Embedded finance platform Neem has raised $2.5 million in a Seed funding round from leading fintech global and local investors.
This funding will enable Neem’s embedded finance platform and further its mission of bringing financial wellness to Pakistan’s underbanked communities – both individuals and businesses.
“The embedded finance revolution that is taking place globally in financial services is about democratization, personalization, and access to products and services at the point of experience. At Neem, we aim to provide solutions to customers when and where they need it,” commented Nadeem Shaikh, co-founder of Neem.
Neem’s mission to bring an embedded finance model to Pakistan with a market opportunity of $167 billion has been backed by experienced and recognized fintech investors including SparkLabs Fintech, leading investment house in Pakistan Arif Habib Ltd, Cordoba Logistics & Ventures Ltd, Taarah Ventures, My Asia VC, Concept Vines, Building Capital, Partners at Outrun Ventures and strategic angels as CSO of tech house BPC, Founding Partner at Mentors Fund, as well as fintech veteran and ex-CEO of Seccl.
“We have a strong conviction about Neem’s mission to enable financial wellness for underbanked communities, and have full confidence in the Neem leadership team to realize this vision amidst macro challenges across the globe,” said William Chu of SparkLabs FinTech.
Neem has been founded by three cofounders, experienced fintech entrepreneurs, operators, and ex-VC, Nadeem Shaikh, Vladimira Briestenska, and Naeem Zamindar.
“We are really excited about our investment in Neem which is looking to transform the financial landscape in the country. We strongly believe in Neem’s ability as a leading embedded finance platform to drive financial inclusion in Pakistan which aligns well with the core values of Arif Habib Group,” commented Shahid Ali Habib, CEO of Arif Habib Ltd.
Neem believes that financial inclusion requires a shift towards a more holistic approach catering to the full financial needs of people and businesses, a Financial Wellness model. This includes giving individuals and businesses control through payments; addressing their needs through credit; absorbing risk through access to insurance, and at the top of the financial wellness pyramid sits financial freedom through savings and investments.
“It’s time to evolve from financial inclusion to financial wellness to fully capture the shift in people’s financial needs. We simply have to move beyond providing just access to a bank account. This has been recognised also by global players like M-PESA. The paradigm shift toward financial wellness is now possible thanks to the emergence of new business and technology models,” said Vladimira Briestenska, co-founder at Neem.
According to State Bank of Pakistan data, almost 53% of Pakistan’s adult population and 3.3 million MSMEs are currently financially excluded. Neem is seamlessly embedding financial products and services into underbanked communities across diverse sectors including agriculture, MSMEs, e-commerce, logistics, healthcare, and others. Neem’s embedded finance platform includes two core offerings; a Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform and a lending platform.
“The core of our model is embedding Neem into various value chains across diverse communities and our B2B2C platform is leveraging deep trust and relationship with already existing platforms. We amplify those platforms by bringing financial services to their end-customers at a very accessible and low acquisition cost,” said Naeem Zamindar, cofounder at Neem.
Embedded finance and API-first tech architectures are globally recognized as the future of financial services with a market opportunity of $7 trillion, solving the financial wellness gap.
“Embedded finance equips technology companies, brands, and retailers with the ability to provide a banking and payments experience to their end customers in a seamless, convenient, and authentic way. Given what is at stake, embedded finance should be a priority on the strategic agenda of all tech companies, brands, retailers, and banks, ” commented Sophie Guibaud, Co-founder and CCO at Fiat Republic and Co-author of Embedded Finance, When Payments Become an Experience.
Neem’s BaaS platform allows partners to embed wallets and payments into their communities as well as offer financial products such as insurance and savings customized to the community’s needs. Neem’s lending platform allows partners to provide tailored lending products for both consumers and MSMEs.