Fintech startup MNT-Halan raked in an impressive $400 million in a hybrid equity-debt financing round, propelling its post-money valuation to much-coveted billion-dollar unicorn status.

Africa’s unicorn landscape had remained fallow since Nigeria’s Chipper Cash achieved a similar feat in November 2021, through a Series C extension led by FTX and totaling $150 million.

MNT-Halan’s feat entrenches Egypt in the elite club of African states with unicorns, boosted by growing investor confidence in the land of Pharaohs.

Egypt is a regional tech hub

But it has not come as a surprise. In 2021, Egypt topped the list as the most robust market for investment on the continent, according to a Rand Merchant Bank report.

Another 2021 report by Disrupt Africa showed that Egypt was on course to edge out more established startup ecosystems like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya for levels of entrepreneurial innovation and investment.

Since January 2015, it notes that more than $791 million have been raised by some 318 tech startups across 447 individual rounds.

Every year, Egypt has been adding 114 tech startups to its ecosystem, from a paltry 10 in 2015. Consequently, annual funding secured by the companies has risen significantly from $8.6 million to $156 million in 2020.

MNT-Halan’s billion-dollar valuation

Egypt’s MNT-Halan’s latest billion-dollar valuation shows the country’s potential as the new frontier of mega VC funding in Africa.

MNT-Halan dates back to 2017, when co-founders Mounir Nakhla and Ahmed Mohsen initiated the development of a ride-hailing platform, simply known as Halan, in the vicinity of Zamalek, Giza.

Within the first year of its market launch, the fledgling firm expanded its offerings to encompass both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) on-demand logistics solutions.

The following two years saw the advent of food delivery and a strategic pivot towards becoming a super app.

During this transitional phase, MNT-Halan procured a Series A financing round worth $4.3 million and a Series B round worth $15 million.

In 2021, the company underwent a rebranding exercise following a share swap deal with Dutch microlender MNT Investments BV, officially becoming MNT-Halan and entering the fintech ecosystem with global ambitions. MNT-Halan has been specializing in mobile payments and financial services for underbanked communities, making waves in the industry with its innovative solutions and rapid growth.

The rise of super apps in Africa

The company’s cutting-edge technology has enabled it to serve thousands of customers in Egypt, providing them with access to financial services that were previously unavailable.

According to the company’s CEO, Mounir Nakhla, the company had issued loans worth over $65 million in the previous month and has a well-balanced non-performing ratio.

“We’re capitalizing on our existing distribution through million-plus customers and adding services within our ecosystem. If you need a loan for your business, we’re going to give you one; you need a loan for consumption, we’re going to give you one; you need to order groceries or buy a mobile phone on our platform, we’ll deliver it to you via our e-commerce stores. Also, we can give them the credit they can use to make all of these purchases within the ecosystem,” WeeTracker quoted Nakhla as saying of the company’s all-encompassing approach.

Source: Seth Onyango, bird story agency

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