How FinFlx aims to help protect gratuity payments in the UAE

The coronavirus pandemic has caused hardship and disruption on many levels around the world. For Egyptian Amr Yussif and Frenchman Matthieu Capelle, there was a moment of inspiration during the time of adversity.

Jobs have been shed in many industries around the world as businesses seek to stay afloat and survive the downturn.

Mr Yussif worked for a brokerage in Dubai when it was acquired by a group in the UK. The new management has decided to move its operations in the Middle East to London.

“They took the client’s book and wanted me to move with them to London – part of my education was in the UK and my wife is British so they thought it would be easy for me. It’s my 15th year here and my wife has been here for 10 years, so we’re stable here and we said ‘no, it’s not working for us,’” he says.

“They ignored it and thought it would be a nice surprise in the end with a promotion and all. It wasn’t an amicable divorce.”

As difficult as it was, Mr. Yussif’s experience of separation from his employer turned out to be the reason he launched FinFlx, an end-to-end rewards management solution for small and medium-sized businesses. companies.

End-of-service benefits are lump-sum payments to which all employed residents are entitled after completing at least one year of service. Bonuses are covered by UAE labor laws and the amount depends on the employee’s seniority and base salary.

FinFlx provides a platform to manage employee records, forecast gratuity liabilities, and then help SMBs create a separate, managed gratuity fund to offset their existing liabilities.

It offers several savings plans for different risk profiles, including a capital protection plan where the principal amount is guaranteed.

The startup has so far raised $1.5m in pre-seed funding from top-tier investors including YCombinator, Dubai Future District Fund, 500 Global and Vectr FinTech as well as strategic angel investors.

Mr Yussif, who qualified as a veterinarian in Egypt before turning to finance, was earning a ‘significant’ salary when he sought to part ways with his employer and subsequently found himself owing a lot of money money as an end-of-service gratuity.

However, his gratuity was withheld and there was nothing he could do “because I was the signing officer and I had no one to complain to”, he says.

He went to Tawafuq, the service center of the Ministry of Human Resources, to file a complaint.

“It was 7.30am and I was already number 37 in the queue. The guy looking at my case said he was dealing with maybe 150 people a day,” Mr Yussif said.

“I started playing the numbers and digging deeper and it was a huge [market opportunity]and I ended up going into free by pure coincidence because this situation happened to me.

“I wanted to make a quality financial services product available to everyone, at scale and using technology, using a business-to-business approach.”

FinFlx is licensed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market and works on proprietary technology built by Mr. Capelle – who is also its Chief Technology Officer – and his team.

Mr. Capelle is a software engineering veteran and previously served as Head of Engineering at Careem Pay and Chief Architect at Murex, a financial software provider.

The company, which has been in private beta mode with about 15 customers for six months, is now ready to go. It has more than 120 SMEs on the waiting list, says Mr. Yussif.

While starting a business during the pandemic has proven challenging on many levels, Yussif has found it helps him in terms of user research.

According to a recent report by Willis Tower Watson, approximately 87% of SMEs in the GCC region have no measures in place to fund their gratuity obligations, and the amount is funded as and when required from of their cash.

Even SMEs that keep funds aside to cover gratuity liability only allocate funding for 20 or 30 percent of the total amount required, he said.

Meanwhile, the UAE has also introduced new regulations regarding the payment of gratuities as part of changes to its labor laws earlier this year.

Bonuses can now be paid either in UAE dirhams or in the currency chosen by the employee, as agreed in the employment contract.

All end-of-service benefits must be paid within 14 days to avoid a penalty, while employment contracts must now be limited to a maximum of three years.

In Dubai, a new retirement savings scheme for non-Emirati employees working in the public sector also came into effect on July 1.

The employer will pay the full end-of-service indemnity to the scheme from the date of joining, not including financial contributions from previous years of service, said the steering committee responsible for overseeing the pension system.

The percentage of contribution to the plan will be equal to the end-of-career indemnity due to the employee, in accordance with the legislation relating to human resources.

FinFlx provides a platform to manage employee records, forecast bonus liabilities, and then help SMBs create a separate, managed bonus fund.  Chris Whiteoak / The National

The rate of return will depend on the amount invested by employees, how it is allocated among the available investment portfolios and the risks associated with it, the committee said.

Employees can also choose to contribute to the scheme themselves and will have the right to withdraw their personal savings at any time.

The program also has the option of expanding to the private sector at a later stage, officials said.

The DIFC was the first entity in the UAE to implement a gratuity system when it introduced the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (Dews) scheme in February 2020, providing end-of-service benefits to people working within the financial center.

With the increased focus on end-of-service benefits, Mr. Yussif predicts “good growth” for FinFlx.

Company profile

Company Name: EndFlx

Started: January 2021

Founders: Amr Yussif (co-founder and CEO), Mattieu Capelle (co-founder and CTO)

Situated at: dubai

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1.5 million pre-seed

Investors: Venture Capital – Y Combinator, 500 Global, Dubai Future District Fund, Fox Ventures, Vector Fintech. Also a number of angel investors

“We should have a flood of companies looking to comply,” he said.

“We’re here to make it easier for companies that don’t have sophisticated finance departments.”

Currently, the start-up has 12 employees, with the founding team based in the United Arab Emirates and the engineering team mostly located overseas.

The start-up, which will receive incentives from the Abu Dhabi Hub71 technology ecosystem, plans to double the number of its employees by the end of the year, with a focus on strengthening its presence in United Arab Emirates,” Mr. Yussif said.

Q&A with Amr Yussif, co-founder and CEO of FinFlx

Which already successful start-up would you have liked to start?

I’ve always had my eye on expense management start-ups. Another idea I wanted to do was digital check signature. So, instead of issuing a check, I wanted to digitize the payment of rent checks, approved by both banks, with a blockchain-based smart contract. I hope someone will one day, but I think it’s coming.

What is your next big dream that you plan to achieve?

I have a four year old son and I wanted him to go to grade 1 or 2 and when asked what his dad does I want him to be proud and say “my dad has a business that makes sure that all the other parents have enough money for school, a house and everything”. My father passed away last year and I want to make him proud too. Where I come from, you work mainly to make someone happy. another proud.

I want people to say one day “I’m an ex-FinFlx, I worked for the company”. It doesn’t have to be a unicorn, but a company that inspires people and gives back to the system.

What new skills did you acquire during the creation of your start-up?

I built our first website. It wasn’t the best but I’m proud of it. The easy part was financial modeling because that’s what I do every day, but doing social media, creating a website and email campaigns, setting up all the things that you wouldn’t usually do to a higher level, I learned to do [all that]. I started learning about the different tech stacks and now I can talk to engineers in their language.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?

I would go faster to customers. I was my own enemy and wanted everything to be perfect before I started onboarding people to the platform. I would have spent more time fixing things that customers complained about than trying to perfect the product before it came out.

Who is your role model?

I’m not a big fan of idolizing an individual but I look at different traits in people. I like Jeff Bezos for how he puts things together in a simple way. I love Elon Musk in that he dares to change. If there is one thing that I appreciate since I started entrepreneurship, it is that we evolve as a person, and I am still learning and evolving as a person.

Updated: July 25, 2022, 04:00

Company profile

Company Name: EndFlx

Started: January 2021

Founders: Amr Yussif (co-founder and CEO), Mattieu Capelle (co-founder and CTO)

Situated at: dubai

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1.5 million pre-seed

Investors: Venture Capital – Y Combinator, 500 Global, Dubai Future District Fund, Fox Ventures, Vector Fintech. Also a number of angel investors

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