Saudi Arabia fintech finalists unveiled for 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative

Visa has announced the Saudi Arabia finalists that will compete at the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman edition of the 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program and competition that sees fintech startups pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.  This year’s VEI in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman will see an in-person competition for finalists from all three countries in June in Riyadh.

The finalists are:

  • Saudi Arabia: a liquidity solution provider that provides easy access to financial products to individuals with predictable income
    • LazyWait,  provides POS solutions that enable businesses through SMS Payments, LitePOS, integration with accounting systems, and more MoneyLoop, a digital rotating savings and credit association that employs KYC and a pool of vetted users to ensure low risk to users
  • Bahrain:
    • Flooss, a digital consumer microfinance app that provides instant cash loans to consumers within minutes
    • Cnpsecure, turnkey solutions provider for issuers to adopt dynamic CVV and virtual cards
    • Ryalize, a liquidity solution provider that provides easy access to financial products to individuals with predictable income
  • Oman:
    • HAL Capital, a Sharia-compliant embedded direct financing FinTech platform, committed to redefining access to finance for the underbanked Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals
    • Mamun, a Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) lending via crowd funding & embedded lending.

This year’s prizes for the Saudi, Bahrain and Oman edition of VEI are:

  • Saudi Arabia VEI WinnerSAR150,000 ($40,000 USD)
  • Bahrain VEI Winner: SAR150,000 ($40,000 USD)
  • Oman VEI Winner: SAR150,000 ($40,000 USD)

 This year’s edition of VEI brings back the Impact Prize (SAR37,500 or $10,000 USD), which goes to a competitor who has innovated a solution that has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Last year, Saudi-based fintech Lamaa won the Impact Prize for providing SMBs with technological, financially inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions.

In addition to equity-free funding, VEI winners gain access and exposure to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, venture capital, and government sectors. The winners also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands.

The finalists will present their solutions to an expert panel of judges which will include:

  • Godfrey Sullivan, SVP and Head of Strategy for CEMEA – Visa
  • Thereshini Peter, VP, Chief Financial Officer – MENA, Visa
  • Malak AlSaffar, Country Manager for Bahrain – Vis
  • Yousif AlNefaiei, Deputy CEO, BENEFIT
  • Nezar Alhaidar, Director, Fintech Saudi
  • Majid AlAmri, CEO, Thawani Pay

“We have been impressed with the creativity and innovative solutions our fintech finalists in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman have brought to the table to address real commerce challenges. The level of innovation displayed instills immense confidence in the current and future state of the region’s fintech ecosystem. I look forward to the final competition, and to working with our winners in helping shape our region’s fintech landscape,” said Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional GM for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

Bailoun added: “Fintechs have the potential to offer broad social benefits to the markets they operate in – particularly when it comes to providing financial services to those who have traditionally been underserved. At Visa, we believe access to the digital economy drives equitable, inclusive growth, and VEI is an important means of supporting the growth journey of fintechs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman – helping them take small but significant steps towards making an impact.”

The winner of the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman edition of VEI will progress to a virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 23rd. The startup that wins at the CEMEA finale will participate in the global finale – competing against winners from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America – at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on October 29th, 2024. The regional and global level prizes are:

  • VEI CEMEA Regionals 1st place: SAR75,000 ($20,000 USD)
  • VEI CEMEA Regionals Audience Favorites: SAR37,500 ($10,000 USD)
  • VEI Global Finals 1st Place: SAR375,000 ($100,000 USD)
  • VEI Global Finals Audience Favorite: SAR75,000 ($20,000 USD)

The program first launched in the US in 2015 and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, nearly 15,000 startups have participated, and have collectively raised over SAR180B ($48 billion USD) in funding. VEI 2023 saw Nigeria’s Drugstock take home the VEI global grand prize of SAR187,500 ($50,000 USD), as well as the Audience Favorite prize of SAR37.500 ($10,000 USD).


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