Telda, a Cairo-based digital banking app has raised $5 million in a pre-seed funding round. This is the largest pre-seed in both MENA and Africa at the moment – Autochek previously raised the largest pre-seed at $3.4million.
The round was led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Berlin-based Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global, which football star, Mesut Ozil joined as a strategic partner. This marks the first investment for Sequoia in North Africa and the wider GCC region.
The startup also announced it has become the first company to receive a license from the Central Bank of Egypt under the new Banking Agents regulations, empowering it to issue cards and onboard customers to its digital app.
Telda was founded by Ahmed Sabbah, the co-founder and former CTO of Swvl, and Youssef Sholqamy, a former senior engineer in Uber’s infrastructure team. The startup’s core team has a strong track record of building mass-market consumer products globally – with experience from Facebook, Microsoft, Mckinsey, and Noon.
According to Tech Crunch, Telda intends to fast-track its card production and distribution with this new funding. The company currently has more than 30,000 signups already, with half of that already requesting cards. It also plans to capitalize on Sequoia’s name for hiring and expansion.
What they are saying
Telda co-founder and CEO Ahmed Sabbah remarked “We refer to Telda as The Money App. It is the first digital banking experience in Egypt, enabling customers to create a free account in seconds, receive a free Telda card to use online, in stores, and withdraw cash from any ATM worldwide, and pay bills all directly from their phone. Telda customers will also be able to send and receive money instantly and for free from friends, family, and anyone with a mobile phone, as easy as sending a WhatsApp message.”
Telda CTO Youssef Sholqamy added, “Today’s funding milestone promotes the digital transformation of the Egyptian economy and allows Telda to provide everyone with access to important financial services so they can fully participate in the economy.”
Sequoia Partner George Robson commented “There are many parallels between Brazil and Egypt. Both countries boast a large, young, talented, and tech-savvy population with a strong appetite to innovate. We are delighted to partner with Telda and earmark our first investment in the region.”
GFC Partner Roel Janssen said “We are highly impressed by Sabbah and Sholqamy and love their vision for building the region’s leading digital banking app and we are proud to be part of their journey. It is GFC’s first investment in Egypt and we see that Egypt has the potential to become an important hub in the global tech ecosystem.”
Class 5 Global Managing Partner Youcef Oudjidane remarked: “Money has become a medium of self-expression – a form of identity – not solely a store of value. Telda has done a remarkable job of embedding their culture and values in the product, in both functionality and design. No hidden fees, no maintenance charges, no paperwork nor stress, coupled with an elegant design to enable a self-service experience.”