Egyptian early-stage venture capital firm Acasia Ventures has completed an investment in Cairo-based digital savings platform Menthum, joining a pre-seed round that also included A15 and a number of prominent angel investors.
Menthum is a B2B and B2C digital savings platform that provides individuals and companies an innovative way to invest in safe treasury bills (T-bills) through a money market fund. Licensed and regulated by Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), Menthum has launched the first digital money market fund in the country, partnering with a leading investment manager.
Traditional money market funds are usually highly inaccessible to Egyptians due to the friction associated with the traditional channels. The friction takes a variety of forms, such as the need to visit (perennially crowded) physical bank branches, poor customer service and customer hand holding, longer cycle to purchase/redeem fund certificates with rigid time-windows, pre-requisite to open an account at the bank to be able to purchase the fund, high minimum investment requirement, banks’ (sometimes) inability to accept fresh money due to regulatory ceiling, etc. Menthum re-invented the money market fund with its technology and innovative process flow, making it simple and accessible for all. With high returns, instant liquidity coupled with a user-friendly mobile application, Menthum has positioned the safe money market fund as a superior alternative to traditional bank accounts for both individuals and corporates.
Menthum has devised an easy-to-use mobile application and customer-centric approach. Individuals sign up on the Menthum mobile app using their mobile number and scanning their National ID, the app fetches the ID data automatically. After the Menthum team completes the KYC review process, the account is activated. The customers can add money to their Menthum account by transferring money from their account from any bank in Egypt. There’s no minimum amount restriction: customers can start with as little as one Egyptian pound. They can withdraw money any time from Menthum and transfer it back to their bank account, without any lock-in period. Money in a Menthum account is invested in a safe money market fund with returns that are almost twice as high as those of a typical savings bank account.
The platform also enables small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as large corporations to invest in its money market fund, facilitating a better way to enhance their yield on their working capital.
Menthum went live on app stores in November last year. The venture is co-founded by veteran professionals Himanshu Shrimali (LinkedIn) and Ismail Sarhank (LinkedIn). Shrimali has over two decades of experience in the banking and financial services space; his last banking role was as Head of Retail Banking at Arab African International Bank. Sarhank has been working in the financial services industry for a decade now, last as the Deputy CEO of IBAG for Money Transfer Solutions.
“We are excited to invest in the company that’s paving a fresh way to money for Egypt,” Acasia Ventures Managing Partner Aly El Shalakany said. “Given Menthum’s solid team, the traction it has gained so far and its visionary roadmap, we firmly believe that the company could reshape the concept of savings tools in the country and tangibly contribute to Egypt’s financial inclusion mandate while providing alternative savings vehicles to a wide range of customer segments.”
“The people behind Acasia Ventures have been the founding pillars of the startup ecosystem in Egypt,” Shrimali stated. “We are looking forward to leveraging their intricate knowledge of the scene and industry, as well as their portfolio companies to join hands with like-minded partners to make a positive impact.”
The funding will go towards expanding Menthum’s team across various functions, customer acquisition, brand building and developing the company’s tech infrastructure.
This is Menthum’s first funding round.