Islamic crowdfunding co EthisCrowd raises $363k in seed funding

Front row: Azmi Associates managing partner Ahmad Lufti and Munshi.

The world’s first Islamic real estate crowdfunding platform EthisCrowd.com has sealed a seed round funding of S$500,000 ($362,563) in cash and kind, led by Azmi Global.

Azmi Global is a subsidiary of Malaysian law firm Azmi & Associate, which focuses on Islamic finance.

Another participating firm is Quest Ventures, a Singapore-based venture fund, alongside angel investors from Singapore and the Middle East.

This seed investment will be used for expansion in Asia-Pacific, improving corporate governance and project selection and technology enhancement.

“Our expansion strategy is to setup in regions where there’s strong growth and interest from our crowd’, founder Umar Munshi said.

Munshi has been an entrepreneur since he was 18 and is also the chairman  of the recently-formed Islamic Fintech Alliance.

“Ethis has established itself as a thought leader and mover of Islamic Fintech, specifically in crowdfunding. We have proven our model, and now seek to expand rapidly,” he said.

Ethis grew organically from a S$200 minimum viable product website in early 2014 to one of the preeminent Islamic Crowdfunding Platforms in the world. The company focuses on crowdfunding to provide bridging finance to Developers for Social Impact Real Estate Developments.

Ethis has grown steadily over the past two years, and currently has a base of almost 10,000 members it refers to as ‘EthisCrowd’.

This year alone, EthisCrowd has invested S$1,000,000 in subsidised housing Development projects in Indonesia.

Ethis crowdfunds from Singapore, facilitated by the MAS’s ‘regulatory sandboxing’  approach. It noted that 60 per cent of investment comes from Singapore, with an increasingly larger proportion of investment coming from the Middle East.

Azmi & Associates managing partner Ahmad Lufti said: “Islamic crowdfunding is an asset to Islamic finance as it can potentially serve gaps in the industry. Ethis is leading this space.”

Co-founder Erly Witoyo, who manages project screening, added that Ethis’ growing reputation has made the company a magnet for quality projects and deals.

“We need to  grow the  EthisCrowd  community quickly and secure  the  best  deals coming to us,” the former investment banker said.

Witoyo also founded SME Crowdfunding platform KapitalBoost.com.

Associate company PT Ethis Indonesia managing director Ronald Wijaya @Muhd Yusuf commented that Indonesia faces a shortage of 18 million houses and that shortage is deepening.

“Serving this gap fulfils a strong social need, and is also an excellent, low risk business for us,” he said.

PT Ethis Indonesia is registered as a real estate developer in Indonesia.

Also read:

Singapore: EthisCrowd targets $740k for real estate crowdfunding project in Jakarta

Curren$eek, Kapital Boost, Prime Keeper win top awards at Asean Fintech Challenge

Malaysia: Alix Global’s first ECF deal, Halal Speed Dating seeks $87k on FundedByMe platform

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.