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Fintech mega app Lucky aims to be massive in MENA after $25 M Series A round

Following its recent US $25 million Series A financing, Egyptian company Lucky, a super app for credit goods, deals, and cashback incentives, plans to grow very large indeed in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) area.

Lucky, which was founded in 2018 by Momtaz Moussa and Ayman Essawy, provides customers with a growing choice of simple credit products, discounts, and cashback benefits that can be used in person and online with over 20,000 local and global retailers.

Since its beginning, the company has developed quickly, and it currently boasts the largest merchant network in Egypt, as well as over eight million registered users. Its gross merchandise value has increased by 250 percent year over year, and it has lately expanded into Morocco.

Lucky received a $25 million Series A investment round last month to enhance its credit capabilities, increase market share, and accelerate international expansion.

“We offer credit, cash accounts with rewards, bill payment programmes and even pay later features, all with seamless app-based application and account management,” Moussa said.

“Users of our financial products also get access to a massive range of exclusive offers and savings on clothing, food and electronics through our merchant network – we have over 30,000 partners and counting including global brands such as Amazon, Jumia, Nike, Booking.com, KFC, Burger King, Spinneys, Metro, Sketchers, Ravin, B.Tech, and Tradeline as well as thousands of thousands of local brands. All of this can be browsed and redeemed in-app or with traditional bank cards.”

Moussa and Essawy are both serial entrepreneurs who previously co-founded Dsquares, a platform for B2B customer loyalty programmes. They’re aiming Lucky at the 250 million “underbanked” individuals in the Middle East and North Africa who don’t have access to credit or savings accounts. Meanwhile, 95% of retailers in the region do not use consumer banking products and rely only on cash transactions.

“Having built a B2B loyalty/rewards company in the same region, we noticed there was a huge gap on the direct-to-consumer side,” Essawy said. “Many Egyptians, particularly young Egyptians, are very tech savvy and progressive, with global lifestyle tastes and aspirations, but their financial options just didn’t match the demand – these same progressive people tended to be significantly underbanked in what was still primarily a cash economy. The result was lack of access to both credit and financial products, as well as to the range of shopping and saving choices similar young people have grown accustomed to elsewhere.”

Lucky is being built by the duo to fill that void in a way that doesn’t just “paste” the rest of the world’s financial goods into the Middle East.

“We’re building an ecosystem that addresses the specific needs of the region,” Moussa said.

According to all reports, take-up has been “amazing.”

“We have gotten really great feedback, including an App Store award from Apple for best apps in Egypt, and young Egyptians are logging on fast. We have over seven million users already and currently process three million annual transactions with an annual gross merchandise value of US $60 million, and these numbers are growing fast. Our team has had to grow with it,” Essawy said.

Lucky’s present activities are mostly in Egypt, but the firm has bigger hopes with its recent expansion into Morocco.

“Our mission is to bring a seamless shopping, saving and payment experience throughout the MENA region, and we are being deliberate and strategic with expansion priorities to ensure the best product-market fit as we grow,” said Moussa.

Lucky earns money from both the customer and merchant sides of the business. It gets a share from each of the 30,000 merchants on its network through transaction fees, and it also charges fees for the financial products it offers. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

“Lucky started as an in-store offers aggregation app, as that was where the biggest gap for our customers was at that time. Less than a year after we launched, the pandemic hit – suddenly all the stores were closed and everyone had to stay home! Obviously, companies of all stripes have had to grapple with the changes the pandemic has brought to the way people live, save and transact, but this required a lot of agility, willingness to change and execution speed on the part of a very new startup. Overnight, Lucky needed to include online and delivery-focused stores, not just in-store offers,” Essawy said.

“In a way, though, this pressure wound up making us better. Because of the responsiveness and focus required of us at such an early stage, Lucky has grown with a structure and a culture that’s adaptable, that listens to its customers and that executes on its strategies both thoughtfully and fast – the very things we have needed to be to grow in this market. We’re very proud of how our team has not only handled this challenge but has used it to make us who we are,” said Moussa.

 

 

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