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Mubadala-Backed Dubai Fintech Startup Loads Up on Debt Financing

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(Bloomberg) -- A Dubai-based buy-now, pay-later company secured one of the largest debt facilities for a fintech startup in the Middle East and North Africa.

Underscoring the growing interest from international investors in the regional fintech sector, Silicon Valley-based Partners for Growth will provide $50 million in debt financing to tabby to help expand its business. The size of the facility may increase as the company becomes larger over time, according to a statement.

“tabby is one of the fastest growing companies in the MENA region and they have an attractive market opportunity ahead,” said Max Penel, investment director at PFG.

Just over half a year after a funding round led by Mubadala Capital and Hong Kong’s Arbor Ventures, tabby is among companies that are flourishing as the pandemic accelerates the shift toward online retail and digital payments. Buy-now, pay-later services allow customers to purchase goods and then pay for them in installments or after a certain period of time free of interest.

Saudi competitor Tamara recently raised $110 million in debt and equity financing from in one of the region’s largest startup investments to date. Australia’s Zip Co. Ltd. said last month it was paying about $16 million to buy the shares it didn’t already own in Spotii, another major buy-now, pay-later player in the United Arab Emirates.

Read more: Leads $110 Million Round for Saudi Fintech Tamara

Tamara predicts the global buy-now, pay-later sector could grow 400% to reach $680 billion in transaction volumes by 2025.

Co-founded in 2019 by Hosam Arab, previously chief executive officer of online retail site Namshi, tabby has raised more than $30 million in funding from local and global investors. Over 2,000 brands, including Ikea and Adidas, use it to allow customers to purchase their goods, according to the company.

Read more: UAE Fintech Startup Raises $7 Million for Expansion

San Francisco-based PFG lends to emerging growth companies. Founded in 2004 by the former owners and managers of investment bank Hambrecht & Quist’s venture lending business, the company has partnered with over 200 growth companies across the globe.

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