Bloom, a fintech attempting to help Sudanese individuals hedge against rising devaluation, becomes Sudan’s first startup to achieve the backing of Y Combinator.
Bloom offers a “high-yield” savings account, free FX and adjacent digital banking services so customers can save in a stable currency, the dollar, and spend as they go in local currencies.
The one-year-old company was founded by Ahmed Ismail, a Sudanese former Barclays investment bank associate, and Youcef Oudjidane, an Algerian former managing partner at an American venture fund.
“People don’t hold Sudanese pounds; they typically either buy dollarized assets like real estate, or they buy land or physical U.S. dollars. What we’re offering people is the ability to tokenize that. And in small amounts of money, you’ll be able to hold value, as opposed to needing to save up huge amounts to buy an apartment or a plot of land.”
~ Ahmed Ismail, Founder of Bloom
Sudan’s decades-long reputation as a crisis country has resulted in the citizens’ low trust in the financial system. Many of Sudan’s 37 banks are undercapitalised, lack proper accounting standards and show strains from years of an unrealistically valued currency.
Getting Y Combinator’s badge of approval could help draw more attention to Bloom, and opportunities in Sudan at large.