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Tamara’s Trailblazing Journey: From Start-Up to Saudi Unicorn

Transforming the Fintech Landscape

Tamara’s Rise to Prominence

In late 2020, Tamara, a Saudi-based fintech startup, emerged with a revolutionary concept in the financial industry: buy now, pay later (BNPL) services. Founded by Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, Turki Bin Zarah, and Abdulmohsen Al Babtain, Tamara quickly established its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait. The company’s rapid growth is evidenced by its impressive user base of over 10 million and partnerships with more than 30,000 merchants, showcasing a sixfold increase in annual run rate revenue in under two years.

Series C Funding: A Milestone Achievement

Securing the Unicorn Status

In a landmark event, Tamara has secured $340 million in Series C funding, propelling its valuation to $1 billion and earning it the prestigious status of a ‘unicorn’ – a startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion. This funding round, co-led by SNB Capital and Sanabil Investments, marks a significant achievement not only for Tamara but for the entire Saudi fintech sector.

Strategic Investments and Visions

Backing by Prominent Financial Entities

Tamara Saudi fintech company Logo

SNB Capital and Sanabil Investments have played crucial roles in this funding round. SNB Capital’s investment aligns with its strategic objective of supporting fintech entrepreneurs, resonating with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Sanabil Investments’ involvement highlights their confidence in Tamara’s potential to revolutionize financial services, not just in Saudi Arabia but across the region.

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Innovation and Customer-Centric Approach

Revolutionizing BNPL Services

Tamara stands out for its customer-centric approach and adherence to Sharia principles. The company recently decided to remove late payment fees, underscoring its commitment to customer satisfaction and ethical financial practices. This move aligns with the core principle of Sharia financing, which emphasizes not taking advantage of customers.

Partner Network and Market Impact

Empowering Commerce and Retail

Tamara’s partnerships with global and regional brands like SHEIN, IKEA, Jarir, Noon, eXtra, and Farfetch, as well as local SMEs, have turned it into a key enabler of commerce. The company’s app leads to a higher return on advertising spend for its partner merchants, reflecting its significant influence in the retail sector.

Market Dynamics and Future Outlook

The Surge of BNPL in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector is witnessing a rapid expansion. The BNPL segment, in particular, has seen exponential growth, with customer registrations soaring from 76,000 in 2020 to 10 million in 2022. This growth trajectory indicates a massive potential for fintech services in the region, with lending penetration in Saudi Arabia around 30%, compared to 50%-70% in more mature markets.

Tamara’s Vision and Expansion Plans

Beyond BNPL: A Broader Perspective

Tamara’s vision extends beyond BNPL, aiming to transform shopping, payments, and banking across the Gulf region. The company’s strategic growth and innovation align with the increasing e-commerce popularity and the expected surge in digital payments.

Conclusion: A Testament to Regional Innovation

Saudi Arabia’s Fintech Milestone

Tamara’s success story is a testament to the potential of Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region in the global fintech landscape. The company’s journey from inception to becoming a unicorn highlights the region’s capability to foster innovative financial solutions and support ambitious entrepreneurs.

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