The company’s investors include Visa, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital and Goodwater Capital, as well as angel investors like Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, footballers Blaise Matuidi and Kieran Gibbs and others.
Bloom was founded by Ahmed Ismail, Youcef Oudjidane, Khalid Keenan and Abdigani Diriye to help Sudanese individuals hedge against rising devaluation, the release said. It offers fee-free accounts for users to save in dollars and buy and spend in Sudanese pounds.
It also provides local and dollar cards and a feature where users can receive remittances free of charge from several countries globally, primarily where most of the Sudanese diaspora reside. The release noted that Bloom has partnered with Export Development Bank, which handles deposits.
The investment from Visa came as one of the incentives for Bloom’s participation in the global card scheme’s FinTech Fast Track Program, which saw Bloom switch its cards from Mastercard to Visa.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Ismail said “the Visa investment is critical for companies like us for a couple of reasons. One, aligning with Visa as a partner gives you a bunch of benefits, launching products faster, marketing support and product support; and two, in addition to the investment, Visa Fintech Fast Track enables you to access these incentives in a streamlined way.”
In the press release, Ahmed Mohey, Visa country general manager for Sudan and Libya, commented, “Together with Bloom, we will continue to drive acceptance of digital payments while finding opportunities to launch new products and services to Sudanese customers and merchants.”
Roel Janssen, a partner at Global Founders Capital, added, “We are very excited by our investment in Bloom. Its experienced and talented founding team has the drive and expertise to build a product that is universally valued by consumers, partners and regulators in Sudan and the wider East Africa region.”
The ability to hold foreign currency as a hedge against inflation is extremely useful in a country that has suffered from a scarcity of foreign currency reserves since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
FinTech solutions that allow people to access foreign exchange instruments and hold multiple currencies in a single digital wallet provide an important weapon in Sudan’s fight against inflation.
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