MENA region is one of the hotspots that has seen Fintech’s grow. From Setting up Sandbox to establishing ‘Reglab’, which eases Fintech establishment; this region has it all. At the same time, Fintechs are anchoring the reforms and bringing in massive opportunities to grow, enabling the MENA region to attract top international company’s investments. This notable progress has only been possible with a few key individuals influencing the reforms. Here is “The Digital Fifth’s” list of Top 30 Fintech Influencers in the MENA region, filtered to honor their contribution to Fintech and BFSI sectors.
Abdulaziz F Aljouf: Founder and CEO at PayTabs
LinkedIn: Abdulaziz F Aljouf
PayTabs is backed by the Saudi Aramco through its investment arm, i.e., ‘Waed Entrepreneurs Venture’. Under the leadership of Abdulaziz F Aljouf, PayTabs has become the tool offering a one-stop-shop solution to wire merchants’ money to their respective accounts in a span of three days. Abdulaziz’s helped PayTabs transform payment complexities with a more straightforward solution, becoming the forefront solution to anyone who wants a payment gateway in the MENA region. PayTabs has been engineered to provide state-of-the-art M-Commerce and E-Commerce to expand online sales in the Middle East and Northern Africa regions.
Abdulla Almoayed: Founder and CEO at Almoayed Technologies & Tarabut Gateway
Linked in: Abdulla Almoayed
This serial entrepreneur is the Founder and CEO of two companies that revolutionize the Open Banking, Fintech, and Digital Infrastructure, serving governments and banks in the MENA region. Under his leadership, Almoayed technologies developed a common platform that eliminates the technical barriers in implementing Open Banking, enabling banks to deliver banking services and payments quickly and efficiently to the customers. Tarabut gateway helps financial institutions build a network of financial services in the MENA region via APIs, facilitating the distribution of personalized financial services.
Ahmed Al-Munayes: Co-Founder & CGO – Tap payments
LinkedIn: Ahmed Al-Munayes
Tap offers Innovative, Simplified, seamless Payment solutions for businesses. Some of the services they offer are Payments, Payment Gateway, Offline billing, Invoicing, e-commerce, Online payments, go-Collect, go-Sell, go-Tap, Online billing payment processing. Mr. Ahmed Al-Munayes was very instrumental in Tap’s evolution as a safe, robust and innovative platform that serves every business’s needs.
Ahmed Moor: Co-Founder and CEO at Liwwa
Liwwa.com is a P2P lender in the space of SME loans and receivables, operating digitally in Jordan and Egypt. Liwwa.com has underwritten almost 10 million USD in loans and has helped create close to 500 jobs, 1.77 million USD in income and 13.05 million USD in economic output. Ahmed’s leadership has helped Liwwa.com expand the business and provide loans to small businesses in the MENA region, on a mission to promote job and income growth.
Ahmed Wadi: Founder and CEO at MoneyFellows
LinkedIn: Ahmad Wadi
MoneyFellows is a collaborative platform for Group Savings and Lending. Moneyfellows aims to digitize the traditional ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association) model known as Gam’eya’ / Chitfunds / Tandas. This platform will help customers with a convenient solution to find and manage money circles online. Ahmed Wadi’s initiative has grown 25% in business for over two years and is looking to expand the business to every community in the MENA region.
Altaf Ahmed: Director, Retail IoT – Digital Channels & Payment Solutions at Etisalat
LinkedIn: Altaf Ahmed
Mr Altaf is a founding member of the MENA Fintech Association and has diversified expertise in Digital Banking, Mobile & E-Business, Remittances, and Payments. He has been one of the driving forces of Etisalat Group’s vision of ‘Driving the Digital Future to empower societies’. He was also instrumental in developing the Omni-channel payments platform, Digital and Biometric KYC solutions, Management of POS services for Banks, Processors, and large corporates in the M.E. region.
Ambareen Musa: Founder and CEO, Souqalmal.com
LinkedIn: Ambareen Musa
Souqalmal.com is the first online comparison site in the MENA region, focused on Financial and Non-Financial products, allowing its users to compare over 1,000 options to choose from and post their opinions and reviews about the products. Ambareen was very instrumental in the growth and market positioning. Souqalmal.com as one of the top 100 most promising SME’s by the Dubai government entity, marking Ambareen as one of the top 50 influential women in the Arab World.
Arif Amiri: CEO at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
LinkedIn: Arif Amiri
DIFC is the first financial center for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region. It aims to prove a world-class platform to connect with economies of Europe, Asia, and America. DIFC is a stable, mature and secure base for financial institutions to evolve and transform Financial Services. Arif Amir is responsible for the MENA region’s strategic initiatives to promote Fintechs, Open Banking initiatives and digital initiatives in the Banking and Financial Services.
Barbaros Ozbugutu, Co-Founder & CEO of iyzico & CEO PayU Turkey.
LinkedIn: Barbaros Ozbugutu
Mr Barbaros is the founding CEO of PayU Turkey, one of the few Payments companies in Istanbul and Iyzico. They are currently in pursuit to transform the payment processing experience for businesses through its bank-integrated, fraud-protected payment platform tailored to the nuances of the Turkish market. PayU and Iyzico are recognized as the fastest-growing start-ups in Turkey.
Bashar Saleh, CEO at PointCheckout
LinkedIn: Bashar Saleh
Bashar is a seasoned leader, entrepreneur, and technologist. He has cofounded two technology start-up companies in MENA. His latest venture, PointCheckout, is the payment gateway enabling reward points and miles, allowing reward program members to spend their points on any online store instantly. PointCheckout saves reward issuers up to 70% of the cost of handling a redemption network, with full data analytics on customer behaviour. Online merchants can benefit from a new customer base, larger basket size and higher conversion on their baskets.
Chadi El Nawar, Co-founder & GM at RISK+ SOLUTIONS
Risk+ is a Fintech company based in Beirut, Lebanon, specialized in developing and implementing end-to-end risk management and financial intelligence solutions. Risk+ aims to help banks elevate their risk management practices from a regulatory compliance exercise to a strategy optimization driver. Under Nawar’s leadership, Risk+ is currently advising several banks on risk management practices for their Digital and Open banking initiatives.
Craig Moore: Founder and CEO at Beehive
LinkedIn: Craig Moore
Craig takes responsibility for the strategic direction and the management of the day-to-day operations at Beehive. Beehive is the UAE’s first online peer-to-peer lending firm, building mutually beneficial partnerships between smart investors and creditworthy businesses. Craig’s leadership has helped the company use innovative technology, eliminating the cost and complexity of finance in crowdfunding, giving access to faster and low-cost finance to businesses.
Eric Modave, Chief Operating Officer – Arab Bank
Eric Modave is Chief Operating Officer at Arab Bank, since July 2014. He was appointed Non-Executive Director, Europe Arab Bank plc in April 2016. Mr Eric has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry. Under his leadership, the Arab Bank launched AB Accelerator and AB Ventures. AB Accelerator is a Fintech-focused corporate accelerator of Arab Bank, intending to adopt emerging technology solutions while AB Ventures is a pillar in Arab Bank’s Digital Innovation Strategy
Hadi Radwan: CEO at Aqeed
LinkedIn: Hadi Radwan
A visionary, strategist, and person responsible for the design, development, and marketing at Aqeed helped the company conceptualize launch and perform extraordinarily. This executive and global leader packs in 14 years of hands-on experience to contribute to online start-ups’ growth. Aqeed is a Fintech company, focussing on making insurance simple to understand, manage and buy insurance transparently and quickly.
Hakan Eroglu: Global Open Banking Lead at Mastercard, Middle East and Africa Innovation Consultant on Central Bank Digital Currency, Open Banking, Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time Payments (RTP)
LinkedIn: Hakan Eroglu
Hakan is an advisor to the MENA Fintech Association and Arab Monitory fund Chairman on the Open Banking and Digital Payments initiatives. He is also the Innovation consultant at MasterCard for the Middle East and Africa, overlooking the Central Bank Digital Currency initiatives, Open Banking, Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time Payments (RTP). He is an avid contributor for driving the current Open Banking initiatives in the region.
Hosam Arab, Co-founder and CEO at Tabby (BNPL)
LinkedIn: Hosam Arab
Hosam Cofounded and runs Tabby, a young Buy-Now-Pay-Later company founded in 2019. Tabby partners with retailers to offer their customers, both online and in-store, the ability to defer paying for their purchases for up to 30 days or to pay in four equal monthly instalments at zero cost to the consumer. Tabby customers can use its service across more than 500 merchants, including brands like “IKEA”, “Toys R Us” and “Ace Hardware”, and regional retail giants such as Al Futtaim Group.
Islam Shawky: Co-founder and CEO at PayMob
PayMob is a leading digital payments company in partnership with MasterCard, a handful of Banks and Mobile Network operators, empowering millions of customer transactions in Egyptian Pound. Islam was very instrumental in PayMob’s comprehensive, in-house developed payments suite, facilitating both online and offline payment channels. PayMob’s services empower businesses to get paid immediately when their customer makes a payment.
Jayesh Patel: Head of Liv. Digital Bank
LinkedIn: Jayesh Patel
Liv Digital Bank is a No-Paperwork Digital only initiative of Emirates NBD, aiming to reimagine Banking’s future. Liv Bank offers attractive interest rates, provides offers at the most visited places with automatic expense tracking and offer suggestions on savings. Jayesh is responsible for building and launching the fastest growing bank in UAE, in a span of nine months, and aims to bring forth enhancements to making banking seamless and personalized for excellent user experience. His long-term vision has consolidated Liv Bank to be one of the top digital banks internationally.
Jon Richards, CEO at yallacompare.com
LinkedIn: Jon Richards
Yallacompare (formerly compareit4me.com) is the Middle East’s leading comparison site. Using Yallacompare platform, users can compare and apply for bank accounts, insurance policies, credit cards, loans, cars and the services are available across nine markets across the MENA region. Additionally, Yallacompare is committed to bringing more transparency to the region’s finance industry, actively works to educate users so that financial literacy can be improved across the Middle East. Jon Richards is the founding CEO of the compareit4me and has been pivotal in the firm’s growth.
Khalid Saad, FinTech Venture and Ecosystem Builder
LinkedIn: Khalid Saad
Mr Khalid is a FinTech entrepreneur and advisor who is passionate about encouraging innovation in Digital Transformation. He is the Founding Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain FinTech Bay, the largest FinTech platform in the MENA region. S&P Global Ratings recognized Bahrain FinTech Bay as one of the two most advanced FinTech ecosystems in the MENA region. Currently, Bahrain Fintech Bay houses several Fintechs, crowdfunding firms, and companies focused on artificial intelligence, blockchain, and payments to transform the banking sector.
Khalil Alami, CEO at Telr
LinkedIn: Khalil Alami
Telr is a payment gateway provider with offices in Singapore, UAE, India and Saudi Arabia. Telr helps businesses manage and enable payments acceptance via the web, mobile and social media through APIs and personalized tools. Under the leadership of Khalil, Telr is spreading its commitment to facilitate e-commerce in emerging markets. Khail is also a board member at Young Entrepreneurs Association (Jordan), Arab Monitory Fund and a few more establishments.
Mohammed Aziz: Co-Founder at DAPI
LinkedIn: Mohammed Aziz
DAPI is a real-time digital payments company that enables companies to accept bank payments on any application with zero cost, through compatible APIs. DAPI is on a mission to reduce the cost of online payments processing and simplify the payments on every interoperable platform. Aziz has a passion for transforming projects into successful ventures like DAPI, while Airscope Unmanned Systems and Airfilms Products B.V were his earlier fortes.
Nadine Mezher: Co-Founder and CMO at Sarwa
LinkedIn: Nadine Mezher
Sarwa is an automated hybrid financial investment platform which combines the traditional investment managers with technological platforms. Combining investment strategies with technology, Sarwa enables easy and affordable investment options to the customers in the MENA region. Nadine’s strategic planning and marketing helped Sarwa to grow into a multimillion-dollar firm quickly.
Omar Onsi: Founder and CEO at NymCard
LinkedIn: Omar Onsi
NymCard is a cloud-based card issuance and processing platform aiming to enable the next-gen solution for Payments in the MENA region. NymCard is the first modern cloud-based payment card issuance platform in the MENA region. Their Open API system has improved the development and deployment of the physical and virtual cards, eliminating the legacy infrastructure’s dependency. Omar Onsi’s vision of developing a fully programmable infrastructure for cards aims to reduce the time required to create a card program and create a unique platform for payments.
Raja Al Mazrouei, Board Director, Financial Innovation Executive
LinkedIn: Raja Al Mazrouei
Raja has been the primary contributor to developing the financial technology entrepreneurs ecosystem in Dubai, named a top ten global FinTech hub. Today, Raja is one of the region’s most successful contributor to various financial technology hubs and has been working towards building a vibrant and dynamic community of over 200 FinTech, RegTech, and InsurTech firms operating in the DIFC. The rapid growth of the FinTech Hive under Raja’s leadership has been recognized on a global scale, with it being ranked one of the world’s best financial innovation labs.
Sam Quawasmi, Co-CEO & Co-founder of Eureeca.com
LinkedIn: Sam Quawasmi
Sam is co-founder of a Eureeca focused Equity Crowdfunding. Under his leadership, Eureeca.com became a Multi-regulated Equity Crowdfunding platform globally that operates in the UK/ Europe, the Middle East, and SE Asia. Through Eureeca.com, Sam envisions to achieve the financial world’s democratization, digital and mobile investment banking, and investment banking through online channels.
Shayne Nelson: Director (KSA, PJSC, PSC) at Emirates NBD
Emirates NBD is at the forefront of the innovation in Open Banking solutions in the Middle East region. Under Shayne’s leadership, Emirates NBD launched Open Banking sandbox, a self-contained and progressive environment, providing developers and Fintechs with real-time banking space to create innovative apps and services. Under various initiatives taken by him, connecting to Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) was one. The platform has access to data related to 1 million customers from retail, corporates, SME businesses through five million simulated transactions. The platform houses close to 200 APIs and 900 endpoints.
Sridhar Iyer: Head of Mashreq Neo (Digital Bank)
LinkedIn: Sridhar Iyer
Sridhar Iyer is the Head of Mashreq Neo which is the first Digital Bank in the GCC. This Digital Bank initiative comes from Mashreq Bank, one of the largest privately-owned banks in the UAE. Mashreq’s Digital initiative offers Mashreq Neo for individual customers and Mashreq NeoBiz for business customers. These initiatives are aimed to entirely run branchless and connect with the next generation of digitally savvy customers with full-scale Banking services on their platform. Sridhar Iyer was widely instrumental from concept to the launch of Mashreq Neo.
Talal Bayaa, Co-Founder and CEO at Bayzat
LinkedIn: Talal Bayaa
Bayzat is a UAE-based technology start-up that empowers businesses with smart and adequate insurance & HR solutions. Bayzat is the first one-stop-shop to offer a real-time comparison of health insurance rates in UAE and much more. Talal is the visionary leader and looks after strategic management for the company and ensures the highest quality of the services provided.
Ziad Al Yousef: Director at Saudi Payments
LinkedIn: Ziad Al Yousef
Zaid is one of the most influential and respected leaders in the Financial Services and Payment services across the Middle East’s public and private sectors. Saudi Payments bring MADA, SADAD, SARIE and ESAI under one umbrella as an operator of the National Payments Infrastructure, supporting Saudi Arabia’s direction towards a cashless society. Zaid has extensive knowledge and experience on the Financial Payments industry and is very instrumental in transforming FinTech Saudi initiatives into a high-growth driven environment.