Kema's US$2M Funding Boost Aims to Digitise B2B Payments, Encourage SME Growth
Mokshita P.
What's the Deal

Kema's US$2M Funding Boost Aims to Digitise B2B Payments, Encourage SME Growth

Kema, secures US$2 million in pre-seed funding led by Speedinvest and Dubai Foundation District Fund. The startup, founded by Michael Ghandour, aims to transform B2B financial workflows, addressing cash flow challenges for SMEs in the region.

Kema, a platform founded by Michael Ghandour, former co-founder of, has successfully raised a US$2 million pre-seed round. The funding was led by Speedinvest, with participation from the Dubai Foundation District Fund (DFDF). Kema aims to transform the B2B payment landscape by digitising, automating, and streamlining the invoice-to-cash process, commonly known as accounts receivable.

The company's founder and CEO, Michael Ghandour, shared insights into the challenges faced by B2B SMEs, emphasizing the elusive nature of a healthy and predictable cash flow cycle due to persistent payment delays, manual invoice workflows, and limited access to SME financing.

According to a 2021 UAE Central Bank report, the business payments volume in the UAE surpassed US$1.5 trillion, outpacing retail payments by almost 50 percent. However, the financial operations of B2B SMEs have historically lagged, characterised by analog and inefficient processes.

Kema plans to utilize the newly acquired funds to launch its SaaS platform tailored to support the SME segment, expand its solution across the UAE, and recruit top talent for its growth.

The B2B payments market in the UAE is identified as massive but fragmented, with a 2023 PWC report estimating that US$44 billion of working capital is trapped in 424 regional companies. Kema's co-founder and CTO, Akash Rao, highlighted the impact, suggesting that over 500,000 B2B SMEs exist across the MENA region, with a staggering US$400 billion trapped in working capital across their balance sheets.

Since the private beta version rollout in Q2 of 2023, Kema has facilitated over AED 16.5 million in invoices. The platform boasts the ability to slash the receivables process by up to 50 percent, with ongoing efforts to add new features catering to various business types and sizes.

Kema's approach to facilitating user onboarding involves hassle-free "no-code" plug-ins that seamlessly sync with leading accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks. Businesses can quickly unlock the benefits of Kema, including generating and processing invoices, embedding payment links, sending reminders, and receiving payments through various digital channels, all while gaining real-time analytics on their cash flow.

In a post-COVID-19 era, where 90 percent of SMEs in MENA view digitisation as a growth leader, Kema's solution comes at a timely juncture. Government initiatives, such as the Dubai International Growth initiative and the Financial Sector Development Program in KSA, further contribute to creating an environment conducive to SME growth.

Stefan Klestil, a partner at Speedinvest, expressed excitement about Kema's potential to enhance financial workflows for B2B SMEs, highlighting the platform's ability to empower businesses to unlock growth and opportunity in the region.

Sharif El-Badawi, CEO of the Dubai Future District Fund, emphasised the alignment of Kema's comprehensive solution with the Dubai Economic Agenda and the Future of Finance, recognising the company's deep understanding of SME financing pain points and its potential applicability to emerging markets.

As Kema sets its sights on reshaping B2B financial workflows, the funding injection positions the platform to play an important role in advancing the digitisation of core financial functions for SMEs in the UAE and beyond.