Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) company Tamara has expanded beyond its home market of Saudi Arabia into the UAE, as the Islamic fintech start-up doubles down on its strategic growth plans to capture the growing BNPL market of the Middle East.
Tamara confirmed in a statement that it has onboarded merchants such as SHEIN, SWAROVSKI and Namshi.com, in the UAE, a country whose city Dubai, CEO and Co-Founder Abdulmajeed Alsukhan has called a “natural second home”.
Natural indeed as the UAE is the fastest e-commerce market in the GCC after Saudi Arabia. According to a Dubai CommerCity report on the digital commerce landscape in MEASA, annual e-commerce growth for 2019 through 2022 in the UAE will hit 38% while Saudi Arabia will reach 39%, both outpacing the GCC region’s projected growth of 33%.
Launched in September 2020 in Saudi Arabia by serial entrepreneur Abdulmajeed and his partners Turki Bin Zarah and Abdulmohsen Albabtain, Tamara very quickly rose to prominence within the local start-up scene: it was the first BNPL firm to be enrolled in the Saudi Central Bank’s sandbox program; it closed the largest seed funding round at the start of 2021 at US$6 million and later in April that year, concluded a US$110 million Series A funding, the largest of its kind in MENA.
The Series A funding, led by Checkout.com, has been channeled toward expediting Tamara’s regional expansion, which has been supported by Tamara’s decision to design its product to be in compliant with Islamic principles.