Egyptian fintech startup MerQ raises $800k seed funding for social media chatbot

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Egyptian fintech startup MerQ has received US$800,000 in seed funding to further develop its products, notably Sally, a Facebook-based chatbot that introduces users to all credit card systems within the country.

Founded by Dr Waleed Ghalwash, MerQ aims to cover various topics in financial literacy in banking and non-banking services, delivering true financial inclusion by helping Egyptians to make financial decisions using artificial intelligence (AI).

Its first product is Sally, which provides users with comprehensive information to assist them when deciding between the different credit card options available across various banks through its AI-enabled chatbot offered through Facebook messenger.

To assist its development and rollout to users, MerQ has now raised US$800,000 from financial investor Ahmed Kamal Selim, who has taken a minority stake in the company and will sit on its board.

“We are delighted to have been able to complete our first financing round shortly after the launch of our first products into the market. This financing allows us to expand our service offerings within the financial services ecosystem and supports our expansion plans in the country,” said Ghalwash.

“We are targeting with our new investor another round of financing during Q3 2019 to launch two new products within the framework of financial services that support the state’s vision for financial inclusion and the use of technology to increase the penetration of financial and banking services among Egyptians.”

Selim said the investment in MerQ came as a result of his personal interest in AI and financial inclusion.

“MerQ is an attractive business model that I believe meets the needs of users interested in a range of financial services and queries starting off with credit card services,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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