Sequoia picks Saudi fintech for first Gulf deal as foray expands

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Saudi Arabia

Sequoia picks Saudi fintech for first Gulf deal as foray expands

Sequoia Capital has made its first investment in the Gulf region by leading a funding round for Lean Technologies, a Saudi fintech firm whose founders include the son of the kingdom’s former oil minister, Khalid Al-Falih. Lean, which enables companies to access bank data and make payments, raised $33m, according to a statement on Thursday. Besides Sequoia Capital India, existing investors and newcomers including General Electric Co.’s former chief Jeff Immelt participated in the Series A round. Created in 2019, Lean says it’s amassed dozens of major clients and has offices in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo and London. It intends to use the proceeds to grow its team and expand further across the region. Sequoia is deepening its presence in the Middle East after recently backing companies from Turkey to Egypt. The US venture capital firm is among the global investors eager to seize on the spread of financial technology and e-commerce in the region as local economies emerge from the pandemic. The Saudi company is benefiting from what it sees as an open-banking transformation taking place in the Middle East. Businesses use its platform to connect to their customers’ bank accounts and carry out instant transfers. Open-banking startups

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