alsoug, the largest digital marketplace in Sudan, has closed a $5 million investment round to scale its digital payment network.
The investment is co-led by Egyptian fintech unicorn, Fawry, and a “wider consortium of Western venture capital firms”.
While an African country like Nigeria has recorded close to 50 investment deals this year alone, this investment round marks the first foreign venture capital investment into the Sudanese tech ecosystem since international sanctions on the country were lifted in 2020, following a 30-year isolation period.
Founded in 2016, alsoug is a platform for Sudanese buyers and sellers to deal directly with one another. The app allows vendors to list a variety of goods and services, including real estate, cars, electronics and furniture as well as jobs.
Going big on Fintech
African fintech startups raised $330 million in the first half of 2021. That’s more than double what was raised in 2020. Now, as Sudan’s economy opens up to the international community, alsoug wants to build a financial powerhouse that can match the present fintech trends in the continent.
“Fintech has been one of the fastest-growing industries across Africa in the past decade because of its huge user base. With this fundraising, we expect Sudan to catch up with the rest of the continent,” Tarneem Saeed, CEO of alsoug, said in a statement made available to TechCabal.
Building on the mass adoption of its marketplace and payment platform, Cashi, the investment will expedite alsoug’s plan to become the largest fintech solution in the country.
“From our earliest beginnings, we have focused on enabling anyone in Sudan to buy and sell whatever products and services they need, no matter who they are or where they live. But today, ordinary Sudanese consumers and businesses still have limited ways to make payments,” Saeed said.
“This investment enables us to expand our services in fintech so that everyone in the country has the financial freedom they deserve and are able to transact in a fast, transparent, simple and digital way,” she concluded.
For Fawry, the first and largest digital payments company in Egypt and the country’s first unicorn—with a current market cap of more than $1.5 billion—this is its first investment outside of Egypt in its 13 years of existence. Besides the monetary investment, alsoug will leverage Fawry’s in-house technology and business expertise to build its payments infrastructure across Sudan.
Commenting on their investment, Fawry CEO, Ashraf Sabry, said, “Fawry’s investment in alsoug delivers on our plans to venture into underserved international markets by leveraging our technology and teaming up with strong local players.”
Sabry also believes that the investment will allow Fawry to strategically expand its reach in Africa and transfer the experience gained in the dynamic Egyptian market to neighbouring Sudan, an economy with major potential and a significant pool of entrepreneurial talent.
“Fawry’s strategic partnership with alsoug leaves it ideally placed to help guide the platform’s rollout of a countrywide payments system, a feat which Fawry has already managed through a scalable, robust and best-in-class technology platform,” Sabry added.
Also speaking on the investment, Magdi Amin, Senior Advisor to Sudan’s Minister of Finance, said, “This investment is a significant opportunity for Sudan to make up for lost time. We welcome foreign investment into the promising Sudanese business landscape, which is a key part of our plan to drive economic growth across all sectors.”
Alongside its investment in payments, alsoug said it plans to continue to build its marketplace by offering new services for users and ensuring the platform maintains its position as the premier digital buying and selling platform in Sudan.