Saudi fintech Lean Technologies raises $33 million latest funding round

Saudi fintech Lean Technologies raises $33 million latest funding round
The investment happens in the background of a burgeoning regional financial ecosystem, characterized by fintech sandboxes and forward-thinking regulations. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 January 2022

Saudi fintech Lean Technologies raises $33 million latest funding round

Saudi fintech Lean Technologies raises $33 million latest funding round
  • The proprietary technology is used by a number of financial players in the region, across different verticals

RIYADH: Saudi financial technology startup Lean Technologies has raised $33 million in its series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. 

The startup provides a platform that allows its clients to integrate with their customer's bank accounts to retrieve relevant information or initiate bank transfers. 

The proprietary technology is used by a number of financial players in the region, across different verticals including remittances, cryptocurrency, and investment, the company said in a statement. 

“We started Lean with the aim of enabling the next generation of financial innovation in the Middle East, a mission deep-rooted in the hearts of our entire team,” Hisham Al-Falih, co-founder and CEO of Lean, said. 

The investment happens in the background of a burgeoning regional financial ecosystem, characterized by fintech sandboxes and forward-thinking regulations. 

Lean aims to be the first Saudi aggregator to “enable the booming sector within the Kingdom,” which it ties back to the ambitious 2030 vision that includes financial objectives. 


Saudi tourism ministry signs deals to boost localization program

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi tourism ministry signs deals to boost localization program

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism has signed two agreements to enhance joint cooperation and support training and localization programs to qualify those wishing to work in the hospitality sector.
The move, which aims to support workers in the food, beverage and accommodation sectors, in support of achieving the Kingdom’s’ tourism human capacity development strategy.
Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Safir, director general of training and localization at the ministry, stressed that these two agreements aim to develop human resources in the tourism sector through quality training programs that will contribute to developing localized skills in the tourism sector.
Under the two agreements, which were signed with Kempinski Al-Othman Hotel and Carlton Al-Moaibed Hotel, the ministry will support dualifying Saudi nationals in the tourism sector within the “Your Future has Arrived” initiative.


Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO
Updated 19 May 2022

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

DUBAI: Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, said that startup businesses are an excellent opportunity for investment in venture capital funds and microfinance banks.

During an interview with Arab News at the Top CEO event in Dubai, Khammas Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, highlighted that startups are a good investment idea because the “ticket size is smaller, and the product ranges are higher.”

Khammas pointed out the risks that arise for startups are not in their early stages but rather when they become successful.

“The challenge is not when they’re trying to have a major impact on the economy; the problems occur when they become successful. All of those are calculated risks,” he said.

Khammas continued to add that regardless of these risks, investing in new, innovative startups is “absolutely the best opportunity.”

Also, during his talk at the event, Khammas  urged banks to fund new and innovative products and ideas in the area after he shed light on how banks are hesitant to invest in creative ideas.


Futurist says ‘virtual economies are already worth $130bn'

Futurist says ‘virtual economies are already worth $130bn'
Updated 19 May 2022

Futurist says ‘virtual economies are already worth $130bn'

Futurist says ‘virtual economies are already worth $130bn'
  • Investing in video games more rewarding than Metaverse: Raford

DUBAI: Even though the business world is increasingly fascinated by the Metaverse, Noah Raford, futurist-in-chief and chief of Global Affairs at Dubai Future Foundation, claimed games, Web3 and virtual economies is where the smart money is.

While speaking at the Top CEO event in Dubai, Raford argued that people should invest in video games, as it is the only successful digital economy so far.
In a statement to Arab News a day after the event, he said: “The metaverse has extraordinary potential and Dubai is moving rapidly to take advantage of it. Virtual assets and digital economies are a huge growth area. There is a lot of hype and wasted investment, but the best examples at the moment are video games and in-game virtual economies – especially connected to NFTs & Web3.”
Fady Kassatly, partner of Enterprise Solutions and Cloud, KPMG, said the Metaverse is nothing but the next evolution, which will make people live differently.

He also added the Metaverse is going to evolve quickly in different directions, and this is just the beginning of the journey.

On his part, Philippe Blanchard, founder of Futurous, stated the Metaverse will change the relationship between humans and nature.

Predicting an inevitable Metaverse future, Valerie Hawley, director of Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence, said every business will look at the Metaverse space and consider using it in the coming years.

She also added the Metaverse is a projection of the world that humans would like to live in.


Egypt’s central bank, citing inflation, hikes interest rates 200 bps

Egypt’s central bank, citing inflation, hikes interest rates 200 bps
Updated 19 May 2022

Egypt’s central bank, citing inflation, hikes interest rates 200 bps

Egypt’s central bank, citing inflation, hikes interest rates 200 bps

CAIRO: The Central Bank of Egypt on Thursday raised its overnight interest rates by 200 basis points, seeking to contain inflation expectations after prices soared by their quickest in three years.

The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee increased the deposit rate to 11.25 percent from 9.25 percent and the lending rate to 12.25 percent from 10.25 percent, it said in a statement accompanying the decision.

It cited an increase in annual urban inflation to 13.1 percent in April from 10.5 percent in March, its highest since May 2019.

Prices were pushed up in part by a currency depreciation and higher wheat prices after the Ukraine crisis, the statement added.

“The MPC decided that raising policy rates is necessary to contain inflationary pressures which is consistent with achieving price stability over the medium term,” it said.

“The elevated annual headline inflation rate will be temporarily tolerated relative to the CBE’s pre-announced target” of between 5 percent and 9 percent before declining after the fourth quarter, it said.

Eighteen analysts polled by Reuters had expected the bank to raise the median deposit rate to 11 percent and its lending rate to 12.25 percent.


Eight injured in S. Korea’s S-Oil Ulsan refinery

Eight injured in S. Korea’s S-Oil Ulsan refinery
Updated 19 May 2022

Eight injured in S. Korea’s S-Oil Ulsan refinery

Eight injured in S. Korea’s S-Oil Ulsan refinery
  • Aramco Overseas Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is S-Oil’s major shareholder

RIYADH: At least eight workers were injured in an explosion at an S-Oil refinery in Ulsan on Thursday, reported The Korean Herald.

Aramco Overseas Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is S-Oil’s major shareholder. According to the local media, firefighters were notified of an explosion at the S-Oil refinery at 8:52 p.m. The facility is situated some 400 km southeast of Seoul.

The injured workers were shifted to a nearby hospital. The exact cause of the accident has yet to be determined. The Korean Herald quoted fire authorities as saying “the accident occurred inside S-Oil’s refinery at Onsan industrial park while crude oil was being processed into petroleum.”

The injured workers who were transferred to the hospital are being treated for second-degree burns to the face and the palms, according to authorities. S-Oil is the third-largest oil refiner in Korea.

The firefighters at the refinery appeared to be having trouble fighting the blaze, according to local reports.