Finovate Global Pakistan: Embedded Finance, Digital Wallets, and Payment Apps

Pakistan-based embedded finance platform Neem forged a strategic partnership with BPC this week. The first Pakistan fintech to be enabled by BPC, Neem will use the company’s SmartVista platform to power its embedded finance infrastructure.

Neem is targeting the more than 200 million consumers and 3.3 million micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are un- or underbanked in Pakistan. Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Karachi, Neem offers both a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform and a lending platform.

“In BPC, we have a strong technology partner with a deep understanding of the global trends and local market dynamics,” Neem co-founder Nadeem Shaikh said. “We are building our infrastructure together, firstly for Pakistan and then for the emerging markets.”

Neem’s partnership news comes a month after the company announced a strategic partnership with JS Bank. The alliance will enable Neem to leverage JS Bank’s Open Banking platform to enable Neem’s embedded finance community partners to embed payment services into their platforms. Shaikh said that the partnership takes advantage of the “core strengths” of both companies and will lower the time to market for its financial solutions as well as give un- and underbanked consumers “the trust and credibility of a Tier 1 Bank.”

Also in September, Neem announced that it had secured $2.5 million in seed funding. The investment came from local and international backers including Korean SparkLabs Fintech, Taarah Ventures, My Asia VC, Concept Vines, and Building Capital, among others. The funding will help Neem scale its operations as it pursues a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to operate as a non-banking financial company. This would enable Neem to pursue its lending businesses on its own. The company is currently running its lending operations via licensed partners.

In addition to fintech and MSMEs, Neem’s products and services are used in businesses in agriculture, e-commerce, logistics, and healthcare.

Elsewhere in Pakistan’s fintech ecosystem, payment app SadaPay announced that it was partnering with Verimatrix. The company will deploy Verimatrix XTD (Extended Threat Defense) technologies to help ensure secure transactions for its customers

“SadaPay aims to eliminate the complexity of banking and simplify money through modern technologies and an unmatched, delightful customer experience,” SadaPay CEO and founder Brandon Timinsky said. “We are excited to deploy Verimatrix’s award-winning cybersecurity solutions to safeguard our mobile apps as well as monitor and defend our endpoints against potential attacks.”

SadaPay offers payment apps that enable customers to shop online, send money, pay bills, and withdraw cash for free at any ATM in Pakistan. The company also offers a free, numberless, Mastercard debit card with in-app card controls. With Verimatrix XTD, SadaPay will be able to provide comprehensive mobile app protection including continuous monitoring of apps to identify and stop cyberthreats.

“SadaPay’s mission to help serve the unbanked through distinctly simple and fee-free services is also accompanied by a commitment to protect user information, as well as their money,” Verimatrix VP of Cybersecurity Juha Högmander said.

An American, Timinsky launched SadaPay during a visit to Asia following the acquisition of his previous U.S.-based startup. Upon traveling to Pakistan, Timinsky was struck by the opportunity he saw in the country’s sizable population of smartphone-equipped young people, a relatively unsophisticated legacy banking industry, high cellular and broadband penetration, and a government that was increasingly emphasizing the values of digitization.

SadaPay has raised $20 million in funding, including $10.7 million in seed extension funding secured this spring. The company received the funding news just one day after SadaPay won approval from the State Bank of Pakistan to offer financial services via its app.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

  • Mexican-based digital payments platform Clip earned a spot in Fast Company’s 2022 Brands That Matter roster in the international category.
  • The Chilean Congress has approved the Fintech Bill. The legislation – which includes the establishment of an open banking system to exchange customer data – awaits the president’s signature in order to become law.
  • Mattilda, a Mexican fintech that helps private schools manage payment collections, raised $10 million in seed funding.
  • Uganda-based small business credit and asset financing platform Tugende secured $10 million in combined debt and equity funding.
  • African payments company Cellulant teamed up with Mastercard to enable e-commerce payments.
  • The Ecobank Fintech Challenge presented its six African fintech finalists, representing Senegal, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Nigeria.
  • Schufa, a private credit bureau based in Germany, launched its score simulator to support credit rating transparency.
  • Latvian open banking platform Nordigen teamed up with enterprise resource planning solution myCorazon ERP.
  • Worldline acquired a majority stake in Polish fintech SoftPoS.

Photo by Aa Dil