Software as a Service (SaaS) platform Kema secured $2 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Speedinvest, a notable venture capital firm.

The funding also saw participation from the Dubai Foundation District Fund (DFDF).

Founded by Michael Ghandour, an ex-co-founder of, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Kema aims to transform the business-to-business (B2B) landscape by digitising, automating, and streamlining the invoice-to-cash process.

This approach intends to expedite cash flow for SMEs while enhancing efficiency in financial operations.

The $2 million injection will play a crucial role in the upcoming launch of Kema’s SaaS platform, designed specifically to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Additionally, the funds will be utilised to expand the platform’s reach across the UAE and attract top-tier talent to support the company’s growth trajectory.

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The move responds to challenges faced by B2B SMEs in the region, as highlighted by a 2021 UAE Central Bank report indicating that business payments volume surpassed $1.5 trillion, significantly surpassing retail payments.

Despite this, financial operations for B2B SMEs have historically been analogue, inefficient, and more challenging compared to larger enterprises.

Michael Ghandour, the founder and CEO of Kema, explained the persistent struggles faced by B2B SMEs: “A healthy and predictable cash flow cycle remains elusive for many. The problem is compounded by the combination of persistent payment delays, manual invoice workflows and follow-ups, multiple disconnected systems, and limited access to SME financing.”

A 2023 PWC report quantified the magnitude of the issue, revealing that $44 billion of working capital was trapped across 424 regional companies. Co-founder and CTO Akash Rao highlighted the potential impact, estimating that more than 500,000 B2B SMEs in the MENA region could be holding a staggering $400 billion in trapped working capital.

Since the private beta version launch in Q2 of 2023, Kema has facilitated over AED 16.5 million ($4.5 million) in invoices. Akash Rao noted the platform’s evolution, stating, “Incorporating learnings from working with our early customers, Kema can now slash the receivables process by up to 50 per cent.”

Kema’s user-friendly approach includes “no-code” plug-ins that seamlessly sync with leading accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks. This allows businesses to quickly generate and process invoices, embed payment links, send reminders, receive payments through various digital channels, and access real-time analytics on cash flow.

As the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed digital adoption, 90% of SMEs in the MENA region now view digitization as a growth driver. Government initiatives, such as the Dubai International Growth Initiative and the Financial Sector Development Program in KSA, further support SMEs in embracing digital solutions.

Stefan Klestil, a partner at Speedinvest, expressed interest in Kema’s potential to improve financial workflows for B2B SMEs in the region. He stated, “We are looking forward to leveraging our deep experience in the fintech space to support Kema’s mission.”

Sharif El-Badawi, CEO of Dubai Future District Fund, emphasised Kema’s alignment with the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) and the broader Future of Finance vision, stating, “Kema deeply understands SME financing pain points and is bringing a comprehensive solution to the market that is well-suited to the UAE and equally applicable for other emerging markets.”

This funding round marks a significant step for Kema in its mission to empower B2B SMEs and contribute to the digitisation of core financial functions in the region.