Venture capital in Islamic finance: A crucial concept

Venture capital was of limited significance in the Muslim world until the recent past. Things came into gear when Malaysia in 2016 launched the world’s first Islamic venture capital fund endowed with $100mn to provide seed financing for startup companies and entrepreneurs. A company financed by Islamic venture capital cannot have conventional debt on its books or use debt in any way for expansion. In a first step, a startup seeking Islamic venture capital needs to be checked very thoroughly. Next, suitable Shariah-compliant financing models need to be chosen. The three common structures used in Islamic venture capital are mudaraba, musharaka and wakala. A fourth concept is shirka, where two or more partners invest a certain amount of capital in a start-up and share the benefits on a pre-agreed basis. The investing parties are equally involved in any decision to change the strategy of the company, even after the disbursement of funds.