MENAFintech Galaxy, the UAE-based open innovation platform, has raised US$2 million in Seed funding to further bolster the development and rollout of its Open Finance platform, as it looks to expand its reach and boost financial inclusion across key Middle East and North Africa (Mena) markets.

The Seed round was led by Jordan’s Ahli Fintech and joined by Raz Holding Group, OMQ Investments, Egypt’s EFG EV Fintech and INSEAD Saudi Angel Investors.

Fintech Galaxy is building an Open Finance platform, with a vision to redesign financial services with an open API infrastructure that provides integration between fintechs and institutions.

The platform will provide access to customer data from partner banks through its Open Banking APIs while allowing developers to build new apps and services.

Fintech Galaxy is driving the development of a much richer, broader financial technology ecosystem that goes well beyond banking to include insurance, asset management, exchanges, and pensions,” Commenting on the successful closing of the funding round, Mirna Sleiman, founder & CEO of Fintech Galaxy, said.

“We have designed the platform in collaboration with institutions and regulatory bodies from multiple jurisdictions across the region.

“Our main goal is to democratise financial services by building a stable and secure infrastructure and enabling smooth and standard integration between financial institutions and solutions providers.”

Open Finance is the next step in the Open Banking journey. Financial data such as mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance and consumer credit – basically a customer’s entire financial footprint – could be opened up to trusted and regulated third-party APIs (with their permission).

Open Banking, widely adopted now in many countries around the world, allows third-party developers to access customer data from their banks and act as a bridge to financial technology platforms.

Regulators across the region are issuing frameworks that pave the way for Open Banking adoption and unifying technical standards such as APIs, customer experience guidelines and cyber security standards.

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) last month directed all retail banks and financial institutions in the kingdom to implement the requirements for the second phase of the Bahrain Open Banking Framework (Bahrain OBF), becoming the first country in the Mena region to issue its own Open Banking technical standards.

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) is launching a framework for Open Banking in the Kingdom during the first half of 2022.

“For several years now, the financial sector of the Mena region has been abuzz with the concepts of ‘Open Banking’ and ‘Open Finance’,” Sleiman added.

Our vision is to provide not only the technology infrastructure but rather enable the whole ecosystem to access data and payment channels via a unified API gateway and support financial institutions in their compliance with international and local Open Banking frameworks. This is a natural development of our Open Innovation platform and services.”

Fintech Galaxy partners GIZ

Meanwhile, Fintech Galaxy has partnered with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to launch a new cross-border accelerator programme to help startups from Egypt and Jordan expand into both markets.

The two-month Yalla Xtech programme is aimed at helping startups to expand beyond their borders. It hopes to promote cross-border inclusion and knowledge sharing and provide startups with the necessary tools, resources, and network contacts to help them expand to Jordan or Egypt successfully.

Selected startups will be provided with mentoring, networking opportunities and other tools that will help them prepare effective expansion strategies and master their growth journey across country borders.

The programme is powered by Fintech Galaxy’s cloud-based open innovation FinX22 platform, which will offer an open banking API sandbox that will enable tech startups in Egypt and Jordan to develop, test and deploy their apps.

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