The UAE-based fintech start-up baraka have recently introduced its waitlist and a free stock giveaway, in preparation for the scheduled launch of its commission-free trading platform.

The secure and user-friendly platform is aiming to officially launch in the second quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval. Users can expect to enjoy full access to over 4,000 US-listed securities; including stocks, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and fractional shares. There’ll also be an accompanying mobile trading app, as well as the option to access an additional paid tier which will offer a rigorous stock analysis, with no minimum investment requirements.

Feras Jalbout, Founder and CEO, baraka

“The retail investor revolution is no longer on the horizon – it’s already begun. Young investors in the Middle East are becoming more conscious about the companies and causes they want to support. Whether it’s backing organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion, seeking sustainable investment options, or just helping their favourite brands to grow, millennials want a say in where their money is going. So, we created a platform that would allow them to do that while addressing their two biggest challenges – limited access to US-listed stocks, and a lack of understanding around how they work.” comments Feras Jalbout, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of baraka.

In July of 2020, baraka launched its first finance-themed newsletter entitled ‘akhbaraka’; a title derived from a clever play on the company’s own name, and the Arabic word for ‘news’. These bite-sized daily market newsletters are delivered straight to subscribers’ inboxes, combining illustrations with digestible local and international stories, sharing the combined aim of increasing investor knowledge. The same information will be mirrored in the soon-to-be-released baraka app.

Kunal Taneja, Co-Founder and CTO, baraka

Kunal Taneja, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at baraka said: “Building the baraka platform wasn’t just about opening a gateway to investment opportunities – that was a major part of it – but we wanted to make sure that we were offering a secure, social and enjoyable experience along the way. We’ve designed the app based on what young investors are actively seeking, and user feedback will play a huge role in the features we continue to add post-launch.”

The latest development comes following the company’s pre-seed capital raise of $1 million. The funding round was led by Class 5 Global, with joint participation from FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq and private investment from Dr. Abdulla Elyas, Co-Founder of Careem.

Joel Ayala, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Class 5 Global, commented: “MENA has one of the youngest populations and highest rates of smartphone penetration and engagement in the world. However, consumers have limited options when it comes to investing, especially in their favourite US stocks, and the current offerings lack a truly customer-centric approach. baraka is solving this problem by being commission-free, customer obsessive, and a mobile-first platform. We are seeing retail and consumer investing behaviours change dramatically globally and believe baraka is best positioned to take advantage of these tailwinds in the region.”

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