Tajik challenger bank Alif Bank has closed a Series A deal with a valuation of US$100 million, making it one of the highest valued start-ups in the Central Asian region.
In an official public post, the Islamic fintech start-up revealed that it raised US$50 million in debt financing and US$8 million in investment from its latest round of funding.
This Series A round comes on the back of Alif ramping up its international expansion efforts. Last month, the start-up confirmed it is setting up shop in London to penetrate the European market. As previously reported by IFN Fintech, this geographical expansion includes Alif working on raising debt financing to grow its buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) business.
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. Over the space of seven years, 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 but will be launched in Uzbekistan as well. It now has a user base of over 600,000 and a workforce of 700-strong.
It is understood that the Islamic challenger bank is also working on expanding into other Central Asian markets while focusing on setting up its UK operations.
The bank recently revealed to IFN, the sister publication of IFN Fintech, that it is planning to tap the Islamic debt capital market with a US$10 million debut Sukuk offering. The proposed issuance has been certified Shariah compliant by UK-based Khalij Islamic. Alif is also working on getting officially certified Shariah compliant early next year.