STARTUP WATCH: Where technology bridges the finance gap
Over the next few years, instant lending will become commonplace in the UAE market.
Dubai - Fintech startup leverages new technologies to help financial service companies evolve digitally
By Muhammad Riaz Usman
Published: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 3:30 PM
Last updated: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 9:54 PM
Ammar Afif, founder and managing director, Monami Tech, has been involved in the startup world on the US West Coast (Silicon Valley) and East Coast (Boston) for many years. While Silicon Valley and the US overall remain the standard to be measured by, Ammar has been impressed by how the UAE is accelerating fast to help startups.
Two years ago, Ammar set up Monami Tech, an award-winning fintech payments company, in Dubai.
With a wide range of technology and services, including customer on-boarding, end-to-end loan management solutions, digital wallet platforms and agency banking, Monami Tech helps financial institutions build efficiency and streamline operations. Their goal is to ensure the financial industry's smooth transition into the digital era from the back office to the user interface, in essence helping digitise the customer journey.
"We work with institutions to bridge the gap between conventional and sophistication through modern digital solutions," says Ammar.
"Our core offering is related to the instant lending market. We believe that over the next few years, instant lending will become commonplace in this market. This will help consumers to have increased purchasing power, will bring access to credit to the underbanked segment and help traditional retail and e-commerce sell more," Ammar explains.
To do this, Monami has developed a leading on-boarding platform, which allows consumers to provide information that is required to apply for loans or other products in a matter of minutes.
Monami Tech has created Lendme, a digital service for financial institutions to provide instant loans at the point of decision across multiple channels, from e-commerce to merchants and mobile.
With Lendme, getting a loan has become a seamless, swift experience. The app instantly submits and reviews loan applications, granting an immediate approval if eligible, empowering financial institutions to service customers immediately and securely at the point of decision.
"In addition, we have developed the next generation of scoring engine which incorporates structured data such as Emirates ID and Etihad Credit Bureau and unstructured data [such as SMS messages and social media] that gives a score for the lending institution to get a more enhanced profile for the applicant and make a decision on the application in a matter of seconds," he adds.
Ammar says that Monami has tied itself with global and regional trends such as the push towards digitisation, the need for consumers to get instant gratification or results and the overall push in the Mena region to increase the participation of the unbanked in the financial system and give them credit.
"Monami Tech is aimed at trying to build a company that can address all these needs with the best technology and platform to help our clients meet these changes in the lending market. We have invested to hire the best possible people and continue to innovate and strongly believe that our startup will only be successful if our clients are successful," he says.
Ammar says his primary focus is in the GCC region, however he has gone beyond Africa and South Asia.
"Our expansion plans relate to expanding our presence to additional countries in the GCC. We are looking to launch in Saudi Arabia early next year. In addition, we believe that over time, we can also add other markets in addition to financial services," Ammar says.
Monami Tech recently successfully closed a seed funding of $1 million (Dh3.67 million). This was the first tranche of a total Series A round which is expected to raise over $3 million (Dh11 million).
"A founder's job is to always be looking for money. We are currently looking to add to our Series A round with more local investors. Currently, most of our investment is from overseas investors," Ammar says.
"We are excited to partner with Ammar and the management team of Monami Tech as they try to innovate and disrupt the instant lending landscape," said Paul Vienneau, CTO of Cayan. He will take a seat on the board on behalf of lead investor PGH Holdings as part of the investment.
"Monami Tech differs from other companies due to our rich industry experience as we have more than three employees with over 20+ years of experience in the financial industry. Additionally, our network spans globally, with links around the world, and our determination for continuous innovation drives us to create products to satisfy market needs," observes Archana Raja, marketing manager, Monami Tech.
"In November, we announced our partnership with Al-Hail Oryx. You will be seeing some new instant lending products hit the market across multiple channels over the next few months. Our product set will be used by retail. In addition, we have signed or are in the final process of signing more clients and you will see more of these announcements as well," Ammar concludes.