Case Study: Why PayTabs Picked Bahrain as its Launchpad

Bahrain is home to the global operational hub of PayTabs, a complete online payment processing system with integral fraud protection that ensures SMEs get paid quickly, safely and cost-effectively. The company was founded by Saudi Arabia-born Abdulaziz Al Jouf, who has been cited twice by Forbes Middle East as a ‘top 100 entrepreneur’, using venture capital from the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Centre scheme. With over 90 staff, a main operational hub in Bahrain and offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Philippines and India (Hyderabad and Mumbai), PayTabs concentrates on emerging and ‘frontier’ markets. Progress has been rapid: the company already has over 25,000 merchants processing several million US dollars every month and they offer global processing solutions to empower businesses to transact around the world. PayTabs is acting as an enabler to many other Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to enter the MENA region through their plug and play platform.

Abdulaziz Al Jouf saw that companies wanted an advanced payment system that would help them make the most of commerce, with its ability to increase market access, simplify transactions and promote growth. Abdulaziz knew he could overcome regulatory restrictions and the reluctance of established banks to adopt smart technology by creating an innovative solution that would also accelerate development of the FinTech ecosystem. Hence, PayTabs, his most successful business venture yet.

Abdulaziz and his team scoured the world for the perfect base. Bahrain was the obvious winner due to five factors, not least the Kingdom’s aim to become the region’s FinTech powerhouse on the back of its reputation as an emerging hub. The government’s active support was crucial to PayTabs’ decision, with the availability of agencies such as Tamkeen which offer fully-funded training and valuable salary subsidies that reduce employment costs. Moreover, Mr. Al Jouf’s choice was motivated by the country’s well established and forward looking financial services expertise, Bahrain’s low business and living costs, the availability of highly educated, skilled and bilingual local talent, and the Kingdom’s ideal technology setting which caters for the needs of innovators.

PayTabs recently expanded its Bahrain hub through a US$ 20 million investment, making PayTabs MENA’s largest FinTech startup and creating around 480 new jobs over the next few years.

When I came to Bahrain I started to hire Bahrainis. I was amazed by the quality of people I got on my team. What makes me so excited about staying in Bahrain and then growing my business in Bahrain is that you see government agencies like EDB and the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) that are willing to sit and listen to you; it took us just an email introduction to sit with the entire licensing team at the CBB.

Abdulaziz F. Al Jouf

Founder and Chief
Executive Officer