Sympl has raised $6M for its save now, pay later service. Following a soft launch in October, the Egyptian fintech, which was created only five months ago, revealed that it had received $6 million in startup capital.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) options have been around for a long time, but their popularity grew as the pandemic prompted more people to shop online and save money.
BNPL has taken off in most of the world, but it has struggled to get traction in Africa. However, there is a recent spike in demand for such services in nations like South Africa and Egypt.
The seed financing for the five-month-old startup was headed by Beco Capital, with participation from A15 and Global Ventures.
Mohamed El-Feky, Yasmine Henna, and Karim Tawfik established Sympl in August of this year. “We all joined together to form Sympl because we all believe there is a better way to do things,” says one of the founders.
“Given Egypt’s large population, there is a great possibility for buy now, pay later,” said creator and CEO El-Feky. “It’s a consumer purchase driven market where we have a lot of accessibility to consumer items and services, both online and offline.”
However, Sympl’s offers have a unique twist that the company’s founders included in order to tailor the company’s product to the Egyptian market. Sympl operates on a “save your money, pay later” strategy rather than the traditional “buy now, pay later” model, according to the CEO.
According to Sympl, the country’s debit and credit cardholders number in the millions. And, like with any BNPL service, the corporation seeks to reward customers.
Sympl allows businesses to sell directly to consumers on short-term, entirely interest-free (zero-interest) payment plans with no pre-registration necessary and payment plans accepted at checkout.
A common BNPL approach involves dividing a purchase into several equal installments. The first payment, usually 25% of the total transaction, is made at checkout, with the remaining payments spread out over three installments.
Sympl uses a unique strategy that the company claims will help clients save money when shopping.
“The platform is an evolution of the checkout experience for customers.”
Rather than encouraging customers to spend, it gives them more options at the checkout and encourages them to save, better manage their financial flow, and better match their income and expenditure without sacrificing their lifestyle, according to the company.
When consumers check out of a Sympl merchant, the company recognises the funds in their bank accounts and charges them a one-time fixed fee of 100 Egyptian pounds. The fee covers future repayment collection and is the same regardless of the purchase price.
After that, Sympl provides customers with the option of using a no-interest pay later plan. The remaining payments can be split into three to five installments. The plans, according to the corporation, appeal to various divisions of consumers’ job status, including gig workers, freelancers, self-employed individuals, and conventional employees.
“This is the cost savings to the consumer.” Rather than spending all of your money in one transaction, you can walk out of the store with the product and your money in your pocket while paying it off in three to five equal installments. “It can be done monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly,” the CEO explained.
Sympl’s October launch was calculated. For a week, it worked only with Tradeline, Egypt’s largest iPhone 13 reseller, meaning users could only buy the phone through Sympl, either online or in person.
“We were fortunate since Mohamed and I had a number of partners who worked with us at valU during our debut” (the consumer fintech where both worked before Sympl). “They came to us as merchants and wanted to partner with us at Sympl because of our success back then,” stated CCO.
“They enjoy the platform because they think it’s unique in that we’re delivering debit or pay later alternatives for Egypt’s debit card users for the first time.”
According to the company, Sympl has onboarded up to 240 merchants selling products in electronics, fashion, appliances, furniture, travel, healthcare, jewellery, and education. By the middle of next year, it hopes to have 1,000 locations. Henna further stated that the number of transactions on Sympl is increasing by 25% week over week.
Sympl plans to use the funds to develop its merchant network, invest in technical updates and innovations, recruit additional people, and expand its reach across Egypt to all 27 governorates (it now operates in two).
“It is one of the most vibrant markets and populous markets and has similar demographics and consumer behaviour. So I think this would be our first regional step out of Egypt.”
El-Feky stated that when the company raises its next round of funding, it plans to expand outside of Egypt. Saudi Arabia is the most likely destination.