Egyptian digital banking startup Telda has raised $5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by American VC giant Sequoia Capital.
Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global joined the round for Telda, which was founded just last month by former Uber engineer Youssef Sholqamy and Ahmed Sabbah, who co-founded Cairo-based ride-sharing firm Swvl.
Telda has already become the first company to receive a license from the Central Bank of Egypt under the new Banking Agents regulations, empowering it to issue cards and on-board customers to its app.
Users can set up an account through the app with their phone number and national IDs and get an Iban and Mastercard-powered card. In its first month of operation, the startup has acquired over 30,000 sign-ups.
The investment is Sequoia's first in the Mena region and the VC's partner, George Robson, likens Egypt to Brazil, where Sequoia counts the giant Nubank among its investments.
"Both countries boast a large, young, talented and tech savvy population with a strong appetite to innovate," says Robson.
Adds Sholqamy: "Today’s funding milestone promotes the digital transformation of the Egyptian economy and allows Telda to provide everyone with access to important financial services so they can fully participate in the economy."