Powerful ideas for startups are often shared globally – ride-hailing apps are used across the world nowadays, with many startups growing at neck-breaking speed in the industry. However, as the Careem-Uber deal has indicated, an idea becomes truly exceptional and scalable when it is applied with local knowledge.
Despite the extensive international presence and large sums of money raised, Uber still faced stiff competition in the Middle East and North Africa from its much smaller local rival Careem, which knew the ins and outs of the local market – something that is incredibly difficult to beat.
Financial technology – or FinTech – is no different. Ahmed Wadi, co-founder of Egypt-based MoneyFellows, talked to Wamda about his journey to founding a FinTech startup using “gam’eya”, the informal lending circles commonly practised in Egypt.
This phenomenon is also called the Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA), which is where a small group of people contribute an amount to a larger pot each month and take turns to receive the full amount every month.
Applying this concept to form his own startup seems to be paying off – after founding MoneyFellows in the United Kingdom in 2016, Ahmed decided to move to Egypt with his co-founder Adham Badr, and join the local accelerator Flat6Labs Cairo. Since then, the company has raised $600,000 and is quickly expanding into different avenues. Read more about the journey of Ahmed Wadi here.