The UAE and Saudi buy now pay later portals had been driving significant funding and value gains since 2021. Tamara after its Series C intake has crossed $1 billion in valuation. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A Saudi fintech has hit a financial landmark. The 'buy now pay later' platform Tamara raised $340 million via a Series C round and thus becoming the first fintech unicorn in the Kingdom. (The unicorn status is for a startup who is valued at or over $1 billion based on what they raise via funding.)

The Series round was co-led by SNB Capital and Sanabil Investments, a wholly owned entity within Public Investment Fund (PIF) fold. The others who signed up were Shorooq Partners, Pinnacle Capital, Impulse and others, while existing investors are Coatue, Endeavor Catalyst and

This makes it ‘among the largest investments in a fintech company in the region’. Last month, Tamara secured additional debt financing to upsize its warehouse facility to up to $400 million (led by Goldman Sachs and Shorooq Partners).

“Saudi Arabia deserves its place on the world stage for financial technology,” said Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, co-founder and CEO of Tamara.

With this, Tamara will have $500 million in equity funding and $400 million plus in debt financing. It was formed in late 2020.

Saudi Arabia is on a BNPL wave
The number of customers registered with a BNPL service in Saudi Arabia has soared from 76,000 in 2020, to 3 million in 2021 and 10 million last year, according to the SAMA Fintech 2022 report.
Nearly 30 per cent of the Saudi population use BNPL. Digital payment volumes are forecast to grow by 20 per cent CAGR until 2025, accounting for 13 billion transactions with a total value of $170 billion.

Buy now pay later (or BNPLs as they are widely known - portals link up consumers with retailers and service providers. This allows deals where shoppers can go ahead with a purchase but not having to pay interest on these. They clear the payments in six months or so.

“As we set our sights on becoming the next big giant in shopping, payments and banking we remain ever grateful for the significant opportunity in this underpenetrated and underserved banking and financial services landscape," said Alsukhan.