Gobi Partners, which manages some US$1.5 billion in assets, has joined hands with Islamic crowdfunding platform operator Ethis Group to launch a US$20 million Shariah compliant seed fund, with a view of concluding its first closing before 2023. This marks Gobi Partners’s first fully Shariah compliant fund, and Ethis Group’s foray into the venture fund space.
The fund will target Shariah compliant start-ups operating in the Halal economies of MENA and ASEAN. It is also worth mentioning that the fund adopts a broader ethical investment agenda.
“The establishment of this joint fund will allow us to channel investments into tech start-ups driving change and making an impact. Venture capital is in high demand and suitable for ethical investment,” commented Mohamed Shehzad Mohamed Islam, CEO of Ethis Investment Platform.
This collaboration comes on the heels of Ethis Group securing a license in Oman, where the group has launched EthisX, an umbrella marketplace facilitating fundraising for companies and SPV projects from around the world.
For Gobi Partners, the launch of an Islamic fund comes as no surprise. The Chinese venture capital firm, which has established its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur in addition to Hong Kong, has been investing in the global Muslim economy since 2016 under its TaqwaTech vertical. Among the most prominent of TaqwaTech’s investments is Umrahme, a Dubai-based online Umrah pilgrimage booking platform with over 3.5 million pilgrims since its founding in 2019.
“We are excited to partner with Ethis Group in creating this new Shariah compliant fund, which is very much in line with our existing TaqwaTech focus,” shared Gobi Co-Founder Thomas Tsao. “Muslim consumers represent a US$2.2 trillion market opportunity, and the Muslim community is anticipated to make up more than 31% of the world’s population by 2060; however, the Muslim community’s digital needs are largely unmet or underserved. Through this partnership with Ethis and the creation of this dedicated fund, we will now be able to fund, nurture and support even more Muslim entrepreneurs.”