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Sarwa Closes a US$ 8.4 million Series A with KIPCO as the Lead Investor

2 months 6 days ago

Media Release

More funds injection means more people will know about how to better invest, faster. The Sarwa team has been in talks with major regional and international investors and just announced that it’s a wrap. The investment round is complete: Sarwa raised more than US$ 8.4 million. What is even more exciting is the list of investors/strategic partners that joined in.

This round is a testament to the progress Sarwa made towards helping everyone in the region optimize his/her personal finance. It shows that during the past year, they kept improving on existing features and added more products to their already existing compelling list, staying true to their mission: working on putting an end to expensive savings plans and making investing transparent and available to all.  There is still so much they want to do. Today they announced this new round led by Kuwait Projects Company (Holding), also known as KIPCO - a massive regional investment holding group with consolidated assets of more than US$ 30 Billion - joined by leading investors such as Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Vision Ventures from Saudi, Hambro Perks from the UK, as well as existing investors that were part of the previous rounds.

With the support of such strategic partners, Sarwa is strengthening its position in the UAE, and working on further progressing with its expansion plan. This new round brings Sarwa’s total funding to over US$ 10 million since its inception in December of 2017 by Co-founders Mark Chahwan, Jad Sayegh and Nadine Mezher. Sarwa was the first firm within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to be granted an Innovation Testing License and was part of the first cohort of DIFC FinTech Hive. The company officially launched its platform in February 2018 and has since known a monthly growth of over 20%. They have currently reached more than 10,000 registered users.

Another meaningful milestone: it is the first time that a regional investment group collaborates with a regional Fintech. KIPCO’s move confirms that it is the right time for the market to move towards affordable, accessible investing. In parallel, KIPCO, through its regional presence, will support Sarwa in its growth. 

“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’, said Mark Chahwan, CEO, Sarwa.’ 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.”

“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. Our investment will give Sarwa access to KIPCO’s network of businesses and clients across the region, thus enabling the fintech company to benefit from our regional presence as we strive together to grow the business and expand its reach.” Osama T. Al Ghoussein, KIPCO SVP Banking and Sarwa Board Member. 

With ADIO joining the round, Sarwa’s first geographical expansion will be to Abu Dhabi where the company is growing its tech team to include the brightest talents. 

Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) said: “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.”

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.”

As part of their investment in the region, Ali Qaiser, Managing Director at Hambro Perks added: “As a tech-enabled financial platform with strong growth in the region, Sarwa is an excellent addition to our portfolio. Hambro Perks backs game-changing companies and Sarwa has the potential to reinvent its sector. This is the first of many investments Hambro Perks plans to make in the Gulf in 2020 and we are excited that Sarwa is our steppingstone here.” 

"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 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" -said Kunal Savjani, Partner, Shorooq Investments.

The company plans on continuing to fight expensive, non-transparent saving plans and to expand into new markets including Saudi, assisted by strategic partners such as Vision Venture, Hala Ventures and Angel Investor Musaab Hussain Nasser Hakami.

Sarwa had an incredible 2019: the company grew by more than 10X and is looking forward to building on this momentum, providing new products for even more clients in the year ahead.

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More About Sarwa

Why Sarwa?

Sarwa brings expert level investing to its clients by combining technology and human advice to create a user-friendly and fully digitalized experience at a very low fee. In parallel, we are big on education and want to free the discussion around money in the region and provide a platform where anyone can find financial advice and read about stories that can inspire their own journey to financial independence.

Who is Sarwa?

Sarwa is backed by a team of world-class financial experts and the best technology talent. They work hard to implement time-tested investment strategies that are personalized for each client. Their investment committee team includes experts such as David Gibson Moore, Danny Jabbour, and Dr. Jiro Kondo – who bring together more than 50 years of investment and technology experience to Sarwa. They've worked at companies such as Merrill Lynch, UBS, CDPQ Pension Fund, Goldman Sachs and Accenture and have chaired the boards of banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase Switzerland. Sarwa is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. 

How does Sarwa work?

Simple: you go to our website and register. You are then welcomed by a set of questions that will help us understand your financial goals and your risk appetite. Based on your answers, we build you a portfolio and recommend an investment plan. Once you accept, we put your hard earned money to work for you in international markets through the use of Exchange Traded Funds. We then help you rebalance when needed, optimize for taxes, and reinvest dividends. It’s hassle free investing on autopilot.  Just visit us at www.sarwa.co and see for yourself. 

List of all investors:

  • KIPCO – Kuwait
  • 500 Falcons by 500 Startups – California
  • Shorooq Partners - UAE
  • Hambro Perks - UK 
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) - Dubai
  • Middle East Venture Partners. - Regional
  • Vision Ventures - Saudi
  • SANED Equity Partners - Lebanon
  • Hala Ventures - Saudi
  • Mindshift Capital Management LLC - UAE
  • WAIN Dubai BVI Limited - UAE
  • More Capital  - Lebanon
  • VSQ Capital - UA

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