UAE-based fintech company Baraka is looking to expand its presence in the GCC and Egypt as it raised $20 million in a recent funding round. 

The Series A round was led by venture capital firm Valar Ventures and backed by global investment firm Knollwood and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, said the company, which operates a platform for commission-free investors. 

The platform, which was launched in 2021, provides investors access to more than 6,000 US stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It is working with stock exchanges and regulators in the region to enable access to “local market trading” on its app. 

“With this new investment, Baraka will double down on its presence across the GCC and Egypt,” the statement said, adding that new services on the platform will be launched over the next 12 months. New features will include dividend reinvestment plans and extended trading hours. 

So far, the platform has attracted “tens of thousands” of users. 

The company is looking to capitalize on strong appetite for investments in the region, particularly in the capital markets. It noted that stock exchanges in the Middle East had posted a nearly 300% increase in IPOs in 2022, with retail investors leading a 16% increase in total assets under management to $1.2 trillion. 

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Daniel Luiz )