We shine the spotlight on Themar, a Shariah compliant peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform seeking a group lending license from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).
“We are different because we are the only company in the Kingdom focusing on purchase financing. We focus on serving MSMEs and we utilize the Murabahah structure in our deals,” Amer Siddiki, CEO and co-founder of Themar, opines.
Themar, the brainchild of Amer and Co-Founder Yousef Dabbagh, seeks to connect SMEs to investors via its online funding platform in a bid to help finance their purchases efficiently.
The financing platform connects small and micro business buyers to investors. Buyers are able to easily access financing for short-term purchases while investors are able to earn returns on investments that are compliant with the Shariah principles.
“We are in the process of applying for a license through SAMA and we expect to complete this process by the fourth quarter of 2021. Apart from that, we are also in touch with investors for the closing of our seed round,” Amer tells IFN.
Some of the hurdles Themar faced when setting up were selecting the right technology for the P2P platform and understanding in detail the regulatory requirements.
Themar’s offering is currently geared toward the purchase side of financing. The platform targets individual investors or institutional investors who are looking to grow and diversify their investment portfolio while helping the local economy.
“Currently, we are funding companies through our own capital. We are not raising money from peers and we are using our funds to finance companies in need,” Amer says.
Acknowledging the importance of being Shariah compliant, Themar is collaborating with Dar Al Sharia to monitor the Shariah compliance of its services.
“Given the importance of Shariah compliance, we want to make sure that we are in full compliance with the Shariah principles. Besides fitting our values, Shariah compliance is also a prerequisite to be a part of the Saudi market,” explains Amer.
Looking forward, Themar hopes to serve an estimated 2,000 SMEs in the next five years with the liquidity provided from investors, while on the investor side Themar aims to have over 60,000 investors.
Currently, Themar is focusing on establishing its presence in Saudi Arabia but is also looking to expand to the UAE and East Asia.
“At the end of five years, we hopefully would have expanded geographically in the selected markets and be part of the growing Islamic fintech market,” Amer says.