Lean Nets $33M to Expand 3rd-Party Real Time Payments in MENA


Sequoia Capital India has made its investment debut in the Arab Gulf by leading a $33 million Series A funding round for Lean Technologies, CNBC reported on Thursday (Jan. 20).

In addition to Sequoia and existing investors, General Electric Co.’s former chief Jeff Immelt participated in the financing round.

Lean said they plan to use the proceeds to hire staff and expand across the region.

Launched in 2019 and based in London and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Lean’s platform allows third-party financial services providers to initiate payments in real time and access their customer’s bank data with an application programming interface (API) across the Middle East and North Africa.

“We see ourselves ultimately as enablers, supporters of the [FinTech] ecosystem and as hopefully bastions of a new wave of FinTech innovation that will enable and spur a lot of very exciting changes in the lives of everyday people and businesses,” said Hisham Al-Falih, Lean’s co-founder and CEO.

Sequoia’s investment follows action by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to introduce an open banking to advance digital innovation in the financial services sector.

Learn more: Saudi Arabia’s Open Banking Plan Aims To Advance Digital Innovation

Saudi Arabia’s central bank said the plan is for open banking to launch in the first half of 2022. Through the initiatives in the policy, the goal is to foster the advancement of digital technologies and create new financial services and products.

Open banking, which is used across numerous countries, facilitates the connections and permissions between users’ banking data and third-party financial platforms. It enables the secure sharing of financial and other data to enable seamless digital payments and money transfers.