Egyptian fintech Money Fellows has raised $31 million for its mobile-based platform for money circles - where a group of people put money into a pot for a specific period so that they can save and borrow together.
Popular in Egypt and other Arab countries under the name “Gameya”, Money Circles are also known as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs).
ROSCAs work by pulling together a group of people that each agree to pay a set amount of money each month for a set amount of time. Each month, one member gets that period's amount. So, if 10 people agree to pay $100 for 10 months, each month one member receives $1000.
By digitising money circles, Money Fellows says it is helping users to broaden their potential pool of partners beyond the traditional group of close friends and family.
The company claims hundreds of thousands of monthly active users and 8x year-on-year growth. The new funding will be used to diversify its portfolio of services and geographical expansion across Africa and Asia.
The Series B round was led by CommerzVentures, Middle East Venture Partners and Arzan Venture Capital, with participation from Invenfin, National Investment Company, Partech, Sawari Ventures, 4DX and P1Ventures.
Hangwi Muambadzi, venture partner, CommerzVentures, says: "Rotating Savings and Credit Associations have been deeply embedded in emerging markets across the world for centuries.
"It is brilliant to see this new digital RoSCA-driven model emerge from Africa, creating a trusted model of delivering financial solutions and setting a new standard on using localised solutions to solve for global opportunities."