Zenda raises Dh34.5m seed round, accelerates India expansion

The app currently addresses pain points around the payment of school fees — in particular, the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and the poor collection of payments for schools



Using Zenda, families can track dues and make payments through a multitude of pay-now and pay-later options, and unlock rewards for paying on time. — Supplied photo
Using Zenda, families can track dues and make payments through a multitude of pay-now and pay-later options, and unlock rewards for paying on time. — Supplied photo

By Staff Report

Published: Mon 25 Apr 2022, 3:44 PM

Zenda, a fintech app for families in the UAE and Mena region, has secured a $9.4 million (Dh34.5 million) oversubscribed seed round.

The app currently addresses pain points around the payment of school fees — in particular, the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and the poor collection of payments for schools.

Using Zenda, families can track dues and make payments through a multitude of pay-now and pay-later options, and unlock rewards for paying on time. Zenda integrates with schools through its proprietary data model and APIs (much like zapier) and eliminates last-mile reconciliation challenges and delays.

With approximately $37 billion processed annually in fee payments to private educational institutions in the GCC, $34 billion in the rest of the Middle East and Africa, and $70 billion annually in India, the market is sizable yet largely untapped.

Fee payments in schools (nurseries-K12-tertiary) are mostly non-digital, and even where digital, are cumbersome, manual and expensive. Also, the majority of families earn monthly but fee payments are usually termly or bi-annual, resulting in cash flow stress for parents and collection delays for schools.

“In today’s digital world, we seek low friction and immediacy - why should that not be the case for fee payments? Part of the ecosystem still runs on cash or cheque with no convenient option to pay later. Since our launch, feedback from the market and especially from our users has been terrific,” said Raman Thiagarajan, CEO and founder of Zenda.

Zenda has witnessed strong market traction with schools and with families. Its user base grew 20X since June 2021 and crossed $100 million in annual contracted total payment volume by Q4 2021, across UAE and India.

— waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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