Amwal Tech wins 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative finals in Saudi Arabia
- The Riyadh-headquartered fintech won for their innovative authentication-based payment solutions
- Amwal Tech will also represent Saudi Arabia in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) regional finals on July 27, 2023
- Lamaa won the Impact Award for positive social impact
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 15 June 2023 – Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has announced the winners of the Saudi Arabia edition of its 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global innovation program and competition for startups and fintech companies. This second year of the Saudi Arabia edition of VEI was open to fintechs in Saudi Arabia and, for the first time, Bahrain and Oman. An in-person final event was held in Riyadh on June 14, 2023 where the shortlisted fintechs from the three countries competed for monetary prizes, and access to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, and government sectors.
For Saudi Arabia, first place and prize money of SAR150,000 ($40,000 USD) went to Amwal Tech. The fintech company will also participate in the CEMEA regional finals for the Visa Everywhere Initiative, which will be live streamed on July 27 on TechCrunch. Fintechs at the CEMEA final will compete for a first-place prize of SAR75,000 ($20,000 USD), and Audience Favorite SAR37,500 ($10,000 USD).
Founded in 2022, Amwal Tech provides authentication-based payment solutions which combine identity-verification, fraud prevention and payment processing all through a single API. Their technology relies on the creation of unique payment tokens and identity tokens cryptographically on user's devices for a quicker and more secure online checkout experience.
Also honored at the VEI finale, Lamaa – which provides SMEs with technological, financially-inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions, was first runner-up with prize money of SAR100,000 ($27,000 USD). In third-place, Monak – which offers financial and lifestyle solutions for working expats, travelers and locals, received a total of SAR50,000 ($13,000 USD).
Fascano – an app providing smart solutions for order tracking, kitchen insights, and business management, won first place among Oman-based fintechs and prize money of OR15,000 ($40,000 USD).
Daleel – an interactive platform that helps consumers compare and find the right financial products, won first place among Bahrain-based fintechs and prize money of BD15,000 ($40,000 USD).
This year’s edition of VEI also introduced an Impact Award to the competitor whose solution has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Lamaa won the Impact Award for Saudi Arabia and received SAR50,000 ($13,000 USD) in prize money.
Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman commented: “Over the past two years, we have witnessed remarkable advancements in the Saudi fintech industry. Recognizing the immense potential of this sector, we are thrilled to have collaborated with Fintech Saudi for the second edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative in the Kingdom. We are delighted to announce the exceptional winners, runners-up, and the Impact Prize recipient of VEI. The presence of such outstanding fintechs and startups at this year's edition of VEI was truly exhilarating. We extend our heartfelt congratulations once again to all the winners and wish Amwal Tech the best of luck at the CEMEA regional finals."
“Our ongoing collaboration with the Visa Everywhere initiative strongly complements Fintech Saudi's mission to foster and uplift the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia and the region. The caliber of participants and their innovative solutions showcased this year left us deeply impressed. We extend our warmest congratulations to Amwal Tech and eagerly anticipate their representation of Saudi Arabia at the regional level,” said Nezar Alhaidar – Director of Fintech Saudi.
Each of these finalists presented their solutions to the payment challenges of tomorrow to an expert panel of judges which included:
- Nezar Alhaidar – Director of Fintech Saudi
- Nasser AlKathiri - Director of Entrepreneurship Enablement at Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia
- Firas Al Lawati - Acting GM payment Central Bank of Oman
- Yasmeen Al-Sharaf – Director - FinTech & Innovation Unit, Central Bank of Bahrain
- Carl Manlan – VP for Inclusive Impact & Sustainability at Visa – CEMEA region
- Ali Bailoun – Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman
The focus of this year’s competition is on enablers of digital services and digital issuers, digital issuance, value-add for merchants and/or consumers in the finance space and small- and medium-sized business recovery. Three new categories were introduced this year: sustainable fintech, risk and urban mobility.
By competing at the CEMEA regional finals in July, Amwal Tech will have the chance to advance to the global finals and compete against regional winners from Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. The global finale will be live streamed on September 19 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
More information on this year’s Visa Everywhere Initiative can be found here.