Kema Raises $2m to Transform B2B Cash Flow in MENA

Kema Raises $2m to Transform B2B Cash Flow in MENA 

Kema, a UAE-based Fintech platform founded by Michael Ghandour, has successfully raised a $2 million pre-seed round led by Speedinvest, with participation from Dubai Foundation District Fund (DFDF). Kema's primary goal is to reshape how businesses conduct B2B transactions by digitising, automating, and streamlining the invoice-to-cash process, known as accounts receivable. By embracing this innovative approach, businesses can enjoy accelerated and automated cash flow, resulting in significant time and cost savings. The investment will be utilised to launch its SaaS platform tailored to support the SME segment, expand its presence across the UAE, and recruit top talent to fuel its expansion efforts.

The B2B payments landscape is substantial but fragmented. According to a 2021 report by the UAE Central Bank, business payments in the UAE surpassed $1.5 trillion, nearly 50% higher than retail payments. Despite this significant volume, the financial operations of B2B SMEs have traditionally been cumbersome and less efficient compared to larger enterprises. Kema's founder and CEO, Michael Ghandour, highlights the challenges faced by B2B SMEs, including persistent payment delays, manual invoice processes, disjointed systems, and limited access to financing, all of which hinder growth and productivity.

The adverse effects of these challenges accumulate over time. A 2023 PwC report estimated that regional companies were grappling with $44 billion of trapped working capital. With over 500,000 B2B SMEs operating across MENA, this translates to a staggering $400 billion of working capital stuck in their balance sheets, as noted by co-founder & CTO Akash Rao.

Kema aims to revolutionise financial workflows for B2B SMEs, a segment historically underserved in terms of both capital and solutions. The company's mission is clear: to expedite cash flow for B2B SMEs using cutting-edge technologies, eliminating integration complexities for clients. Since the launch of its private beta version in Q2 2023, Kema has facilitated over AED 16.5 million ($4.5 million) in invoices. Leveraging insights gained from early customers, Kema has managed to reduce the receivables process by up to 50% and continues to introduce new features to cater to diverse business needs.

Getting started with Kema is seamless, thanks to its hassle-free "no-code" plug-ins compatible with leading accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks. Within minutes, businesses can harness Kema's capabilities to generate and process invoices, embed payment links, automate reminders, receive payments via various digital channels, and access real-time analytics on cash flow.

The timing of Kema's solution couldn't be more apt. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of SMEs in MENA recognise digitisation as a catalyst for growth. Government initiatives, including the Dubai International Growth initiative and the Financial Sector Development Program in KSA, further support SMEs in embracing digital transformation.

Speedinvest partner Stefan Klestil expresses excitement about Kema's potential to enhance the financial workflows of B2B SMEs in the region, citing the firm's extensive experience in the fintech space. Similarly, CEO of Dubai Future District Fund, Sharif El-Badawi, emphasises Kema's understanding of SME financing challenges and its comprehensive solution tailored for emerging markets.

About Speedinvest: Speedinvest is a leading early-stage venture capital firm with a focus on technology startups in Europe. With over $1 billion AuM and a portfolio of 300+ companies, Speedinvest provides ongoing support to founders in areas such as growth, HR, and market expansion.

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