Islamic fintech start-up IMAN, headquartered in Muslim-majority Uzbekistan, has successfully closed a US$1 million seed round led by institutional investors based in Singapore and the US.
The seed round was completed for a seven-figure amount by venture capital and investment funds Battery Road Digital Holdings, Tesla Capital, Uzcard Ventures, MyAsiaVC, Le Mercier’s Capital, Block0, Vector Crypto Capital and IT-Park Investments. Angel investors from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the US and Singapore have also supported the company.
IMAN, which runs mobile app IMAN Invest and buy-now-pay-later platform IMAN Pay, has plans to build a Shariah compliant superapp that will be accessible to Muslim-dominated markets, starting with Uzbekistan and then expanding globally. It is looking to expand into other frontier markets by early 2023.
IMAN Invest has 30,000 active users and manages over US$1.2 million from over 1,000 retail investors from more than 60 countries, while IMAN Pay is connected around 100 merchants offering products and services that range from consumer electronics to healthcare and education.
“…This investment empowers us to start exploring opportunities in other Muslim-majority markets in early 2023,” Rustam Rahmatov, the founder and CEO of IMAN, noted.
“As monetary policies remain loose around the world, yield-seeking investors are increasingly attracted to frontier markets like Uzbekistan with a fast-growing economy, predominantly young population and favorable government-led policies. Coupled with an increased demand for Halal investment opportunities among both institutional and retail investors worldwide, this creates an opportunity for IMAN to create a digital gateway between capital allocators in developed markets and Muslim-majority frontier markets where capital is more needed. This way, investors can enable critical financial services in the most underserved markets while also generating outsized financial returns,” Mark Zubov, the founder and CFO of the Islamic fintech company, added.
Uzbekistan is still currently working on finalizing regulations to support Islamic finance in the country, but the fintech scene is growing nevertheless. For instance, Alif Holding, which runs Shariah compliant Alif Bank in Tajikistan, also operates Alif A’zo, an Islamic BNPL solution with users in both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.