UAE-based fintech startup NOW Money announced on Tuesday it secured an investment of $700,000 from venture capital investors Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital.
NOW Money claims to be the first fintech in the Gulf region to use mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income migrant workers.The company now aims to provide access to affordable financial services for everyone.
“Our mission is to help workers access financial and remittance services otherwise out of reach, for the first time providing them with direct access to a current account, debit card and remittance directly from our proprietary NOW Money smartphone app and service centre.”
Speaking about the investment, Co-founder of NOW Money, Ian Dillon shared:
“Having what’s understood to be the first early stage investment from U.S. venture capital into the Middle East is testament to the opportunities available here and how far the GCC has come in making itself a destination for investment. We hope this will be the first of many U.S. venture capital investments in the region, and will help to grow the ecosystem further. We’re excited to be making such a big social impact in the region. Accion is one of the leading global institutions promoting financial inclusion, and Newid Capital was co-founded by Nigel Morris, who previously co-founded Capital One Financial Services. We’re excited to be working with them to bring financial inclusion to the 26 million unbanked in the GCC.”
Michael Schlein, CEO and President of Accion, also commented:
“Each year, migrant workers contribute more than $400 billion to their home economies, and the United Arab Emirates is among the top remittance-sending countries in the world. NOW Money’s innovative approach and digital platform provide a faster and safer option for these workers to support their families and communities.”
Amee Parbhoo, Director of Investments at Accion Venture Lab, added:
“Our partnership with NOW Money marks a number of firsts for Accion Venture Lab – our first investment in the Middle East region, our first investment into a wholly-digital neobank, and our first opportunity to focus on reaching low-income migrant workers. As we reach this new group of financially underserved individuals, we’ll look to apply our learnings to Venture Lab’s work around the world.”
In the last 12 months, NOW Money has won six awards, including Chivas’ “The Venture” for the Gulf region.