Teen NeoBank Zywa raises $1M Pre-SEED

A young team with big aspirations, the UAE-based FinTech Zywa raises $1M in Pre-SEED backed by global enabler Y Combinator to deliver the next generation of FinTech catering for Web 3.0, NFT, and the future of FinTech. 

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Not very often do we cover a “GenZ for GenZ” market proposition, so we’re excited about this one. Dubai-based FinTech and Teen-centric NeoBank Zywa raises $1M in its latest funding round. Being part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2022 batch (YC W22) that kicked off early this year, the Pre-SEED round was led by Y Combinator with the participation of global and regional investors including executives from Google, Amazon, Netflix, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, as well as regional bankers and entrepreneurs.

Founded in 2021 by young entrepreneurs Alok Kumar and Nuha Hashem, Zywa is bringing a unique solution to the region by offering a social banking app and a payment card to Gen Zs between the age of 11-21 years old. Growing up as teenagers in the GCC region, the young founders personally felt the pain point of using cash while growing up and took it upon themselves to enable Gen Z in the region to go cashless. The startup is building a solution for Gen Z and has already assembled a founding team of Gen Zs and young Millennials.

From the looks of it, the VC ecosystem in Emerging Venture Markets has set its focus on Web 3.0, blockchain, and the next generation of FinTech in 2022. Both Basel Moftah of Global Ventures, who shared his 8 predictions for MENA earlier this year, and Rabih Khoury from MEVP who gave us an exclusive breakdown of the most critical trends to look out for in 2022, have Web 3.0 and the future of FinTech in their crosshairs. As recorded in our State of Startup Funding- 2022 Emerging Venture Markets Free Report, FinTech was the industry of choice across Emerging Venture Markets, observing 550% YoY growth in VC funding over 2021. In that regard, we’ve seen many progressive FinTech ventures coming out of the region and including UAE-based NFT, Peer-to-peer and GameFi Zone as well as Dine-In instant bill settlement disruptor Qlub raising major rounds this year. 


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Dubai, being one of the leading MENA hubs of FinTech and next-generation technologies is the perfect market for ventures such as Zywa. The young team with much promise is not only cracking a market opportunity that hits close to home but is also betting on the potential of their target segment. “Gen Z will be the most active segment in the workforce during the next decade, and our vision is to build a platform that will not only help them go cashless but also facilitate their interaction with Web 3.0. It is quite humbling to be a part of Y Combinator and we are excited that Zywa is among the very few companies that are selected globally. We believe Y Combinator’s mentorship, extensive network, and access to strategic global capital will be a catalyst to propel us towards our vision at a faster pace,” stated Alok Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of Zywa.

The team has already secured strategic partnerships in Egypt and the UAE, and the app is already available on the App Store where teens and parents are able to join the waitlist. With eyes set on the region, and a sturdy capital backing, Zywa is planning to launch in Egypt and the UAE soon and prepping to go live in Saudi Arabia by 2023. Nuha Hashem, co-founder and CTO of Zywa concluded with big visions for the team, “When we started in 2021, our priority was to build a solution that is tailored for teens and their parents in the region. We assembled an in-house tech team and developed a product that is available in both English and Arabic, free of cost, and can reinforce teens’ financial literacy through a learning-by-doing approach. It also gives them a social space to interact with their peers, earn rewards, and even rack up collectible NFTs on the side. Parents can also track their kids’ spending and saving behavior, have complete oversight and transfer money instantly to their kids. Through Y Combinator’s vast resources as well as a world-class network of experts, we are confident that we can build and scale the product to something that Gen Zs all over the region will love.” 

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