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In a big strategic leap forward, Riyadh-based FinTech startup Hala has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round led by Impact46. With the success of the round, Hala, previously known as Halalah, is now one step closer to establishing itself as a digital bank for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Hala was launched in 2018 by co-founders Esam Alnahdi and Maher Loubieh. The started began its journey as one of the Kingdom’s first mobile wallets. It received good overall feedback for enabling people to make digital payments for a wide range of online and offline services, as well as peer-to-peer transactions.

In early 2020, however, Hala made a major shift in their business model and target market with an eye on delivering financial services to SMEs. The company introduced a packaged offering that included a bank account, a POS device, and a VISA/MasterCard. The idea was to enable SMEs to track and manage all their inbound and outbound payments using Hala’s mobile app.

The company claims that as of today, more than 20,000 merchants are using its POS devices with an average transaction volume of more than $100 million across the country.

The company says it now wants to evolve into a digital bank for SMEs.

Speaking positively of Hala’s future potential, Abdulaziz Al-Omran, the founder of Impact46, commenting on the occasion, said, “The fintech sector is continuously evolving. Hala, one of the first fintech solutions licensed by the Saudi Central Bank, has played a vital role in promoting the growth of this industry in the region. With the digitization of financial solutions, Hala is taking part in facilitating financial transactions, the platform also continues to take advantage of the promising opportunities in this sector, to achieve rapid growth on a larger scale.”