Alif receives $100 million valuation, raising $8 million in equity and $50 million in debt
Alif, a digital banking challenger, founded in Tajikistan in 2014, received a company valuation of over $100 million, raising $8 million in equity and $50 million in debt.
This is one of the largest funding rounds in Central Asia to date, making Alif one of the highest valued fintech startups in the region.
The total investment has been raised from its existing shareholder Jefferson Capital Holdings Limited – a UK-based investment vehicle founded by Khofiz Shakhidi.
Founded in 2014 by Abdullo Kurbanov, Zuhursho Rahmatulloev and Firdavs Mirzoev in Tajikistan, Alif is one of Central Asia’s leading fintech companies. Following successive years of impressive growth, Alif will use the capital raised to consolidate existing operations in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. The investment will also be deployed to support Alif’s expansion into international markets, as it continues on its path to become a global champion in Islamic fintech.
The funding round is the latest in a series of recent business milestones announced by the neobank. In July, Alif announced plans to establish a presence in the UK to expand its investor network and business development.
Abdullo, Zuhursho and Firdavs recognise that the persistence and dedication of their team has been key to Alif becoming one of the leading fintech companies in the region in just seven years. That’s why it also offers a rare model of shared ownership for its employees.
As part of this and previous investment rounds, Alif has also committed to provide employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) to all its employees. Based on the most recent valuation, the total option package amounts to $25 million. Over 100 employees have now become shareholders.
With a full banking license in Tajikistan and a payments license in Uzbekistan, Alif now has over 700 thousand users and a team of 800 professionals. Its services include alif mobi (Tajikistan’s most widely used mobile wallet), alif salom and alif a’zo (buy now, pay later system) and alif shop (Tajikistan’s largest online marketplace).
Alif’s products are developed with Shariah compliance in view, while adaptation of the Islamic finance principles to local regulations may vary across different jurisdictions.
Khofiz Shakhidi of Jefferson Capital said: “We are proud to be backing Alif. In the space of just seven years, Alif has grown to become one of Central Asia’s leading fintech companies. We believe Alif is on track to becoming one of the world’s leading Islamic fintechs, and we are ready to commit our resources to fund Alif’s international efforts.
A big factor of Alif’s success comes from the commitment and hard-work of Alif’s talented team. Central Asia is ripe with talented individuals and part of Alif’s mission is to ensure the adequate training and facilities are in place to help our employees reach their full potential. In recognition of all their work, we are pleased to be offering ESOPs to the entire Alif team.
The team at Jefferson Capital Holdings look forward to working closely with Abdullo, Zuhursho, Firdavs and the rest of the Alif team on this exciting new chapter.”