Dubai: Everyone has faced the need for quick cash at some point, while trying to tap a bank loan can take more than a few days. Monami Tech, a UAE-based fintech payments company, is aiming to quicken the access to cash where possible and thus try and disrupt the lending landscape.
Ammar Afif, managing director, has done more than 20 years in the finance industry through stints with venture capital and private equity firms in the US. Afif, born in Pakistan and raised in Canada, said Dubai was a perfect gateway to do business and where talent can be found easily.
There is a push towards instant gratification among millennials and that’s where he saw opportunities for his new venture. “When they [millennials] do something, they want to know what happens immediately. When I looked at it, I thought why instant lending is not in this market.”
Lendme is a digital solution from Monami that provides the platform for loan origination and enables customers to obtain hassle-free loans. “We are building the technology platform for institutions, e-commerce and retailers to offer instant lending to their customers.”
It has formed a partnership with Al Hail Orix Finance for the deployment of its platform for Sama’s business and consumer lending app. The platform will go live by end of October.
“We have tied up with Emirates ID and Etihad Credit Bureau. After accepting all the required information by Al Hail Orix Finance, the customer gets the answer within minutes whether he is eligible for the instant loan,” Afif said.
When a loan is approved, Monami gets a flat fee of between $5-$10 for each transaction. The company is going to sign deals with e-commerce portals soon and will start working with the retailers next year. Its platform is available in India and Zimbabwe.
Afif said instant lending is not meant to replace credit cards but adds another source for credit. Instant lending is a huge market in other countries in the form of payday loans and cash advances, and that it is going to happen in the UAE.
“We work alongside financial institutions and telecom operators to bridge the gap between conventional and sophistication through modern digital solutions to enhance user experience,” he added.
“The magic key is how you determine the credit. Dubai is much advanced than other GCC countries, but what we try to do is capture structured and unstructured data. The structured data are Emirates ID and Etihad Credit Bureau and we compliment that with unstructured data such as SMS transaction history and social media history to evaluate the circle of friends, browsing behaviour and frequency of interaction. An applicant’s creditworthiness and rating are established seamlessly if the customer gives us the permission to validate the user.
“We take all these characteristics into our engine and in a matter of years, I should have the best data to help Sama access the risk factor. The data will be owned by Al Hail Orix and they want us to assist them by analysing the data and price loans perfectly,” he said.
As the instant lending market is nascent, he plans to spread into Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The company has raised $3.5 million and looking to raise $3 million from the local market.
High on the agenda for Afif is to expand his sales team, product development and user experience enhancement, and explore new categories such as health care and automotive.
Sector: Finance technology
Year Founded: 2016
Founders: Ammar Afif