gains as oil rally continues: Closing bell

Saudi bourse extends gains as oil rally continues: Closing bell
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 46 min 15 sec ago

Saudi bourse extends gains as oil rally continues: Closing bell

Saudi bourse extends gains as oil rally continues: Closing bell

RIYADH: The Saudi stock exchange extended gains today, as investors reacted to a strong rebound in the energy market.

Brent crude oil surpassed $89 per barrel, and US benchmark WTI crude oil rose to $86.2 per barrel as of 3:20 p.m. Saudi time.

At the closing bell, the main index TASI registered gains standing at 0.6 percent, reaching 12,183 points, with Banque Saudi Fransi hitting its highest value since 2008 of SR51 ($13.6).

The parallel market Nomu inched up by 0.5 percent to close at 25,688 points.

Saudi oil giant Aramco awarded a SR268 million contract to Arabian Pipes Co. to provide steel pipes. Shares in the latter added 0.35 percent in response to the transaction, while Aramco gained 0.8 percent.

One of the Kingdom’s largest valued banks, Al Rajhi Bank edged 0.7 higher, and Alinma Bank added 0.4 percent amid trading of almost 9 million shares.

Shares in Saudi Automotive Services Co., known as SASCO, soared nearly 10 percent, leading the gainers.

SASCO had earlier acquired 80 percent of gas station operator NAFT Services Limited Co. for SR1.1 billion.

Advanced Petrochemical recorded gains at 2.9 percent after its board recommended boosting capital to SR2.6 billion in expansion push.

Saudi Research and Media Group, or SRMG, was among the stocks hitting record highs, as its share price soared to SR147.

Shares in telecommunication firm Etihad Atheeb led the fallers, down approximately 10 percent.