A staggering 73% of employees rank finances as their biggest source of stress in life, leading to significant loss of productivity, attrition, absenteeism, presenteeism and other workforce issues work.
According to Mostafa Ashour, CEO and co-founder of Egypt-based financial wellness company NowPay, employers will generally want to avoid these issues, given the cost to employees and a business, particularly hampering job satisfaction and satisfaction. work performance and ultimately impacting employee engagement. levels in the workplace.
The pandemic has also increased employees’ financial anxiety, further increasing the need for financial wellness in the four key verticals Ashour identified as saving, spending, budgeting and borrowing.
“The idea is that if you can save well, spend less, or have more optimized spending, if you can budget and plan your financial life, and if you can borrow seamlessly and efficiently when and when you need to, then you are financially wealthy,” he said. says PYMNTS in an interview.
To address these challenges and put employees on a path free from financial stress, NowPay was launched in 2019 to help workers take control of their finances and improve their overall financial well-being.
Since then, the company has established itself as a leading financial wellness platform in its home turf, Egypt, and was one of the first industry players to enter the local market and in the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
According to Ashour, this first-mover advantage is reflected in the quality of the 200 portfolio companies the company serves in Egypt, including nine listed companies and more than 20 multinationals and large companies in sectors such as real estate, retail retail, technology and manufacturing.
Overall, the business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) company currently manages about 8 billion Egyptian pounds ($508 million) in salaries, with a retention rate of 100%, according to data provided by NowPay.
And further strengthening its market-leading position, the company recently partnered with some of the biggest brands in the food and beverage industry, including McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Kraft Heinz, covering 40,000 employees in this North African country.
Operating in a country that is rapidly rising to the top spot in Africa’s startup ecosystem has also helped drive the company’s growth, given the vast pool of tech talent, a large consumer base of over of 100 million people and a progressive regulator that supports innovators to grow their businesses.
Venture capital (VC) investments have also increased significantly in recent years. “I’ve been in and out of the startup ecosystem for four years, and it’s been one of the most promising times I’ve ever seen,” Ashour said, adding that the total venture capital investment has grown from $6 million in 2015 to nearly $200 million in 2020.
The diversity of domestic and international investors who have injected capital into NowPay, from US company Y Combinator to Chinese and Japanese investors, also shows that Egyptian startups are beginning to attract the attention of global investors, he said.
Timely and convenient salary advances
For employees in need of financial assistance, the startup allows them to receive salary advances at any time, with the possibility of requesting up to 80% of a salary via NowPay’s mobile application.
NowPay is responsible for advancing money to employees, and the platform has offered partner companies free of charge and without liability. More importantly, Ashour said the goal is to provide a seamless experience 100% of the time. “We also integrate with their existing payroll processes so [as not] cause additional work or additional burden,” he explained.
The app also gives employees the tools to better manage their finances across all four verticals, from managing their budgets and reminding them when bills are due, to offering peer-to-peer money transfers and services. crowdfunding for events like birthdays and weddings.
To meet the purchasing needs of employees, FinTech also offers offers and discounts that are deducted from an individual’s upcoming payroll.
In the two years since its launch, awareness of financial wellness has grown, leading to increased demand for this financial wellness service across the country and across the MENA region. As a result, rapidly scaling the business to meet growing market needs has been a challenge, one which Ashour will be focusing keenly on in the months ahead.
“Our main challenge is to maintain the same level of service, to maintain the same acquisition efficiency, to develop the team while keeping the right talent in the team. [and scale] company to match the opportunities available,” he said.
Beyond Egypt, they also aim to become a regional player in the MENA region, where the labor force of 152 million people and a pandemic-induced increase in financial anxiety among employees have relented. room for huge potential for business growth, Ashour said.