Baraka raises $4 million seed, launches investment app to connect retail investors in Middle East with US markets

Dubai-based fintech Baraka has raised $4 million in a seed round from Global Founders Capital, FJ Labs, Raptor Group, Tribe Capital, Nuwa Capital, VentureSouq, and Class 5 Global, it announced today. The round takes the total capital raised to date by Baraka to $5 million. It has previously raised $1 million in a pre-seed earlier this year. Baraka is also part of the ongoing Y Combinator Summer 2021 cohort. In a statement, it said it is the fourth startup from UAE to have joined YC.

Founded in 2020, Baraka has been building an ecosystem to makes investments in US securities easy and accessible for retail investors in the Middle East. Until now, it had been educating users through an investment academy and content (in different forms – including a newsletter and podcast).

Today, it has launched its commission-free mobile investment app that enables users in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait, to invest in 5,000 US-listed securities including stocks, ETFs, and fractional shares, without any minimum investment requirements. The app also offers a dashboard for users to track and manage their portfolio plus access the content curated by Baraka’s team and learn about investing through the academy. The launch comes after Baraka receiving regulatory authorization from Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) in June 2021.

The app is launch to a waitlist of 10,000 users, In a statement, Feras Jablout, the founder and CEO of Baraka, said, “Since we opened our waitlist in March, more than 10,000 users from across the Middle East have subscribed to be among the first to experience the baraka app. This hasn’t just validated what we’re building, it’s shown us that there is a genuine need for a platform that offers regional retail investors insights and access to international markets.”

“The feedback we received during the beta testing phase has been invaluable in helping us fine-tune the platform to meet user needs, and we can’t wait for people to finally begin their investment journey now that the app is live,” he added.

Khaled Talhouni, the Managing Partner at Nuwa Capital, said, “Baraka is leading the charge in transforming the way in which investors access global capital markets and is at the center of our thinking of how technology can reinvent entire sectors. We’re also especially privileged to be joining Feras who is singularly suited to take on this massive opportunity.”

The startup plans to use the investment to further enhance its platform and scale in the region. 

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