Awarded to SEAF and facilitated through CEED, the MEPI FinTech Catalyst Program was designed to engage and support young entrepreneurs in the MENA region by bridging the innovation gap between startups and major corporations. The program seeks to create resilience and adaptability by providing targeted resources, networking, and mentoring to generate the financial health, sustainability, and measurable growth of the startups, even during critical periods like COVID-19.
During the first cohort of the MEPI FinTech Catalyst project, CEED Morocco and CEED Tunisia guided the startups through training, coaching, and mentoring sessions, as well as networking, connecting them with investors and the US private sector. The program enabled many to achieve impressive results, as the following two stories demonstrate.
Abdelghafour Harraz is an effective and innovative entrepreneur with proven credentials in delivering solutions to complex challenges within the telecommunications, healthtech and fintech industries. Harraz graduated in 2011 as a telecom engineer with a degree in Statistical Modeling and Applications and worked as a developer for the computer software company MITDEV for a few years before deciding to start his own computer software company Taillis Labs in 2015. In June of 2020, Harraz began the innovative startup Pega Health in Morocco to provide users with an app allowing them to create a personalized and centralized electronic medical record (EMR), visible only to user-authorized medical professionals.
Insurance process digitization is one of the sectors that thrived throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and Pega Health joined the MEPI Fintech Catalyst Program, supervised by CEED Morocco, to co-create a user friendly EMR platform with CEED Morocco’s corporate partners in the insurance industry. Pega Health’s team members demonstrated skillfulness and open-minded professionalism during their sessions with the corporate teams, as well as humility and curiosity throughout their mentoring and coaching sessions with CEED, ultimately developing their innovative EMR solution for processing health claims digitally, which fully met the market needs created by the pandemic.
The relationships facilitated by the FinTech program enabled Pega Health to receive a large purchase order from a corporate partner that will allow Pega Health to connect with up to 500,000 users to provide them with a customized healthcare experience. Furthermore, Pega Health was able to create 7 new full-time positions and was selected to receive additional funding to refine the app for use on a national scale.
Deepera is a Tunisian IT start-up company launched in 2019 by Faouzi Moussa that develops innovative financial technology utilizing artificial intelligence (AI). Moussa founded a digital marketing company ARTIS in 2003 as well as CybEx Solutions, a trading software company, in 2009 before starting Deepera. Deepera creates smart, cutting edge AI-based solutions for the financial sector, including portfolio management tools and stock market analysis, to assist brokerage firms in managing their entire spectrum of activities and services.
By participating in the MEPI Fintech Catalyst Program, supervised by CEED Tunisia, Deepera was able to collaborate with a corporate partner on a mutually beneficial joint AI project despite some initial difficulty making progress due to COVID-19 restrictions. With assistance from the CEED Team, Deepera improved their working capital issues, identified better methods to successfully raise funds, and successfully presented their AI solution to investors. Deepera also participated in the program’s “Demo Day,” successfully generating interest from several investors, including an asset management company and an investment bank.
Deepera’s utilization of CEED’s FinTech Catalyst community, composed of corporate partners as well as start-ups, resulted in two substantial purchase orders with Tunisian banks, helping Deepera cover its short-term needs and accelerate the development of its AI projects. Deepera also saw its revenue significantly increase. The CEED Team also connected Deepera with a Moroccan entrepreneur who owns a software company specializing in financial institutions and considered one of the pioneers of the fintech sector in Morocco. The entrepreneur is willing to invest in innovative start-ups like Deepera for up to $100,000 USD.