Over SAR1.3 Billion Has Been Invested In Saudi Fintech Industry In The Last 12 Months, According To Recent Annual Report

The number of Saudi fintech entities operating in the Kingdom rose significantly by 37%, with investments exceeding SAR1.3 billion (US$347 million).

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In the last 12 months, the fintech industry in KSA has taken a swift trajectory, according to the recent Fintech Saudi Annual Report 2020/2021. The number of Saudi fintech entities operating in the Kingdom rose significantly by 37%, with investments exceeding SAR1.3 billion (US$347 million).

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“During 2020/2021, we have seen the development of a maturing fintech industry in the Kingdom,” noted Nejoud Almulaik, Director of Fintech Saudi. “As we emerge from the challenges of COVID-19, it is clear that the digitalization experienced during the pandemic is here to stay.” He also commended the regularity authorities, emphasizing that, “regulation clarity is attracting more investment in the sector and driving the growth of the fintech industry.”

The report highlighted that over the last year, new fintech entities have emerged in various areas, such as payments, capital markets, insurance, and business tools for SMEs. The increase of regulatory and infrastructure developments such as the launch of the instant payment system Sarie in cooperation with IBM and Mastercard, and the Council of Ministers’ approval to license local digital banks, STC Bank and Saudi Digital Bank.

There’s also been a number of initiatives to support the development of the industry such as the Fintech Accelerator, Fintech Career Fair, the National Youth Art Competition and the first National Fintech Adoption Survey. It highlighted a few wins too: STC Pay achieving a billion-dollar valuation and becoming the first fintech unicorn in the Middle East, hosting a blockchain bootcamp in conjunction with ConsenSys, and the launch of Riyad Bank’s WSL platform, especially designed for entrepreneurs.

Source: Fintech Saudi

The report also gave an overview on fintech players in KSA’s ecosystem, with 42% at idea stage, 32% at pre-commercial and 26% that are fully operational and/or have a testing license. As for industry verticals, startups in payments and currency exchange leads at 32%, followed by entities in lending and finance at 19%. Compared to the 2019/2020 report, it also saw a huge growth in funding, with 20 number of deals completed between September 2020 and August 2021.

With the continuous support from venture investors, new regulations, national fintech initiatives, as well as the launch of the country’s open banking framework to provide third parties with access to a bank’s systems and lower the barriers to entry for fintech solutions, are expected to bring in a new generation of fintech solutions in KSA.

Launched by the Saudi Central Bank, in partnership with the Capital Markets Authority, Fintech Saudi was established to transform KSA into an innovative fintech hub and ecosystem. The Fintech Saudi Annual Report is consisted of a number of sections, including an overview of open banking in KSA, an in-depth analysis into talent and venture capital in the Kingdom. Click here to access the report.

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