India’s Cashfree Payments invests $15M in UAE-based Telr

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India’s leading payments and API banking solutions company, Cashfree Payments (Cashfree) announced an equity investment of $1M in UAE-based payment service provider (PSP) Telr operating across the UAE and KSA. With this investment, Cashfree becomes one of the largest shareholders in the company.

Cashfree has established itself as one of the leaders in the payment solutions space in India, with successful operationalization and scale-ups of industry-first solutions. This power partnership expands their MENA market with Telr, the UAE-based award-winning payment gateway solutions provider, offering a unique platform that enables payment handling in over 120 currencies and 30 languages in the highest level of security. Through a single integration, Telr grants access to every payment method it offers, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UnionPay, Apple Pay, PayPal, SADAD, Mada, and STCPay.

We noted an exponential funding growth in the MENA FinTech space this year, with the sector observing 169% YoY growth in capital deployed by the third quarter of the year as recorded in our Q3 2021 EVM FinTech Venture Investment Report. A more remarkable feat signifying the high maturity of the FinTech and digital commerce space in MENA, however, is horizontal and cross-market acquisitions such as this one. On the FinTech front, Egypt-based Fawry has recorded equity investments in Sudan-based as well as local E-commerce startups Brimore and elmenus, and US-based cloud computing platform Cloud Kair acquiring UAE-based InsureTech Sehteq. Horizontal and Vertical acquisitions in E-commerce have also been recorded, with startups like Morocco-based acquiring its local counterpart, and KSA-based gift marketplace Resal acquiring local loyalty program solutions provider Boonus


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With its one-stop mindset, Telr extended its services even further, offering a complete solution for the E-commerce world, covering a wide range of financial and business services including, social commerce, QR Codes, digital invoicing, Telr Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) in collaboration with Tabby, Telr Finance in collaboration with LNNDO, a merchant financing program, and Telr Shops the easy-to-use tool for creating an online store in minutes. Khalil Alami, CEO and Founder, Telr said, “We are excited about this new investment into Telr. Joining forces with Cashfree Payments will further enable us to continue on our innovation and growth journey. Our offerings and partnerships aim to assist in reaching an integrated e-commerce ecosystem supporting the UAE in its transition into a cashless economy; and contributing to the KSA vision 2030. In short, this combined effort will translate into greater benefits for our customers and the markets we operate in.”

The investment is highly significant for Cashfree as the MENA region offers a large, attractive, and growing online market, with payments representing the highly developed sub-sector within the region’s fintech space. The MENA region is witnessing a continuous transition towards cashless transactions, with traditional brick-and-mortar businesses moving towards expanding online offerings. The e-commerce businesses are also witnessing a drastic shift from high street to online shopping and this trend is expected to grow even more. Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-Founder, Cashfree Payments commented, "We are elated the strategic investment in Telr, which aligns well with our aspiration to be the leader in the rapidly evolving digital payments space in the MENA region and overall global expansion goals. Telr’s trusted presence and significant operations in the MENA region provides us an exciting opportunity. We are grateful to our key institutional investor Apis for helping us source and execute this strategic investment. We look forward to nurturing our partnership with Telr by leveraging our learnings and experience from the Indian market and enhancing our reach in the MEAN region by introducing novel offerings.”


With over 50% market share among payment processors, Cashfree today leads the way in bulk disbursals in India with Cashfree PayoutsThis strategic investment in Telr, will enable the company to launch its distinctive offerings in the MENA region utilizing Telr’s strong presence and payment infrastructure. In addition, Cashfree and Telr aim to develop a unified cross-border payments platform that would help Indian merchants accept payments from customers in the MENA region and vice-versa, via a single integration. Khaldoon Tabaza, Founder and Managing Director of investment, iMENA said,”We invested in Telr and saw a natural winner and now with the Cashfree Payments partnership, a new payments super-hero is born to conquer new horizons.”

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