Oman’s Fascano wins 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative finals in Saudi Arabia
- The Oman-headquartered fintech won with an innovative solution for hospitality industry
- Saudi-based Lamaa won the Impact Award for positive social impact
Muscat, Oman 17 June 2023 – Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has announced the winners of the Saudi Arabia edition of its 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global innovation program and competition for startups and fintech companies. This second year of the Saudi Arabia edition of VEI was open to fintechs in Saudi Arabia and, for the first time, Oman and Bahrain. An in-person final event was held in Riyadh on June 14, 2023 where the shortlisted fintechs from the three countries competed for monetary prizes, and access to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, and government sectors.
Fascano won first place among Oman-based fintechs and prize money of OR15,000 ($40,000 USD). Founded in 2019, Fascano - or “fast, scan, order”, is an app that allows food and beverage merchants to create customized digital menus through QR code and customers can place their orders and pay from their phone. For merchants, the app provides smart solutions for order tracking, kitchen insights, and business management.
This year’s edition of VEI also introduced an Impact Award to the competitor whose solution has a positive social impact on local communities. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Saudi-based Lamaa – which provides SMEs with technological, financially-inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions, won the Impact Award of OR5,000 ($13000 USD).
Manish Gautam, Visa’s Country Manager for Oman, commented: “Visa Everywhere Initiative is an opportunity for fintechs in Oman to shine and work with Visa to solve real-world commerce challenges. The competition between the shortlisted fintechs and startups at this year's edition made for a truly exhilarating final event and we thank them all for participating. I want to congratulate Fascano on a well-deserved win and we look forward to working with them to bring the best of digital commerce to consumers and businesses in Oman."
Each of these finalists presented their solutions to the payment challenges of tomorrow to an expert panel of judges which included:
- Nasser AlKathiri - Director of Entrepreneurship Enablement at Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Saudi Arabia
- Firas Al Lawati - Acting GM payment Central Bank of Oman
- Yasmeen Al-Sharaf – Director - FinTech & Innovation Unit, Central Bank of Bahrain
- Nezar Alhaidar – Director of Fintech Saudi
- Carl Manlan – VP for Inclusive Impact & Sustainability at Visa – CEMEA region
- Ali Bailoun – Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain
The focus of this year’s competition is on enablers of digital services and digital issuers, digital issuance, value-add for merchants and/or consumers in the finance space and small- and medium-sized business recovery. Three new categories were introduced this year: sustainable fintech, risk and urban mobility.
The winners from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are:
- 1st place: SAR150,000 ($40,000 USD) and participation in Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) Regional Finals on July 27 (live streamed on TechCrunch): Amwal Tech: provides authentication-based payment solutions which combine identity-verification, fraud prevention and payment processing all through a single API
- 2nd place: SAR100,000 (approx. $27,000 USD): Lamaa: provides SMEs with technological, financially-inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions; also the winner of the VEI Impact Award
- 3rd place: SAR50,000 (approx. $13,000 USD): Monak: offers financial and lifestyle solutions for working expats, travelers and locals
- Bahrain 1st place winner: BD15,000 ($40,000 USD): Daleel: interactive platform that allows individuals to search, compare and find the right financial products
More information on this year’s Visa Everywhere Initiative can be found here.