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Fin-Tech Islamic Economy startup, “Wahed Invest” plans to accelerate expansion in UAE and the wider region

24/10/18

Wahed Invest, a New York headquartered investing platform, is, the first fin-tech Islamic Economy startup, with a valuation of $100m has raised an additional $8m in Q2 this year from existing investors to accelerate development of a global savings solution and international expansion. The digital investment company received this funding from existing investors, Boston based Cue Ball Capital, and BECO Capital, a Middle Eastern VC known for backing the GCC’s leading startups. This brings its total funding to over $15 million since inception. 

Wahed Invest revolutionized the industry with the first-ever halal digital investment advisor, allowing savers from all income brackets to invest in a globally diversified portfolio of ethically responsible stocks, Sukuk and gold with as little as $100. 

According to Founder and CEO Junaid Wahedna, “After our traction in the US and UK, we are actively looking to expand internationally to offer our product to the world”. Wahed aspires to lead innovation in the growing Islamic Finance sector and provide a non-lending based savings solution to the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide”  

“Wahed Invest is fast outpacing traditional incumbents and driving innovation in a sector that lags behind. We are very bullish on the vision and strategy that Wahed Invest is pursuing both in the UAE, the wider region and globally, and look forward to supporting Wahed Invest as they pioneer the industry through technology,” said Amir Farha, co-founder and Managing Partner at BECO Capital.

Existing Islamic banks offer investment product focused on HNWI and institutional clients, largely ignoring retail and less affluent clients. Wahed Invest will now fill this void by providing investors of all income brackets, the exposure to a globally diversified portfolio of Islamic Financial Products and Services, which otherwise wouldn’t have possible through conventional means, in a transparent manner.  

"I'm delighted at the progress and speed at which Wahed Invest is expanding. Wahed Invest, represents in my opinion, the quintessential Islamic markets opportunity; an addressable audience of 1.5billion, 62% of which is under the age of 30 and a rapidly rising middle class, who demand convenient, on-demand digital tools for financial services that are aligned with their values, but at the same time contemporary in functionality and use. With Wahed Invests’ current growth trajectory and expansion plans; over the next few years, they could possibly be the next unicorn in the Shariah-compliant Robo-Advisory and Fin-Tech space”, said Dr. Sayd Farook, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Responsible Finance and Investment Foundation (RFI) 

Addressable Market

There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world with a very large portion entering into the Middle class in need of a savings solution. After the successful launch in the U.S, Wahed Invests’ UK launch in August saw over 1,000 registered users in the first month, which was more than twice as fast as what we saw in the US” Jad Kobeissi, Head of Marketing, added.  

As a second phase, Kareem Tabaa, Chief Product Officer, states that Wahed Invest plans to launch next in the UAE, the wider GCC region and ASEAN markets. Muslim consumers

here remain to be a largely young, and rapidly growing demographic. According to Accenture, only 1 percent of the $50bn investment in Fintech since 2010 has been in the MENA region.  

In order to ensure all products are Halal and in accordance with Islamic principles, Wahed Invest has a full-time Ethical Review Board. All securities undergo a rigorous screening process in which Wahed's investment management partners and ethical scholars work together to tailor portfolios to provide attractive investment returns. This means the following are screened: excess debt, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gambling, adult entertainment, impure foodstock and usurious institutions.

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