MNT-Halan, the Cairo-based fintech startup digitizing traditional banking and cash-based markets, has raised $120 million to improve its product and expand globally.
The investment round, which is the largest investment ever secured by an Egyptian tech startup, was led by Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International (DPI), and Lorax Capital Partners. Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst, and Disruptech also participated in the round.
MNT-Halan is the product of a merger/acquisition between two companies: MNT and Halan Inc. Earlier this year, MNT completed a share swap to take over fintech company Halan Inc. to create MNT-Halan.
In 2017, Mounir Nakhla, an Egyptian businessman and serial tech startup founder, founded Halan as a two- and three-wheeler ride-hailing app; then Halan pivoted into a super app and offered a wider range of services to its users. In 2018, it added a fintech product — now MNT-Halan — to offer banking services for the unbanked in Egypt and neighbouring countries. MNT-Halan has since become the fastest-growing fintech company in Egypt.
The startup’s technology connects customers, vendors and micro-enterprises through its consumer-facing app, merchant app, distributed lending and payment processing software, and payment solutions; it will continue to offer ride-hailing and logistics services.
The startup was the first fintech company to obtain the micro, consumer and nano finance licenses from the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority, enabling it to provide services to both businesses and consumers across Egypt. It has also obtained the first independent electronic wallet license from the Central Bank of Egypt to disburse, collect and transfer money digitally through a mobile app.
MNT-Halan says it’s essentially empowering the unbanked with its Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution; supporting small and medium businesses with micro funds; digitizing monthly utility and service providers’ bill payments; providing a safe and convenient same-day and peer-to-peer delivery service; securing a reliable digital wallet service for cash deposits and withdrawals and bill payments; facilitating affordable daily transportation with two and three-wheeled vehicles.
MNT-Halan serves more than four million customers in Egypt. With around a million monthly active users, the company has disbursed more than US$1.7 billion in loans.
Egypt has one of the lowest financial inclusion reaches in the world. According to the World Bank, only about 10-15% of the North African country’s population have active bank accounts. Fintech companies like Fawry — which has an estimated 20 million users in Egypt — and MNT-Halan are changing the narrative one region at a time.
“We are at the forefront of the digital revolution sweeping across Egypt, bringing together the unbanked population with our technology. We are on track to bring financial inclusion to tens of millions of Egyptians.” MTN-Halan’s CEO Mounir Nakhla said, “As a result, we will unleash this segment’s earnings potential and drive greater participation in the economy.”
Speaking on their investment in MNT-Halan, DPI partner Sofiane Lahmar said the company is well-positioned to benefit from Egypt and the region’s favourable demographics and rising adoption of digital technologies in its next growth phase.
“Our ADP III investment in MNT-Halan reaffirms our belief in the management team, and our commitment to the company and its long-term growth prospects, as we continue our focus on investing in high-growth, impact-driven companies from Africa’s fast-growing middle class,” Lahmar concluded.