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How startups benefit from blockchain at Tribal Credit – Interview with Mohamed ElKasstawi

How startups benefit from blockchain at Tribal Credit – Interview with Mohamed ElKasstawi
Tribal Credit recently closed a $5.5 million Seed round

By: Ingy ElSafy & Moslem Ali

Cairo – Mubasher: Startups nowadays should look for new ways to boost their business, and one of these ways is using blockchain technologies and digital money.

The US-based Tribal Credit, headquartered in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, is on a mission to meet the needs of startups in emerging markets by using a proprietary AI-driven approval process and blockchain technology.

Mohamed ElKasstawi, the Chief Strategy Officer at Tribal Credit, has been building the blockchain infrastructure in the company since he joined it seven months ago in May 2019. The company has recently closed a $5.5 million Seed round led by BECO Capital and Global Ventures to bank startups in emerging markets and help them overcome local financial barriers.

ElKasstawi, who was the Founding Partner of zk Capital, the leading research-focused blockchain investment firm in Chicago, told Mubasher about Tribal Credit’s overall goal, during the RiseUp Summit 2019, which was held at the American University in Cairo (AUC) – New Cairo from 5 to 7 December.

What is the role you do at Tribal Credits for startups?

Tribal Credit provides startups and SMEs in emerging markets with the financial services they need to grow and scale. We are starting with our first product, which is a corporate credit card designed specifically for startups.

The services we are giving include access to credit cards tailored for startups, and analytics on expenses so that they can track their spending, make payments easily and focus on building the company more than anything else.

Is it all supervised by you at Tribal Credit? and How do you monitor the spending of startups?

Yes, we are helping them track their spending. Each startup has its own account. Let’s call it their banking account or their credit account. We give them the tools so they can track their own spending habits.

However, we do not track their transactions or take any part in them. We just give them access to credit.

From where do you get your own finances?

We have our own debt vehicle that we use to finance startups and give them credit. It is a debt arm that can facilitate and give that kind of credit to startups.

                                   (Mohamed ElKasstawi, Chief Strategy Officer at Tribal Credit)

Do you focus on startups in the MENA region mainly or emerging markets across the world?

We are starting with the MENA region, but we are also tapping into different emerging markets like Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Where is your current scope in the MENA region?

We are starting with the UAE, and then tapping into the Egyptian market and the Saudi market, as well.

Do you have offices in the UAE or Egypt?

Our Chief Growth Officer and also our Marketing Director are both based in Dubai, while some of our data team are based in our Egypt office in Heliopolis, Cairo.

How can the MENA region benefit more from digital finance to contribute to green investment?

As for green investments, startups like [Egypt’s] KarmSolar could issue a utility token to buy and sell solar energy through P2P transactions. Security tokens or digital shares could allow anyone around the world to trade their solar energy shares 24/7.

Tokenizing green investments (e.g., green bonds, green companies like KarmSolar, green ETFs, etc.) brings more liquidity to the green market and efficient trading, allowing people to make better use of their assets and get dividends wherever they are.

It is worth noting that ElKasstawi told Mubasher that both governments and stock markets can benefit from adopting blockchain technologies.