Spend management startup SiFi raises $10M to grow further in Saudi Arabia

Mike Powers
Spend management startup SiFi raises M to grow further in Saudi Arabia

The global spend management sector is experiencing a tailwind of sorts. North America is arguably the biggest market in this space, but spend management companies have seen demand rise across the world, thanks to increasing internet penetration, tech advancements and businesses’ increasing focus on making sure they spend wisely.

Indeed, the space is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% by 2030, per Grand View Research, and adoption in other regions like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to pick up as companies increasingly adopt expense management tools to get a clearer picture of where their money is going.

Saudi Arabia-based Simplified Financial Solutions Company (SiFi), one such spend management platform in the MENA region, has now raised $10 million in a seed funding round to double down on its growth plans in its home market. The round was led by Sanabil Investments, a member of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, and early-stage MENA VC, RAED Ventures.

Founded in 2021 by Ahmed Alhakbani, SiFi helps organizations manage all their spending, including vendor and bill payments, and it is looking to expand its operations after it received the Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) last year. The company is planning to tap the license to provide a suite of services, including e-wallets and smart corporate cards.

Alhakbani told TechCrunch that he thought of starting SiFi when he was working as the head of customs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He saw first-hand how fragmented expense management was at the headquarters and across the Kingdom’s entry points — making it doubly hard to track and control expenditures, and even leaving room for misuse.

SiFi’s founder, Ahmed Alhakbani. Image Credits: SiFi
Image Credits: SiFi

SiFi’s product lets its customers control their corporate cards’ usage, and limit expenditures at the merchant or geographic levels. The platform also enables employees, especially those who don’t use corporate cards, to submit reimbursement requests, their expenses and invoices.

Alhakbani said the platform helps companies avoid spend management problems like human error, fraud, lack of proper workflows, approval delays and lack of spend visibility. “We believe SiFi could play a very important role in enabling finance departments to become much more effective in their ability to serve the rest of the company. We want to go beyond just expenses to the full suite of spend solutions within a company,” he said.

He said SiFi is building a solution that will scale beyond Saudi Arabia as its technology stack allows it to integrate within any market. He did note, however, that growth outside Saudi Arabia will be targeted.

SiFi’s competitors in the MENA region include Saudi’s Sanad, UAE-based Pemo, which raised a significant seed round in 2022, and Alaan.

Other investors that participated in SiFi’s seed round include anb seed, Rua Ventures, Byld and KBW ventures, and existing VCs Khwarizmi Ventures, Seedra Ventures and Tech Invest Com. 

SiFi joins a growing list of Saudi startups that have raised good money this year even as VCs cut back activity globally. The country continues to take the lead in terms of venture investment in the MENA region, spurred by the government’s push to create a favorable environment for innovators and businesses as it seeks to diversify its revenue streams and reduce its reliance on oil.

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