UAE-based FinTech startup Sarwa raises $8.4M Series A funding round led by KIPCO

Today, UAE-based FinTech startup Sarwa announced that it has raised more than US$8.4 million in a Series A funding round, with a variety of new and existing investors participating in the round. The round was led by Kuwait Projects Company Holding (KIPCO), and was joined by investors such as the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), 500 Startups, Saudi Arabia-based Vision Ventures, UK-based Hambro Perks, as well as existing investors that were part of the previous rounds such as Shorooq PartnersHala Venture Capital, Phoenician Funds, and Mindshift Capital.

Through this new funding round, Sarwa looks to strengthen its position in the UAE, and working on further progressing with its expansion plan. Including this funding round, Sarwa has raised more than US$10 million, according to MAGNiTT data. Founded in December 2017 by co-founders Mark Chahwan, Jad Sayegh and Nadine Mezher, the startup has month-over-month growth of over 20%, with 10,000 users registered currently.

Mark Chahwan, CEO at Sarwa, comments, “The coming together of a large institution that understands how to build leading asset managers, with the first licensed Fintech out here sets a great example for the region. This is a vote of confidence from a Financial Institution that decided to collaborate with a team they trust to deliver superior client experiences and investment returns in wealth management. All our partners believe in what we are trying to achieve: making investing as smart and simple as can be and allowing anyone to grow their wealth and build for a better future.”

Adding to this sentiment, a few new investors in the FinTech startup commented as well. Osama T. Al Ghoussein, KIPCO SVP Banking and Sarwa Board Member, highlighted, “KIPCO is delighted to be making its first FinTech investment in Sarwa, which shares our belief in the need to encourage more people in the region to save by making available more accessible and reliable investment platforms. Sarwa speaks the language of the younger generation, an important and growing untapped segment. ”

With ADIO joining the round, Sarwa’s first geographical expansion will be to Abu Dhabi.

Speaking about the expansion and the role of ADIO and Abu Dhabi in Sarwa's expansion plans, Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), stated, “Sarwa is among a new wave of tech startups that are thriving in the UAE as our FinTech sector continues to flourish. ADIO’s funding will enable Sarwa to expand its UAE operations, creating new opportunities for employment in Abu Dhabi’s tech sector. We are committed to supporting innovation-led businesses to establish and grow in the emirate of Abu Dhabi through our Ventures Fund.”

The round was also joined by venture capital firms 500 Startups and Shorooq Partners, two of the most active investors in UAE-based startups according to MAGNiTT data. Commenting on the announcement, Sharif El-Badawi, Managing Partner at 500 Startups MENA, said, “As the future of digital wealth grows exponentially, we are delighted to be part of Sarwa, one of the first robo-advisories that has consistently shown potential in delivering results. We have been impressed by Sarwa’s achievements since the seed round and we are pleased to support their business growth in 2020 and beyond. Our investment perfectly fits our growth strategy of investing in companies at the forefront of technology and we look forward to working closely with a strong team to help accelerate growth to build a category leader.”

Kunal Savjani, Partner, Shorooq Partners, adds to this sentiment, "Shorooq has had the privilege to witness Sarwa’s journey from the very beginning and are proud to see it as the leading investment robo-advisory firm it has become today. Armed with an incredible momentum and this strong financing round, we are confident Sarwa will accelerate exponentially and continue to unlock the opportunity for consumers in the region to simplify their financial lives."