New York-based fintech startup Wahed (meaning “One” in Arabic) describes itself as a digital Islamic investment platform and as the world’s first “halal robo adviser.” It has now closed a $25 million investment round led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures (also known as Wa’ed Ventures), a venture capital investment arm of oil giant Saudi Aramco.
Existing investors BECO and CueBall Capital participated, as well as Dubai Cultiv8 and Rasameel. The funds will be used to expand internationally, including developing the company’s subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. The platform is currently running in the U.S. and U.K., and has more than 100,000 clients globally. It plans to grow in the largest Muslim markets, including Indonesia, Nigeria, India and the CIS. The three-year-old company has already received a license to operate in Saudi Arabia, and aims to get regulatory approval in 20 countries.
According to Crunchbase, Wahed has raised a total of $40 million in funding since its 2015 founding by Junaid Wahedna.
Last October, Wahed launched in Malaysia after the Malaysian Securities Commission awarded the company the country’s first Islamic Robo Advisory license. The firm is also considering listing its Islamic ETF on the Saudi stock exchange.
Ethical investment and Islamic finance is growing in popularity in Muslim countries so long as it is in line with Islamic ethics, so Wahed looks set to benefit.
Commenting on the investment, Junaid Wahedna, CEO of Wahed, said: “We’re excited to have the support of Aramco Ventures as we foray into the Saudi market. We consider Aramco a strategic long-term partner in both the Kingdom and the rest of the world.”
Wassim Basrawi, managing director at Wa’ed Ventures, said: “We believe in Wahed’s mission to provide ethical investing. The company has taken the lead in delivering investment services to one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors — Islamic Finance. Wahed is also, in the true spirit of fintech, helping to broaden the investment landscape. This latest funding round will enable Wahed to make Saudi their regional MENA hub and contribute towards a fast-growing fintech ecosystem.”