MENA peer-to-peer lender gets government backing as part of $5m round

By Ryan Weeks on Monday 2 October 2017

Alternative Lending

Riyad TAQNIA Fund leads series A investment round for Sharia compliant fund platform Beehive.

Beehive, which claims to be the first P2P firm in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) to be regulated, has clinched $5m in a series A round. Riyad TAQNIA Fund led the way, with support also coming from Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF), the financial arm of Dubai SME, as well as from other investors.

Dubai SME is part of the Department for Economic Development in Dubai, aiming to foster an entrepreneurial culture and foster a competitive SME sector. Its participation in the Beehive round is reminiscent to Bpifrance’s recent involvement in French marketplace lender Younited Credit’s €40m fundraise. In the UK, the government-backed British Business Bank invests in loans via Funding Circle and other platforms.

Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said he’s already seen the strategic partnership with Beehive translate “into immediate and tangible results for SMEs”. Al Janahi will join Beehive’s board.

Beehive is regulated by the DFSA. It facilitates Sharia compliant funding solutions for small businesses, financed through a marketplace on which individuals may invest for as little as AED 100. The company has raised $10.5m in equity funding to date, while facilitating over $35m (AED 130m) in finance for over 200 businesses.

Riyad TAQNIA Fund, the other big backer in the series A, is a Saudi Arabia-based venture capital fund, specialising in ICT, energy and sustainability, and advanced materials.

“Beehive has attracted us as the pioneering regulated P2P lending platform in MENA,” said Adel Al-Ateeq, acting CEO of Riyad Capital. “It has engaged in building strategic agreements with government and large companies in the UAE, where it fulfils a clear financing need. We are particularly excited to support the company’s expansion into Saudi Arabia where it would finance Saudi SMEs.” 

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