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Monsha'at leads delegation of Saudi startups at Web Summit 2023

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As part of its work to showcase the growth of the Kingdom’s SME sector, Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, took part in Web Summit 2023: one of the world’s leading technology conferences.

Held from 13 to 16 November 2023 — in Lisbon, Portugal — the event provided Monsha’at the opportunity to spotlight Saudi Arabia’s most innovative SMEs. The authority led a delegation of Saudi start-ups, calling attention to their success and contributions to the national economy. Moreover, the event provided a platform for industry leaders, including policymakers, heads of state, and tech CEOs and founders, to address global challenges.

Sami Al Hussaini, Governor of Monsha’at, said: “2023 has been a landmark year for Monsha’at and the Saudi SME sector, with the number of start-ups in the Kingdom growing to over 1.2 million. While we have made a great deal of progress, we can achieve more. Launching innovative partnerships with businesses and entities around the world is essential. Events such as Web Summit 2023 enable us to do that, immersing some of our leading start-ups in an energized environment conducive to collaboration, innovation and growth.”

Saudi Arabia’s start-up ecosystem is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth. Amid the continued expansion of its non-oil sector, the Kingdom achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world last year and has been recognized as one of the best-performing countries in terms of leveraging reforms to improve its business environment. In Q2 2023, the Kingdom led the region in VC funding and capital raised, accounting for 42% of MENA funding at a value of $446 million.

Among the Saudi start-ups participating in Web Summit 2023 were: Zid, Lendo, Nuqtah, Syarah, Asasat Advanced Systems, Wosul, Kabi, Master Works, resal, WhiteHelmet, Mustadem, and Tachyon.

Monsha’at’s participation at WebSummit follows its recent participation in other world-class conferences, including SWITCH Singapore, and ComeUp Korea, where it has helped connect some of the Kingdom’s leading start-ups with the international business and investment communities.

About Monsha’at:

Monsha’at was established in 2016 with the aim of regulating, supporting, developing, and sponsoring the SME sector in the Kingdom in accordance with global best practices, in order to increase the productivity of SMEs and their contribution to GDP.

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Rally Ventures' Justin Kaufenberg Joins PayGround Board of Directors

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SportsEngine co-founder brings payments industry experience and understanding of consumer expectations as PayGround prepares for continued growth

Justin Kaufenberg, Managing Director of Rally Ventures, has accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of PayGround, a healthcare fintech payments platform. Kaufenberg, who is the co-founder and former CEO of SportsEngine, brings a unique entrepreneurial perspective as well as a deep understanding of payments and banking.

Rally Ventures participated in PayGround’s Series A fundraising in 2023.

“From our very first conversation, Justin and the Rally Ventures team have been enthusiastic about joining PayGround on our mission to empower individuals and families with a healthcare digital wallet,” says PayGround CEO Drew Mercer. “We are in a season of hyper-growth and innovation at PayGround, and we are looking forward to having Justin at the table as we look for ways to provide additional banking capabilities for both healthcare providers and consumers.”

A core investment focus for Rally Ventures is products that deliver mission-critical software with embedded payments and financial services.

“Fixing the payment process within the healthcare industry has proven difficult because of all of the disparate systems involved. This is an industry in dire need of innovation, and I believe PayGround is approaching the problem in a smart and strategic way,” Kaufenberg says. “I’m looking forward to offering any guidance I can to help PayGround move the healthcare payments industry forward as they develop a strategy that looks to integrate various billing systems into their platform. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this company.”

About PayGround

PayGround is a healthcare payments platform that streamlines the payment experience for providers and patients. For patients, it’s an easy-to-use mobile app to manage, track and pay all medical bills in one secure place. For medical providers, it’s a modernized payment platform that reduces costs, simplifies processes and boosts patient and employer satisfaction. PayGround — the meeting place for healthcare payments. Learn more at payground.com.

About Rally Ventures

Rally Ventures invests exclusively in early-stage business technology companies, focusing on entrepreneurs creating major new markets or bringing transformative approaches to existing ones. Since 1997, Rally Ventures’ partners and venture capital industry veterans have invested in or run early-stage enterprise business-to-business technology companies with a proven ability to deliver superior returns regardless of the overall market environment. For more information visit rallyventures.com.

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PowerPay Completes $118.9 Million Asset-Backed Securitization to Further Growth

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Inaugural deal ignites new opportunities for leading fintech company.

PowerPay, a leading fintech company specializing in real-time lending and payment solutions for contractors and physicians announced the closing of their inaugural securitization obtained by home improvement and elective medical loans, and a 144A transaction rated by KBRA.

This is PowerPay’s first securitization (PWRP 2024-1). The Company partnered with CapitalOne Securities and Chartway Federal Credit Union, Virginia Beach, VA to achieve this milestone.

“The transaction provides the Company a securitization program that will allow us to obtain access to capital markets while providing a diversified funding source to fuel continued growth for the foreseeable future,” said Mike Petrakis, PowerPay Founder & CEO. “Chartway Federal Credit Union has been a valued partner. We look forward to further success as we consolidate the space. It’s encouraging to see that our consumers and channel partners have remained resilient despite economic turmoil over the past few years. With the focus of converting transparent purchases into simple monthly payments, we anticipate being able to access public securitizations on a regular basis as the market begins to rebound.”

Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, PowerPay launched its platform in 2020 in the home improvement and elective medical sectors and has since become one of the industry leaders in point-of-sale financing.

The securitization, totaling approximately $118 million and issued as PWRP 2024-1, consists of Class A, B, and C notes with ratings of A-, BBB, and BB-, respectively, from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Since its inception PowerPay has been focused on its partnership with credit unions as it provides origination, servicing, compliance, & insurance through its 10,000 + national provider network.

  • For this issuance, PowerPay originated loans to Chartway Federal Credit Union and then repurchased them through this securitization (PWRP 2024-1).
  • The transaction ultimately helped PowerPay execute its vision of developing an ABS platform, diversifying the Company’s capital market outlets and providing a viable vehicle for its credit union and bank partners to manage liquidity through the program.
  • This transaction brought 17 new institutional investors to the platform.

The issuance of PWRP 2024-1 is a landmark achievement for PowerPay as the Company continues broadening institutional support of the asset class and improving access to home improvement and elective medical financing.

About PowerPay
Launched in 2020, PowerPay is a financial technology company providing seamless consumer financing solutions to over 10,000+ national providers. The Company helps contractors and physicians convert homeowner and patient purchases into simple monthly payments through its point-of-sale lending platform. Since its inception, PowerPay has funded over $1.2B.

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All-in-One Web3 Gaming Ecosystem Blockus Raises $4M Pre-Seed After Completing a16z Incubator Program

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The announcement comes during the Game Developers Conference week, where the company will host a special side event

Blockus, an emerging, innovative force at the intersection of blockchain technology and gaming, today announced a significant milestone, securing $4M in pre-seed funding. This successful raise follows Blockus’s participation in the prestigious a16z Crypto Startup Accelerator, which not only provided access to mentors and advisors but also allowed the startup to connect with potential investors.

The pre-seed round was led by Maple VC and included Altos Ventures as well as known angel investors such as Zhuoxun Yin from Magic Eden, Michael Ma from CreatorDAO, and Bryan Pelligrino from LayerZero.

Blockus is dedicated to transforming the gaming experience by enabling studios to onboard their players and build on-chain gaming features with ease. The company has already gained traction in the market, with over 30 partners already signed, including Ambrus Studio, the team behind E4C: Final Salvation. The funding will allow Blockus to accelerate its growth, expand its team, strengthen sales operations, and invest heavily in product development.

“This pre-seed raise marks a pivotal moment in our journey,” said Jess Zhang, Co-founder & CEO at Blockus. “The trust our investors, like Maple VC, have placed in us is both humbling and inspiring. We’re ready to unlock the next level of innovation in the gaming industry, and we’re excited to bring our blockchain solutions to even more studios and developers.”

With a rapidly expanding market – approximately 62% of all dApp activity comes from gaming projects, and Web3 gaming is expected to reach $600B by 2030 – Blockus is in a prime position to capitalize on this growth.

“We’re thrilled to witness Blockus’s latest achievement,” said Johnson Yeh, Founder & CEO at Ambrus Studio. “As innovators in the gaming space, we’re proud to partner with a company that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The potential for Web3 in gaming is immense, and we’re confident that Blockus will play a major role in shaping its future.”

The announcement is made in the lead-up week to Game Developers Conference (GDC) taking place in San Francisco. There, the company will host a dedicated event on March 21 at 7 p.m. at the iconic SPIN bar to engage with the Web3 gaming community, and current and potential partners.

“Blockus has the potential to be the catalyst for a new era of gaming, built on the principles of decentralization and player ownership,” said Andre Charoo, General Partner at Maple VC. “The founders’ deep understanding of both gaming and Web3 technologies, combined with their track record, makes them an exceptionally compelling team to back. We believe Blockus is poised to lead the way in the Web3 gaming revolution.”

To celebrate its funding milestone, Blockus is extending a special offer of $20,000 in credits to potential clients for the two weeks following the announcement period. This offer presents a unique opportunity for game developers interested in exploring how Blockus can elevate their game experiences.

About Blockus

Blockus is a complete Web3 gaming economy ecosystem. Beautifully built, fully compliant, and seamlessly integrated into games, the company’s mission is to create a future where players have true ownership of their in-game assets and where gaming experiences are more immersive, engaging, and rewarding.

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