The Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is undergoing big changes. Its business climate is expanding rapidly and this is increasing the region’s thirst for improved services, especially in terms of insurance and HR solutions. One of the most recent winners in the field has been Bayzat, which has announced it has obtained $5 million in additional funding from venture investors. The startup is a great example of the region’s thirst for proper solutions and the interest by institutional investors to focus on the present opportunities.
Providing solutions to the regions SMEs
Bayzat launched in 2015 providing insurance and HR solutions to the region’s businesses and private clients. Talal Bayaa and Brian Habibi are the young entrepreneurs behind the business idea and the startup currently operates in Dubai – the central hub of the region’s startup scene. The startup has enjoyed strong annual growth since its inception and it has managed to boost its revenue by 350% since launch. The startup’s focus on providing smart solutions to the region’s SMEs has clearly paid off. Since its launch, Bayzat has connected over 12,000 people in the region with health insurance and it has 50,000 monthly registered visits from those enquiring information on insurance plans.
By first focusing on the insurance market, the startup was able to become a well-known and respected company in the region. While handling the insurance issues, the team also started noticing pain points in the region’s HR procedures. The startup has been focusing on its HR automation platform called Bayzat Benefits in recent months. The platform offers a range of tools and automation opportunities for SMEs, utilising the OCR technology in the process. The technology allows users to scan information from identification documents and automatically use it to fill in sensitive and personal data. More recently, the company has added payroll functionality to its repertoire. Its efforts are a clear sign of the startup looking to provide SMEs with a comprehensive platform for HR needs.
Details of the funding round
The news of the $5 million additional funding means the startup has raised $8 million in its first Series A round. The latest funding comes from a prominent venture capital firm Silicon Badia. The MENA-based firm led the round alongside existing investors BECO Capital and Hamed Kanoo Co LLC.
Namek Zu’bi, a managing partner at Silicon Badia, was quoted in CPI Financial stating, “Bayzat’s dual strategy and core focus on building unique technology for this market is what attracted us to this business initially”. Zu’bi went on to congratulate the management team, saying the startup has the “recipe for success in a highly fragmented and inefficient industry”.
The latest funding is likely to be invested in improving the existing products and looking into further improving its R&D. Bayaa told the Entrepreneur after a previous funding round how the company remains focused on differentiating from other software and service providers. He said at the time, “If we can find a way to automate any process that will be seen as a great added value for policy holders or HR professionals, we look into it”, emphasising the company’s interest in developing new products and services for SMEs.
What’s driving the growth of insurance and HR software industry?
The MENA region’s premium market is currently around $30 billion. The growth in the insurance sector has vastly increased in recent months as the region is undergoing a switch the mandatory health insurance. Businesses and private individuals are searching for solutions and technologies that guarantee an easy access to affordable and comprehensive coverage.
The healthcare sector in the MENA region has been growing at a steady 10% rate annually, with quality care offering plenty of growth potential in the coming years. The problem is that up to 50% of money spent on MENA healthcare ends up being wasted – solutions are needed to ensure inefficiency is reduced and businesses, governments and individuals get to enjoy from effective healthcare provision.
Furthermore, the booming business sector is slowly starting to focus on HR issues. SilkRoad research shows how the availability of data and analytics is considered the key concern by the region’s HR professionals. A whopping 72% believe that lack of access to proper automation can hinder business success.
However, the technology market in the region remains undeveloped, especially when it comes to HR and SaaS technologies. Many businesses still rely on MS Office and its basic functions to take care of these important HR processes. This, of course, can make HR processes time-consuming and inefficient. Startups such as Bayzat are increasingly focused on identifying those business pain points and providing solutions to solve them.
For investors, this kind of forward-looking thinking is welcomed news. As a growing region, the MENA countries offer plenty of lucrative investment opportunities for the right investor – the latest funding rounds are a proof of this boom.