Riyadh-based fintech Hala (previously known as Halalah) has raised USD 6.5 million in a Series A round led by Impact46, which invested through their growth fund. The round also included participation of Wamda and other investors.
Founded in 2018 by Esam Alnahdi and Maher Loubieh, Hala started as one of the first mobile wallets in Saudi Arabia, enabling individuals to make digital payments in various contexts, including peer-to-peer payments, and to offline merchants that are part of its network through QR codes.
In early 2020, the startup shifted its focus to provide financial services to SME businesses, starting with a package that comes with a POS device, a bank account, and a Visa/Mada card. It enables SMEs to manage all inbound and outbound payments through Hala’s mobile app. According to the company’s website, Hala’s POS solution is currently being used by more than 20,000 merchants across the Kingdom, with more than USD 100 million in transactions taking place through the platform.
Hala is also working to expand its suite of financial and non-financial services that can help merchants grow their businesses. In a statement today, the company said that it had acquired a local company in 2020 that provides value-added services to merchants. It did not share the name of the company. After its pivot in early 2020, Hala now wants to become a digital bank for SMEs.
It is one of the first Saudi fintech firms to receive a full license from SAMA, the Saudi Central Bank. It is currently regulated as an electronic money institution, or EMI. Hala also has plans to expand regionally.
Abdulaziz Al-Omran, the founder of Impact46, commented on the occasion and said, “The fintech sector is continuously evolving. Hala, one of the first fintech solutions licensed by the Saudi Central Bank, has played a vital role in promoting the growth of this industry in the region. With the digitization of financial solutions, Hala is taking part in facilitating financial transactions, the platform also continues to take advantage of the promising opportunities in this sector, to achieve rapid growth on a larger scale.”
This article was first published by MENAbytes.