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Editor's PickIslamic crowdfunding group sets up VC fund and accelerator program targeting Halal...

Islamic crowdfunding group sets up VC fund and accelerator program targeting Halal start-ups

Malaysian Islamic crowdfunding group Ethis has unveiled HASAN, a venture capital (VC) and accelerator program designed to support Halal start-ups in Southeast Asia and the GCC.

HASAN is a reiteration of the group’s angel syndicate network which had invested in 15 start-ups and two funds. The VC now comprises of 300 limited partners, from whom it is currently securing an initial close of US$3 million. The target fund size is US$10 million.

“Reflecting on our journey, we noticed the struggles of other Islamic start-ups in getting funding and mentorship. While the industry thrived with innovation, institutional support was lacking,” Umar Munshi, the co-founder of Ethis and managing partner of HASAN, shared with IFN Fintech.

Hoping to narrow the funding gap in the Islamic entrepreneurship segment, the HASAN VC—Accelerator intends to address the scarcity of Shariah compliant VCs, particularly with the emergence of what Umar termed as the “second wave” of Islamic start-ups.

Focusing on early-stage technology and tech-enabled Halal start-ups, HASAN will make equity investments in graduates of its eight-week online accelerator program. For the first cohort, 10 start-ups will be selected, and they will begin the program in May.

“HASAN prioritizes the nurturing of tech-driven Halal start-ups, emphasizing their potential for scalability,” Mohamad Akhtaar Abdul Ghani, the head of the accelerator and investor relations at HASAN, told IFN Fintech. “The sectors of focus encompass not only fintech but also lifestyle, health-tech, Insurtech, climate and sustainability among others.”

While Islamic-focused start-ups have been accepted into various accelerator programs globally, Halal-specific programs are far and few between. Securities Commission Malaysia’s FIKRA ACE is one example, although it aims to cultivate fintech solutions exclusively for the Shariah capital markets.

“With so many brilliant minds and founders out there, each bringing unique products and solutions to the table, the Halal tech start-up scene is truly exciting,” said Mohamad.

“Personally, I’m particularly intrigued by the fintech space. I’m eagerly looking forward to witnessing more innovation that nurtures the decentralized finance landscape. It’s an area that I believe holds immense potential for transformative growth,” Umar added.

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