Dayra is a Cairo-based fintech startup providing gig-workers and micro-businesses with alternative financial services. They joined Y Combinator’s Winter 21 batch, securing the largest debt and equity pre-seed round in the Middle East and bringing its total funding to $3 million.
Dayra is funded by Tanmiya Capital Ventures, EFG EV Fintech, EFG Hermes and Y Combinator, as well as multiple prominent angel investors.
Only 30% of 105 million Egyptians are banked, leaving the majority of the country unbanked and reliant on cash transactions. Requirements such as proof of income by the banking sector make it hard for gig-workers and micro-business owners to open bank accounts. This leads to a lack of transactional data available to banks and micro-finance institutions and to the non-existence of virtual financial identities for the majority of Egyptians, a problem that directly contributes to financial exclusion in Egypt. It also makes it hard for many companies to disburse payments to their contractors, gig-workers, and customers.
With little to no options to access credit, workers with no bank accounts are left to borrow from traditional micro-lenders who are known for their large application fees, manual investigations, long processes, and high rejection rates. Others end up borrowing from informal sources at inconsistent and unfair terms.
Founded in early 2020 by Omar Ekram with the chief aim of improving the lives of millions of unbanked individuals in MENA, Dayra empowers companies to provide their gig-workers and customers with financial solutions via API integrations. Darya takes the payment disbursement hassle off those companies and allows them to extend their payment terms. Dayra’s financial solutions include virtual bank accounts, prepaid cards, and instantaneous access to credit at lower costs than traditional lenders.
Darya’s typical end-users range from gig workers such as delivery couriers, truck drivers and freelancers, to micro-business owners such as kiosks, small shops, restaurants, and craftsmen. Analyzing end-user transactions enables Dayra to create alternative credit scores and virtual financial identities for them. Businesses can integrate with Dayra in two ways: they can offer Dayra’s financial solutions directly from within their app using the API integration or, if they don’t have their own app or portal, they can use Dayra’s app directly.
“We are thrilled to be part of YC’s W21 batch and to close our pre-seed round. This is a key milestone in realising our vision of providing the most accessible financial services solution in MENA, and delivering digital financial services to millions of financially excluded individuals, leveraging on our strategic partnership with EFG Hermes,” said Omar Ekram, the founder and CEO of Dayra.
Mahmoud El Zohairy, CEO EFG EV Fintech, also said: “We are thrilled about partnering with Dayra and look forward to seeing them through on a path of success. Dayra’s unique go-to market approach helps and empowers gig economy participants, while alleviating working capital stress on their employers in a seamless manner, something that the market is in need of right now. Thanks primarily to the world-class team Dayra has put together, including a founder with first-hand knowledge of the financial system as well as a deep knowhow in the tech space, we are excited to see what they have in store for the market.”
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