Dubai-based Rise, a FinTech startup focusing on democratizing access to essential financial services for the modest-income migrant population in the GCC, has announced that the company has raised a seven-digit investment. The fundraising was led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) FinTech Fund, 500 Startups, Khwarizmi Ventures, and Phoenician Funds. With the secured funds, Rise will expand its team, further develop its financial products and services, and increase its footprint to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Launched in 2017 by a former World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Leadership Fellow, Padmini Gupta, Booz Allen Hamilton alum Milind Singh and serial entrepreneur Mandeep Singh, Rise is on a mission to bring the over 25 million migrant workforces in the GCC under the financial services network. The suite of services offered by Rise includes the ‘no minimum balance’ bank accounts, remittances, consumer loans in both UAE and migrant home countries, and bespoke insurance products. Since its launch in 2018, the platform has grown over 50% month-on-month and brought over US$125 million of annualized income into the financial services sector.
Commenting on the announcement, Padmini Gupta, Founder, and CEO of Rise said: “The investment response we have received has been gratifying and affirming. We are excited to proceed into the next phase of our growth backed by the strong support demonstrated by leading investors who are interested in our mission. We are confident that their unique skill sets and excellent knowledge and experience in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem will help us to scale our business to the next level.”
“At Rise, we offer a one-stop solution of all financial services for the underbanked at a fraction of cost across international boundaries with zero entry levels. Around the world, migrants’ remit around US$650 billion to their families back home, and we see this as a great opportunity for us. Remittances are made to meet everyday needs and facilitate long-term value creation, such as building a house, buying a car, and/or starting a business. We are proud to be the preferred platform of choice with tens of thousands of customers, to-date.” she added.
During 2019, Rise signed several partnership contracts with financial service providers launching insurance partnership with Axa, cross-border unsecured loans in the Philippines, the first ‘pay-later’ product in the GCC in partnership with Carrefour and a credit fund anchored by Astra Amco, one of the most significant hedge funds globally and an early stage Rise investor.
Milind Singh, Co-Founder & CPO, Rise said, “Our strategy is to facilitate a migrant to have access to a financial institution as streamlined and as on-demand as it is for any other resident. We integrate various financial products and customize it for the migrant. Our partners, investors, and our team at Rise realize the enormous opportunity that exists as key players in this financial arena.”
Commenting on the deal, Ankit Sarwahi from MEVP said, “We are hungry for business models that are earthmovers. Rise is building the world’s first financial institution for migrants that will function as a seamless platform that turbocharges asset creation, and they are doing so through technology and innovative partnership models. GCC generates US$150 billion in migrant income, and Rise is fundamentally re-organizing how this income has been managed historically.”
The Rise platform aims to bring its services to over a million migrants in the next two years and is targeting migrants from India, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Besides, the company is already in discussions with several financial institutions in over ten countries and expects to include new partners and products to their portfolio in the very near future.