Islamic peer-to-peer lending platform Qardus is looking to raise £215,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.
The platform, which provides Shariah-compliant finance to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is already more than three quarters towards its target and has backing from 180 investors.
The money raised will go towards marketing, hiring five new members of staff and on expanding its services to SMEs.
Qardus launched in July 2020 and is an appointed representative of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-regulated ShareIn.
It provides unsecured loans of up to £200,000 in the form of a commodity murabahah, an Islamic financing structure in which the seller and buyer agree to the cost and mark-up of an asset.
SMEs must also pay an arrangement fee of up to seven per cent of funds raised on the platform.
These are deducted from the proceeds before drawdown by the business
The platform, which is open to both Muslim and non-Muslim investors in the UK and Europe, has a minimum investment of £100 and has average projected net returns of 13.4 per cent per year.
“We serve businesses that make a positive impact on society and the environment. In this economic climate, the SMEs that our investors have financed need to have resilient business models and so far our platform has reflected this,” Qardus said in its Seedrs pitch.
“Qardus is FCA approved as an authorised representative and open to everyone irrespective of their faith & belief.
“Our vision is to be the first Islamic SME challenger bank globally.”
European alternative lender Robocash Group has also entered the Islamic finance market by partnering with a Shariah-compliant firm in Indonesia.