CAIRO (Reuters) -Three private equity funds and a group of venture capitalists have invested about $120 million in Egyptian microfinance lending and payments company MNT-Halan, the investors said on Wednesday.
MNT-Halan has more than four million customers in Egypt and has disbursed more than $1.7 billion in loans, the investors told Reuters.
The investment was completed last month, said Sofiane Lahmar, a partner at London-based Development Partners International (DPI) whose African Development Partners III fund is among the investors.
New legislation and regulatory changes in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, are helping to unleash a surge in new fintech investments and change the way the country’s largely unbanked citizens do business.
MNT-Halan was Egypt’s first private non-bank company to be licensed by the central bank to operate a digital wallet, a mobile app that lets consumers, vendors, lenders and borrowers transfer money, pay bills, buy goods on instalment and secure loans, CEO Mounir Nakhla told Reuters in June.
“It is a digitally enabled company that is literally digitising the unbanked and bringing financial services to the unserved,” said Matteo Stefanel, a managing partner at Apis Partners, whose Apis Growth Fund II is also among the lead investors.
This year, MNT completed a share swap to take over fintech company Halan Inc to create MNT-Halan, said Nakhla, a co-founder of both firms.
Other investors in MNT-Halan include Cairo-based Lorax Capital Partners, and Middle Eastern venture capitalists Algebra Ventures, DisrupTech, Endeavor Catalyst, Egypt Ventures, MEVP and Wamda.
Egypt’s large, young and increasingly digitally savvy population, as well as a regulatory focus on financial and digital inclusion, have made it especially attractive as an investment, Stefanel said.
Reporting by Patrick WerrEditing by Mark Potter