Sympl –Egypt’s first Save Now Pay Later offering– picked up $6 million in a seed round led by Dany Farha (Beco Capital founder), Karim Beshara (A15 founder), and Leonard Kirtman (Global Ventures founder), only five months after the startup’s launch in August 2021.
Co-founded by Mohamed El-Feky, Yasmine Henna, and Karim Tawfik, Sympl has onboarded over 240 retailers in Egypt, including the biggest Sony-Playstation reseller XPRS, hypermarket Hyprone, Apple-authorized reseller Tradeline, and automobile e-store Your Parts. Tawfik said the company plans to use the fresh funds to secure partnerships with more than 1000 stores in Egypt, increase staffing, upgrade tech, and expand across all 27 governorates. Currently, its footprint exists in only two Egyptian governorates.
El-Feky confirms the next round of investment will further the company’s mission to expand internationally. Eyeing Saudi Arabia as the most likely destination, he says, “It is one of the most vibrant markets and populous markets and has similar demographics and consumer behavior. So I think this would be our first regional step out of Egypt.”
His prior experience in financial institutions –with a focus on consumer finance– is reassuring for investors across the board. Before founding El-Feky, he co-created ValU, Egypt’s revolutionary consumer finance app under EFG Hermes. He has also worked in leading Egyptian banks and finance companies such as Bank Audi, Mashreq Bank, and OrasInvest in supervisory and managerial roles.
In fact, he believes he was lucky to have worked at ValU because many of their early merchants knew of the app’s success and wanted to partner with him and Henna at Sympl.
Yasmine Mohmed Henna, the chief commercial officer at Sympl, thinks their strategic partnership with Tradeline, the largest reseller in Egypt of iPhone 13, in October after the mobile phone’s launch helped them gain the much-needed visibility they needed. With Sympl, Apple lovers could shop for the iPhone online or offline with no interest, ensuring a hassle-free pay later solution.
Henna shares, “They like the platform because they think it’s unique because, for the first time in Egypt, we’re offering debit or pay later options for the debit card population in Egypt.” This step also empowered merchants to offer flexible payment plans to customers without the hassle of traditional financings like credit and interest impact.
The latest data reveals that Sympl is growing 25% week-on-week concerning the transactions made on the platform across fashion, jewelry, electronics, furniture, travel, appliances, education, and healthcare industries. Though Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) has taken the world by storm, there’s a newfound rise in demand for this service in Egypt, which businesses are tapping into.
Chief Executive Officer El-Feky agrees, “We all joined forces to establish Sympl because we all share the vision that there is a huge opportunity for BNPL in Egypt, given its very populous market. It’s a consumer purchase driven market where we have a lot of accessibility to consumer products and services, online or offline.”
However, Karim Tawfik, the company’s chief technology officer, chimes in to say that Sympl stands out as a save your money, pay later model than a typical BNPL model. The latter involves allowing the customer to split their purchase into a few installments. Normally, the first payment accounts for 25% of the total price. The rest of the payments are made in three installments, dates fixed by the seller.
Unlike a BNPL model, Sympl’s co-founders encourage customers to save money while making purchases. The app works differently, acknowledging the funds in the customer’s bank account upon purchase and then charging a fixed fee of 100 Egyptian pounds. The app teaches customers to manage their cash flow better than compromising their lifestyles. This upfront fee covers the collection of future repayments on a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly basis and remains the same irrespective of the purchase price.
These differing plans cater to all kinds of individuals: freelancers, full-timers, part-timers, gig workers, etc. No pre-registration is required, and the short-term zero interest payment plan is approved at checkout to “ promote customer saving and a better matching of income and expenditure.”
“This is the saving that we do to the customer. So instead of spending all your money right now on a single transaction, you can walk out of the store having the product and having your money in your pocket while paying it on three to five equal payments. It can be on a monthly, bi-weekly or weekly basis,” El Feky exclaims.
Targeting nearly 50 million credit and debit cardholders countrywide, Tawfik says he wants to incentivize customers in Egypt at checkout, online, or in-store and offer sellers more choices to fulfill purchases. El Feky is hopeful that more customers will come forward to embrace the promising future of online shopping with Sympl. He concludes by saying, “[We] look forward to growing our presence among other local merchants, while simplifying the buying process for customers, especially in underserved segments left behind by traditional pay later offerings.”