Tajik Halal challenger bank Alif Bank has named Gulanor Atobek as CEO as the founding team shifts its focus toward building a crypto proposition for the group.
Founded in 2014 by Abdullo Kurbanov, Zuhursho Rahmatulloev and Firdavs Mirzoev, Alif began in the space of microfinance before securing a banking license in Tajikistan. Since then, it has built a sizeable portfolio of Shariah compliant brands: alif mobi — a digital wallet used in Tajikistan; alif salom and alif a’zo, a BNPL platform with users numbering in the hundreds of thousands in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as alif shop, an online marketplace which began in Tajikistan. Alif has built a user base of over 800,000 strong and a workforce of about 800.
“We had decided to hand over the senior leadership of Alif Bank to Gulanor Atobek, Daler Karimov and Dilovar Amonov, with that process starting at the beginning of this year. Since that decision, we have achieved significant results and records. Compared to the same period of the previous year, in the past nine months, alif.mobi payments increased by 2.9x, remittances by 3.8x, and the number of active corporate clients by 3x. Our financial results also improved,” co-founder and then-CEO Kurbanov wrote in an official LinkedIn post.
Atobek officially assumed the position on the 1st November 2022. Co-founders Kurbanov, Rahmatulloev and Mirzoev remain at the holding level, focusing on the international expansion of Alif while also spearheading new services, particularly in the blockchain space.
“This year, I have been researching and studying blockchain to see how we can leverage this technology. As a result, we have launched a dedicated blockchain and crypto project within Alif Holding led by a small team of professionals. My focus has gradually shifted to this, and I hope we will start offering these services to a number of countries in the near future,” said Kurbanov.
Alif in September 2021 closed a US$58 million Series A round at a US$100 million valuation. Last year, it also expanded into the UK as part of its European expansion strategy.