At 1.8 billion, the global Muslim market now represents more than 24 percent of the world’s population. Thomson Reuters estimates that the halal economy is set to reach USD 3.7 trillion by 2019.
This segment represents an enormous untapped opportunity, and looking into this promising space closely is Chinese venture capital firm Gobi Partners. Gobi is the first Chinese venture capital firm to expand into the ASEAN region with over USD 1.1 billion in assets under management.
In 2016, founding partner Thomas G. Tsao, along with Gobi’s ASEAN team - based in Kuala Lumpur, coined the term Taqwa Tech for Muslim-related businesses.
“The old joke in the industry is that venture capitalists won’t invest into something unless there’s an acronym or term for that sector. So, we created this term,” Tsao jokes, breaking the ice at its Taqwa Tech talk in Kuala Lumpur.
“For six months, we tried to come up with something. Then, I started learning Arabic and one day, I learnt the word Taqwa - which means piety, faith, living with a purpose. The word stuck immediately and that’s when Taqwa Tech was coined - innovation with value and purpose for the Muslim community.”
Gobi has made several investments into Muslim startups. One area of opportunity that is unique to this region is travel, says Tsao. Gobi has invested in Malaysia’s Muslim-centric online travel agency and hotel review platform Tripfez. The firm also led a Series A funding round for Karachi-based online travel agency, Sastaticket.pk, becoming the first Chinese venture capital firm to invest in Pakistan.
The opportunities in Taqwa Tech, he adds will be fuelled by a rise in Muslim populations in Asia and the Middle East. “We believe Taqwa Tech is one of the biggest and most exciting investments trends for the next decade. We hope to help play a vital role in nurturing and developing Taqwa Tech,” says Tsao.
Via Awani: https://www.awanireview.com/articles/2018/11/22/news/gobi-sows-seeds-in-muslim-startup-desert-523/