Regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the startup also attracted funding from Women's Angel Investor Network, Saudia's Hala Ventures and California-based fund 500 startups
Pitching an automated investment platform to tap into latent demand from would-be millennial investors, Dubai-based startup Sarwa has attracted $1.3m in pre-series A funding, it has announced.
Pre-series A funding is considered an additional round of financing (beyond acquiring seed funds to develop an idea) that a startup can look to after before it is able to pursue significant venture capital financing in return for preferred stock options offered to investors.
Incorporated in the Dubai International Financial Centre freezone and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Sarwa’s round of financing attracted interest from global venture capital heavyweights including Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Women’s Angel Investment Network, Abu Dhabi’s Shurooq Investments, Saudi Arabia’s Hala Ventures, Saudia Arabia’s Hala Ventures, Lebanon’s Saned Partners, and California-based 500 startups.
Sarwa has now raised more than $1.5m since its inception in December 2017.
The company began testing its product with clients under DFSA’s first ever Innovation Testing Licence in February 2018.
Sarwa currently claims 1,000 users on its platform at an average monthly growth rate of 20 percent.
“We’re so excited to close this round with the top VCs regionally and internationally that are backing Sarwa in its growth,” said Mark Chahwan, CEO and co-founder of Sarwa.
“We have grown from helping out a few busy management consultant friends to reaching and helping people from a wide variety of backgrounds, professions and net worth. Our client base covers anyone that needs guidance in investing his or her hard earned money.
“This round will allow us to continue leading the investment advisory space and reach even more people.”
Sarwa’s robo-advisory platform aims to provide hybrid automated investment advice in to users fees that are a fraction of traditional investment funds.
Its hybrid offering pairs its core service with expert level live investment advice from human financial experts.
The service allows users to invest in exchange traded funds with a minimum deposit of $2,000 at a yearly fee of 0.85%.
Led by CEO Mark Chahwan and Nadine Mezher, the startup’s head of wealth advisory, Danny Jabbour, who joined the team in 2018 carries experience in wealth management roles at UBS and Merrill Lynch.
“Sarwa is adapting regionally a model that Wealthfront and Betterment have mastered in mature markets and the opportunity is ripe given the large segment of the population that is young, affluent and interested in investing,” said Wajdi Ghoussoub, Associate Director, MEVP.
“There is a growing interest in fintech regionally and the team is executing and delivering on its early stage milestones, putting the company on track to becoming a leader in this important vertical.”