Saving parents from the hassles around school fee payment, UAE-based Zenda has announced raising of an oversubscribed, $9.4Mn seed round. The funding round saw participation from STV, COTU, Global Founders Capital, and VentureSouq.

Zenda currently addresses pain points around the payment of school fees – in particular, the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and the poor collection of payments for schools. The funds will be used for product development and market expansion in India.

CEO and founder of Zenda, Raman Thiagarajan said: “In today’s digital world, we seek low friction and immediacy – why should that not be the case for fee payments? Part of the ecosystem still runs on cash with no convenient option to pay later.”

The school fee payments sector is massive within India, to say the least. The country already sees over USD 70 bn in school fee payments annually, all of which is just the recorded data. The market is worth nearly USD37B in the GCC,and USD34B in the rest of Middle East and Africa.

School fee payments in India is a cumbersome process. For one, a lot of it is still in cash, making it difficult for parents to keep a track of. In cases where it is digital, it is still dependent on more traditional forms of payments such as NEFT, RTGS among others. Additionally, school fees are mostly paid in bulk payments, either quarterly, half yearly or annually in some cases. This generally puts financial strains on middle income families.

Using Zenda, families can track dues and make payments through a multitude of pay-now and pay-later options, and unlock rewards for paying on time. Zenda integrates with schools through its proprietary data model and APIs (much like zapier) and eliminates last mile reconciliation challenges and delays.

Zenda seems to have hit the nail, right on its head. The rather nascent platform claims to have seen strong traction already. After its initial launch in UAE, Zenda initiated India entry and operations in Q3 2021, and witnessed strong market traction with schools and with families. It has grown its user base 20X since June 2021 and crossed the $100M+ in annual contracted TPV volume by Q4 2021, across both markets.