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"We Got Funded!" UAE-Based Keyper Raises US$4 Million In A Pre-Series A Round, And An Additional $30 Million In Sukuk Financing With this influx of funds, Keyper is set to further digitize the UAE's rental ecosystem, while also allocating some amount towards innovating its rent-now-pay-later solution.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Sam Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Keyper
Omar Abu Innab, co-founder and CEO, Keyper

Keyper, a UAE-based rent-now-pay-later (RNPL) platform, has raised US$4 million in a pre-series A equity round led by BECO Capital, a UAE-headquartered early-stage venture capital (VC) firm, and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), a Middle East-focused VC firm that invests in early and growth stage tech startups.

The round also saw the participation of some of Keyper's existing investors such as Vivium Holding, Jabbar Group, Signature Developers, as well as new investors including Annex Investments, Pin Investment, and Al Qahtani Investment.

In addition to the pre-series A equity capital raise, Keyper has also signed a term sheet agreement for an additional US$30 million in Shari'ah-compliant sukuk financing from Franklin Templeton Middle East, a UAE-based global asset manager that is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

With both sets of financing, the proptech startup's accumulated capital has now reached over US$40 million.

With this influx of funds, Keyper co-founder and CEO Omar Abu Innab explains that his platform is set to further digitize the UAE's rental ecosystem, while also allocating an amount towards innovating its RNPL solution.

"At Keyper, our rental experience is already digital-first, from digitally onboarding owner property portfolios, triggering, and activating a listing of a unit, to booking a viewing, to signing and most importantly, paying for your rent" Abu Innab says. "Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven automations are already empowering our team to handle more leads in less time than the market standard. Additionally, it is also giving the landlord full visibility during the leasing journey. In the coming weeks and months, we will thus be launching more digital solutions not only aimed at improving the experience of property search, but also post offers. For example, a feature we are excited about is the first fully digital tenant screening tool in Dubai. This will bring Keyper tenants at par with the standards in top real estate markets like New York and London, ensuring that every tenant placed by Keyper is fully vetted in a fair and transparent manner."

Related: "We Got Funded!" Hong Kong-Headquartered Mantra Raises US$11 Million In A Funding Round Led By Shorooq Partners

A snapshot of the Keyper platform, which is available on both Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Source: Keyper

But according to Abu Innab, apart from introducing more digitally accessible amenities within the UAE real estate sector, there is one particularly dire need within the market that needs to be addressed: rental cash flow solutions in the UAE market. And according to the co-founder, his startup's sukuk financing could hold the key to negating this bottleneck.

"Keyper's sukuk financing enables landlords to access their future rental cash flow at any point during the lease and across their entire portfolio, allowing them to buy a new unit or pay for an unexpected expense," Abu Innab explains. "For tenants, it offers monthly rent payments that address the growing pain points of ongoing rental costs. This alleviates the need to pay up to 12 months of rent in advance, allowing them to manage their expenses. The effects will thus be two-fold. It will introduce UAE landlords to a more financial perspective of their real estate investments, triggering an expectation that other ecosystem players provide them with the same level of data and access to financial solutions. For tenants, it will create an expectation that monthly digital payments are available for all units. Our hope is to collaborate with other ecosystem players to enable digital rental payments and cashflow solutions for their clients."

Abu Innab reveals that Keyper's $30 million sukuk financing also holds additional gravitas owing to the amount raised. "This financing will be the largest Shariah-compliant financing raised by an early-stage startup in the Middle East, which will benefit landlords and tenants that have been limited by the lack of Islamic financing options available in the real estate market," he reveals.

So far, Keyper's operational model to serve the nation's real estate market seems to have held the proptech startup in excellent stead. In 2024 alone, the platform onboarded more than 3,000 residential units worth $2 billion, thereby processing over $10 million in annual rent payments and deploying over $1 million in annual rent facilitation through its RNPL product. And the secret to unlocking such milestones, Abu Innab says, lies in the Keyper team's ability to recognize the trends that dictate the sector's performance.

"We have seen a growing sophistication among UAE landlords- they want data and financial offerings contextual to their real estate investments, the same way that they do with their stocks," he says. "To do this, there must be the integration of technology, data, finance and real estate expertise. Keyper is the only player in the UAE market (and one of the few globally) that combines these four key elements. Landlords have been eagerly waiting for a solution like ours, which explains our growth in property accounts, in spite of our limited marketing to date."

Abu Innab continues that keeping a keen eye out for shifts in the ecosystem is not just reserved for the property owners. "On the consumer side, there is a growing concern around affordability of rent," Abu Innab reveals. "A growing population that is not being matched by the increase in rental supply, which is significantly composed of young professionals, is struggling to make sense of how and why to pay 12 months in advance. They either don't have the funds or struggle to justify the opportunity cost of putting up that much money in advance, instead of investing it or keeping it for their emergency fund. That, coupled with their growing expectation of digital payment solutions, has made RNPL a no-brainer for them."

Source: Keyper

With the above trends in mind, and the whopping $34 million freshly injected into the startup's operations, Abu Innab will now hope to continue Keyper's mission to keep digitally transforming the UAE's real estate market. "Our goal is that the rental journey in the UAE becomes digital-first!" he declares. "For that, you will, of course, need agents and in-person viewings, but many of the components of the journey that today lead to unsatisfactory experiences will be disrupted and digitized. This will not only make the journey smoother for all involved parties, but also bring fairness and transparency to the rental processes."

'TREP TALK: Omar Abu Innab shares his tips for entrepreneurs seeking to raise funds

Find a specific problem "Always look for a problem you are solving for consumers or businesses and have a key total addressable market."

Build a network "Speak to as many investors (individuals and VCs). Continue building relationships and maintaining dialogue for future rounds and partnerships"

Create a roadmap "Focus on showing proof of early traction (successful case studies), path to profitability, and healthy margins (growing revenues is no longer enough!)"

Related: Embracing The Experience Economy In Real Estate Through Digital Transformation
Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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