UAE-based FinTech and multi-currency spend management solution provider Alaan is officially in the market following its $2.5M SEED round. With a seamless platform and a Cards-as-a-Service (CaaS) proposition, the startup is set to optimize and facilitate corporate spend in the ME.
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UAE-based FinTech and corporate spend-management platform Alaan announced it is coming out of stealth mode with an imminent launch after raising $2.5M in its latest funding round. The SEED round was led by 468 Capital, Global Founders Capital, and Presight Capital with participation from a number of angel investors including Mato Peric, Erik Podzuweit, and Florian Prucker, founders of Scalable Capital as well as Philippe Teixeira da Mota, founder of Hedosophia.
Founded in 2021 by ex-McKinsey employees, Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien, Alaan aims to transform the processing of business expenses through its platform that provides employees with corporate cards to make company purchases and automatically reconciles spending in real-time. The startup is positioned as the Middle East's pioneering multi-currency spend management platform enabling SMEs to spend through corporate cards and automated invoice payments.
Observed in our FinTech 2022 Venture Investment Report, Many milestones were achieved by FinTech startups across the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey as funding grew by 550% YoY and total transactions recorded an almost 60% increase. Surely the 5 FinTech Mega Deals closed in Africa were core drivers in crossing the $2Bn mark in funds, yet a deeper dive into the data we find that FinTech growth was prevalent in all key regions. Over in MENA, while the UAE reigned as the leading FinTech hub both in number of deals and VC investment deployed in the sector, Saudi Arabia and Egypt made great strides in the past year to catch up. Driving the almost 200% YoY growth in funding backing the sector in 2021, MENA’s top 3 geographies accounted for more than 80% of all capital deployed in the sector. The region’s top 5 funding rounds closed by Tabby, BitOasis, Rasan Information Technology, Expensya, and Dopay- accounting for north of 40% of capital deployed in the sector, attracted investments from global players like MSA Capital (China), Delivery Hero (Germany), Jump Capital (US), and Force Over Mass (UK). While FinTech B2B SaaS solutions gained popularity in 2021, with startups like Tabby or SimpliFi raising sizable investments, the corporate spend and corporate FinTech SaaS solutions category really took of in MENA over 2022. Only 2 months into the first quarter of the year and we've seen remarkable investments in CaaS (Cards-as-a-Service) solutions and specialized corporate spending services like UAE-based Qashio and Pluto, and more general digital payment alternatives and Bespoke FinTech solution providers like KSA-based EdfaPay and UAE-based digital wallet provider HubPay.
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Alaan instantly issues virtual cards in multiple currencies including AED, SAR, and USD for e-commerce transactions, SaaS subscriptions, vendor payments, or in-store purchases. The platform also eliminates expense reports and automates bookkeeping tasks via seamless integration with various accounting solution providers. Commenting on the imminent launch, Parthi Duraisamy, CEO and Co-Founder of Alaan said, “At Alaan, our vision is to offer SMEs and entrepreneurs an innovative platform to manage company spend, be it through card rails or account-to-account rails. In markets such as the UAE, over 80% of consumer payments are digital. But when it comes to business payments, we haven’t seen the substantial transformation, and the old world of offline payments still rules. This is where Alaan comes in. We enable businesses to manage expenses smartly, seamlessly, and digitize their payment flow.”
Alaan has partnered with multiple issuers in several countries across the region to be able to issue corporate cards and open banking players for seamless invoice payments. While in stealth mode over the last 6 months, Alaan built the product and finalized partnerships with regulated financial institutions to enable product launch. Karun Kurien, Co-founder and Head of Product & Technology of Alaan added: “We are extremely proud of the product we have built and would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners for joining us in this journey to help transform SMEs in the region. We founded Alaan after experiencing first-hand the frustrating expense and invoice management processes. We have solved critical pain points in the end-to-end payment flow by building a software layer on top of the regulated banking infrastructure.”
Alaan is headquartered in Dubai and will use the new funding to expand its headcount and scale in multiple markets across the Middle East. Ludwig Ensthaler, General Partner at 468 Capital concluded, “Every company in the region uses different tools for payments, with finance teams spending hours working on manual tasks. Although more than 97% of all business entities in the Middle East are SMEs, they are largely underserved by traditional financial institutions. We were impressed by Parthi and Karun’s vision to help SMEs in the region digitize their payment flow using an exceptional platform that we believe is set to revolutionize spend management.”
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