The presence of various payment forms and providers is one reason why businesses in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region have operational challenges in managing revenue and collection.
These businesses often use outdated methods such as Excel sheets to keep a record of these collections, especially subscription-based ones, or build in-house automation systems, therefore, they miss out on vital data leading to loss of revenue and inefficiencies like hiring more accountants than required to manage collections.
SubsBase, a no/low-code platform, helps such businesses and removes their overhead by managing the full subscription life cycle of invoicing, payments, and notifications. The Egyptian startup has raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Middle East and Africa-focused venture capital firm Global Ventures.
Other participating investors included HALA Ventures, P1 Ventures, Plus Venture Capital (+VC), Plug and Play, Ingressive Capital, Camel Ventures, and existing investors Falak Startups and Arzan Venture Capital.
SubsBase describes itself as the first and only subscription and recurring revenue management platform catering to the MENA region. The cloud-based platform helps subscription and recurring revenue-based businesses with the collection, operational, analytics, invoicing, and billing tools to manage their clients efficiently.
Per a statement shared with TechCrunch, SubsBase’s operational system enables clients to simplify and keep information organized and tasks straightforward, integrate multiple third-party software applications, and automate billing and invoicing of subscriptions.
“The problem these businesses face, even huge enterprise accounts, is that they have many people doing all the work manually and data is delayed one or two weeks from the date of actual payments, and that leads to loss of revenue,” said co-founder and CEO Mohamed Farag on a call with TechCrunch. “So once we jump in, we solve these problems by giving them one single tool and platform to use where everything is aggregated and real-time, allowing them to see and have a more visible outcome on their business, but also predict what’s going to happen and focus on their product instead of all of [those] operation headaches.”
The chief executive said SubsBase provides its platform to various customer segments and verticals. They are startups and SMEs (which he describes as the sweet spot for the company because of their purely SaaS businesses) and other businesses such as lenders, insurance companies, real estate companies and e-commerce companies with recurring payments. Some of its clients include Clakett, Mermaid, OLX and Zammit.
SubsBase has been growing 200% month over month since officially launching over a year ago, said Farag, who founded the company with chief business officer Sherif Aziz in 2020. On the call, the founders pointed out that in addition to “SubsBase running on SubsBase,” the platform also employs a subscription-based business model; it has three different plans with fixed fees from which clients can choose. Clients are also charged varying transaction fees on each plan.
Similar providers exist in the U.S. and Europe, including massive platforms like Chargebee and Recurly. Should any of these platforms expand into MENA, they’d need to integrate with the likes of Fawry, Paymob, and PayTabs, local payment providers already on the SubsBase platform, including global payment providers such as Stripe and PayPal. However, the localized nature of payments, where every region has its regulation and requirements, makes such an expansion plan seem unlikely and as such, SubsBase enjoys little or no competition in the region at the moment.
“Being localized and as a first-mover, we will be able to help these businesses grow and scale in the market as well as be able to cater to their future needs when they decide to go to other countries or grow operations in other countries. And then from there, we will grow our subscription base as well as enable more businesses to grow,” commented Farag.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions where SubsBase is keen on serving businesses. The chief executive said having pan-African investor Ingressive Capital -- the fund’s first in Egypt -- on its cap table will facilitate such plans.
With this new investment, the company is also looking to ramp up commercial and branding efforts across MENA. It is hiring for its operational sales, direct sales team, customer success team, and business development team, as well as increasing output in marketing and content, including educational content and podcasts, educating the market on the subscription economy and how it works.
“We are growing the team and resources to be able to cater to the demands we are seeing across the region,” Aziz said on the call. “We prioritize problems in a manner that helps them grow and catalyze the market with no-code features from one side of integration with other no-code platforms seamlessly so that people can and are encouraged to start building businesses with subscription models.”
The general partner at Global Ventures, Noor Sweid, highlighting reasons why the subscription management and recurring billing platform was backed, said his firm saw an attractive and unique value proposition that extends beyond subscription services to include an all-encompassing and convenient platform to manage any recurring payments, from small subscriptions to car loans.
“We are thrilled to back Mohamed and the team on their journey toward building the first subscription management platform for the region,” he added.