Egyptian fintech startup Telda has raised a US$5 million pre-seed funding round, led by Sequoia Capital, as it looks to build on a strong first month of operations.
Founded in April by Ahmed Sabbah, Swvl’s co-founder and former CTO, and Youssef Sholqamy, ex-senior engineer in Uber’s infrastructure team, Telda offers digital banking services that cater to the financial needs of millennials and Generation Z.
Through the app, users can set up an account with their phone number and national IDs. Telda’s account comes with a Mastercard-powered card that can be requested from the app and used for online payments, in-store purchases, and cash withdrawals. Users can receive money on Telda from anyone in Egypt and beyond using the international bank account number (IBAN) that they receive for their digital account.
In its first month of operation, the startup has already acquired over 30,000 sign-ups, and it now plans to build on that strong start after raising US$5 million in pre-seed funding. The round is led by Sequoia Capital, and is the first-ever foray into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the US-based VC firm. Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global are also investors.
Telda has also announced it has become the first company to receive a license from the Central Bank of Egypt under the new Banking Agents regulations, empowering it to issue cards and on-board customers to its digital app.
“We refer to Telda as “The Money App”. It is the first digital banking experience in Egypt, enabling customers to create a free account in seconds, receive a free Telda card to use online, in stores and to withdraw cash from any ATM worldwide and pay bills all directly from their phone. Telda customers will also be able to send and receive money instantly and for free from friends, family and anyone with a mobile phone, as easy as sending a Whatsapp message,” said Sabbah.
Sequoia Capital partner George Robson said he was delighted to partner with Telda.
“There are many parallels between Brazil and Egypt. Both countries boast a large, young, talented and tech savvy population with a strong appetite to innovate. We are delighted to partner with Telda and earmark our first investment in the region,” he said.