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UAE’s Cashee raises $3 million to fund expansion into Saudi Arabia

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Cashee, a UAE-based digital banking platform for teenagers in the Mena region, has raised $3 million in a series A funding round led by Arab National Bank and ANB Capital.

The strategic agreement with Riyadh-based lender ANB will pave the way for Cashee to expand in Saudi Arabia, the company said on Sunday.

“Closing our series A funding represents a significant and important milestone for Cashee,” said Brad Whitfield, co-founder of Cashee.

“We consider ANB a perfect fit given their trusted and prominent brand, wide presence and the fact they are one of the most prestigious banking institutions in the Mena region. This investment is part of an ambitious regional expansion plan into Saudi Arabia.”

Dubai-based Cashee was established in 2020 and aims to empower youths with smart money skills and improve financial literacy in the Mena region.

It provides teenagers with a free digital banking app and prepaid card to manage their money effectively, while offering parental control over children’s transactions.

Parents can use the Cashee app to transfer money to their children, manage chores and set flexible controls on how much they can spend.

Venture capital funding for start-ups in the Mena region rose by 20 per cent annually to more than $2.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, putting it on track to potentially surpass the total investment attracted in 2021, a study by Magnitt found.

Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia retained the top three positions in terms of both funding value and number of deals, capturing more than 75 per cent of overall Mena investments, Magnitt said.

FinTech remained the leading industry during the period, with 94 deals valued at $747m, which is an annual increase of about three quarters, it said.

“The partnership aims to develop the first banking application of its kind in Saudi Arabia that promotes the financial culture among Saudi youth in a way that will encourage savings and financial literacy,” said Aiedh AlZahrani, ANB’s chief operating officer and head of retail banking.

The FinTech start-up, founded by Mr Whitfield and Smeetha Ghosh, raised $1m in a pre-seed funding round in July last year.

In March this year, Cashee joined Visa International’s FinTech Accelerator Programme, which aims to enhance digital payment solutions for younger generations.

The digital banking app allows teenagers to receive real-time notifications about spending, allocate money for saving goals, keep track of progress and complete tasks to receive additional money.