After winning the FinTech Pitch-Off competition at Seamless North Africa 2019 conference, FinTech Egypt had the pleasure of sitting down with Mohamed Mounir, CEO of Paynas, to talk about his startup journey and get some insight on his experience creating an innovative HR & payroll solution:
1. How did you come up with the idea or concept of Paynas? What gaps are you tackling?
The same way a lot of new ideas are born. I encountered a ‘problem’, and found no readily available ‘solution’ in the market. While at a software development startup that I co-founded, we needed an HR platform and a payroll system that was tailored to the needs of smaller businesses like ourselves. So we decided to develop and introduce the solution to the market.
The current rates of financial inclusion in Egypt are quite low, with MSMEs being the most under-banked segment, and with dire consequences to the economy as a whole. In addition, MSMEs have limited resources to expend on certain aspects of their business including HR management, and employee benefits that could have a significant positive impact on their operations. This also has noteworthy consequences on the capacity of these small businesses not only to survive, but to expand in an increasingly competitive environment. So Paynas solution acts as a key resource that can enable startups to thrive and grow, through offering a simple HR cloud platform that is affordable to SMEs and most importantly tailored to their needs. It also provides a wide range of employee benefits, and consequently boosts financial inclusion, through providing bank accounts, medical insurance and VISA cards to individuals who are otherwise excluded from the financial system.
2. What are your target customers, and what is your plan to reach them?
Our target users are small and medium enterprises in all sectors, since the nature of the service—a core function of any business—would be valuable to an SME in any sector. In fact, we are seeing a lot of interest in our solution from various types of businesses, including larger ones, which shows that the potential in Egypt is huge.
3. Do you only work in Egypt? What are your expansion plans?
Currently we are operating in Egypt, but we have bigger plans for the region, whether the Arab world or Africa, and we are planning to penetrate those markets in the near future as the only comparable solution available in Arabic, and soon in Swahili, with a unique positioning. That’s in addition to a deep understanding of the culture, challenges and opportunities of these regions, which are very similar to those in Egypt.
4. What were the main challenges that you faced while pursuing your dream of having your own startup? And if you had one piece of advice to give someone who is just launching a Fintech Startup, what would it be?
Transforming an idea into a viable business is never an easy feat, and comes with a unique set of challenges. Patience and perseverance, flexibility and adaptability are essential. An idea that seemed brilliant in your head, might turn out to be not as scalable in reality, and as an entrepreneur you have to be willing to ‘adjust as you go’, and sometimes reconstruct your model entirely.
5. What can you say about Paynas’ staff?
When it comes to building a team, it’s important to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Balancing diversity with ability to effectively collaborate can create immense synergies that drive a business forward. The Paynas team is just that: a diverse and dedicated group of individuals who each bring something unique to the table, and we are looking forward to further expanding our team in the near future.
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