Exclusive Q&A With Hosam Arab, Founder & CEO of Tabby

Tabby is a FinTech startup providing consumers across the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the flexibility to pay for their online and offline purchases either in a deferred single payment or in multiple installments. Recently, the company announced a successful seed fundraise worth $2M, and MAGNiTT caught up with Tabby's Founder & CEO, Hosam Arab

1) Tell us briefly about Tabby. In layman's terms, how exactly does it work?

Tabby will appear as an additional payment option on the checkout of ecommerce retailers. When customers select Tabby as their mode of payment, they are asked to scan their Emirates ID which allows Tabby to perform risk checks on the customer. If approved, the customer is able to complete their purchase and pay for their order either 14 days after receiving it or in monthly installments. The retailer is paid immediately.

2) After co-founding Namshi, why did you decide to start this company in particular?  

Namshi really paved the way for the recent wave of online retail in the region. While we witnessed the rapid shift in consumer demand towards digital, consumer preference for cash barely changed over the 7 years. I strongly believe that cash is a serious impediment to the next phase of online growth and as such, I feel that it is a problem worth attention. 

3) What were you looking for from your investors, beyond capital?

Tabby is looking to solve a very complex problem and as such, it was important that our investors had a deep understanding of the space. Our investors have made investments in similar businesses in other geographies and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Moreover, knowledge and contacts within the retail, financial and regulatory ecosystem in the region was key for us. 

4) What's something or someone that really helped you fundraising? 

I'm grateful for the network I managed to build and maintain during my time at Namshi. This has helped immensely during our fundraising and our go-to-market. 

5) What are your biggest challenges to scale?

Data on consumers in the region is still somewhat limited and may limit our ability in comfortably underwriting risk. This is a problem we also hope to address as we scale. 

6) How do you plan to use this investment? 

First and foremost, this investment will help us scale our technology in order to more seamlessly integrate with online and offline retail partners across the region. 

7) What merchants can we expect to use Tabby’s buy now, pay later option with? 

We will start working with fashion retailers first as fashion has been one of the more competitive online verticals of late, and it is one that is dear to my heart. We are also in discussions with online and offline merchants selling household appliances, groceries and services who are all either looking for effective ways to grow their sales and baskets without having to resort to discounting or to shift their customers away from COD.