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Egyptian lending fintech MNT-Halan reaches for unicorn status

Illustration of a unicorn statue on top of a stack of cash.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MNT-Halan, an Egyptian lending and payments fintech, raised $200 million and is in talks to raise another $60 million that would value it at $1 billion, the company announced today.

Why it matters: It would be one of the few startups to gain "unicorn" status this year.

Background: Unicorn creation plunged last year as markets soured on the sector, with just four fintechs crossing the $1 billion valuation mark in Q4.

Details: Abu Dhabi-based Chimera Capital led the round, acquiring over 20% of the company for $200 million.

  • The startup last raised $120 million in late 2021 from investors including Development Partners International, Apis Growth Fund II, and Lorax Capital Partners.

The big picture: Africa was one of the few fintech bright spots last year, being the only region to experience a year-over-year increase by deal count, per data from CBInsights.

  • The Egyptian administration notably has actively promoted fintech innovation. Upon completing this raise, MNT-Halan would probably be the first unicorn headquartered in Egypt, according to Pitchbook.

What we're watching: Chimera Capital. The Middle East-based investor has compiled a war chest that will make it a major player in the months and years to come.

  • It recently closed its second venture fund at $10 billion for "growth-stage companies" and a $2 billion private credit fund.
  • Its parent company, Royal Group, is planning to invest as much as $10 billion in total into hammered U.S. and European assets.
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