Uzbek Islamic fintech start-up IMAN Invest is on an aggressive expansion push, preparing to enter new segments, including the Web3 space, as well as to foray into the South Asian market, having secured funding commitments.
In a statement to IFN Fintech, IMAN Invest confirmed that it intends to close a US$1.5 million funding post-seed funding round by mid-August, which would extend its runway in Uzbekistan for another 18 months. It has so far secured US$700,000.
After testing its Shariah compliant buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) product in the electronics/furniture/home appliance space, IMAN Invest — which offers Islamic BNPL and digital Halal investment services — is currently negotiating a partnership with a major retailer to enter the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space.
“We are the first mover in the market and expect to generate at least US$1 million in monthly sales and [an] over 100,000 user base over the next six months from that partnership alone. The goal is to reach US$10 million in installments disbursed by the end of the year, from US$3.5 million to date,” the start-up projects.
According to the team, Uzbek lender Universal Bank has agreed to provide debt financing starting from US$500,000 in August, with the flexibility to increase the size as IMAN Invest’s portfolio grows. The company is in talks with several development financial institutions and family offices to secure a further US$10 million in debt financing.
The start-up, which has ambitions to become a ‘Halal Revolut’, is also diversifying into the blockchain realm. It says it has received grant commitments from Algorand and NEAR protocols to fund the initial development of Umma.finance, an Islamic decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol that connects crypto investors with real-world sources of yield in emerging markets.
“With everything we have seen in the markets over the last month, we believe there has not been a better time to bring sustainable Halal yield uncorrelated to crypto into the crypto world,” the start-up said. “Umma benefits IMAN in several direct and indirect ways: scaling IMAN Invest by attracting money from investors worldwide using stable coins; using Umma tokens to create various incentives for IMAN Invest and IMAN Pay users, helping us with customer acquisition and retention; and enabling every IMAN user to be an owner in our Islamic ecosystem (by offering Umma tokens).”
It has begun building the minimum viable product for Umma.
Based in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, IMAN is considering expanding its services to Pakistan and Bangladesh and is on the hunt for local partners.