ImpactAlpha, February 1 – MNT-Halan’s evolution into an Egyptian “super-app” is long and complex. The quick version: In 2019, founder Mounir Nakhla merged his microfinance and digital wallet businesses with his ride-hailing business Halan after seeing the writing on the wall for Halan’s growth opportunity.
“I told my co-founder this ride-hailing business is not going to go very far. What we need now is to really focus on digitally banking the unbanked—it’s a huge market in Egypt,” Nakhla told ImpactAlpha last year.
MNT-Halan now offers business loans, digital payments, consumer finance and e-commerce services to five million Egyptians. The company uses its own banking software to reach customers who are both online and offline and handle transactions in multiple currencies.
MNT-Halan is on a fundraising tear to finance its growth. Chimera Abu Dhabi invested $200 million for a 20% stake. MNT-Halan has also raised $140 million by securitizing loans on its book through two bond offerings.
The majority of MNT-Halan’s lending is to small business owners. Rates are comparable to credit cards, but far below what informal lenders charge, Nakhla said. Many of its customers are seventh, eighth and ninth-time borrowers, he added. “It really shows that the customer came, grew his business and came back for another loan.”
To expand services, like buy-now pay-later, to unbanked customers, MNT-Halan relies on micro-loan officers around the country (the company leverages its old ride-hailing tech to connect officers with customers.)
“You need feet on the street to do it,” Nakhla explained. “But once you have this, renewals can be done automatically.”