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.