Sharia-compliant venture capital

by Shazia Hussain


Across the world of finance, business, corporate transactions, and investments, adherence to ethical and religious principles is becoming increasingly important. People are actively searching for Sharia compliant venture capital which stands at the intersection of entrepreneurship and Islamic finance.

Not only does Sharia-compliant venture capital support businesses to operate within the rules of Islamic finance, but also ensures that they have adequate funding to innovate and grow.

Sharia-compliant venture capital facilitates and enables ethical growth and investment. What this means in the long-term for businesses is that they can ensure their growth is sustainable and stable.


In its very basic form, venture capital is exactly what it says it is. It is capital (money) for a venture. It provides essential funds for (usually) start-ups or small and medium-sized enterprises that have potential for growth and want to minimise their debt. The aim of anyone investing in these businesses is to see a good return on their investment.

Investors or venture capital firms that invest in a business provide capital funding in exchange for ownership or some equity in the business.

For Muslims, venture capital is a move away from obtaining funding from banks which offer loans that do not adhere to Sharia principles. Primarily, conventional banks offer loans based on interest calculations and interest is prohibited in Islam.

In addition to funding, some venture capitalists offer advice and mentoring to the businesses they invest in. This can be a great boost for those looking for management expertise. This can come in the form of strategic guidance, access to networks, and business development opportunities. The aim is to accelerate the trajectory growth of the business.

To summarise, venture capital plays a significant role in supporting innovation. Many new businesses can struggle to secure the finance to enable them to grow as they do not have a trading history or record of achievement. Being able to access venture capital means ideas become innovations, and innovations can become successful.


When it comes to Sharia-compliant venture capital we are referring to venture capital that operates within the parameters of Islamic finance. The principles of Islamic finance are based on ethical and socially responsible transactions, and zero interest-based lending.

Unlike the more traditional form of venture capital funds, Sharia compliant venture capital invests in those promising businesses that operate in Sharia-compliant industries. This means Sharia-compliant venture capital cannot invest in industries such as the porn, alcohol, or gambling industry.

More likely is that venture capital funds will invest in industries such as healthcare, sustainability, renewable energy, and education.


A critical element of Sharia-compliant venture capital is to support and encourage innovation within the Islamic finance ecosystem. What this means for businesses and entrepreneurs is that they can pursue Islamic and innovative ideas whilst ensuring they can access funding in a Sharia compliant way.

One of the key concepts within Sharia compliant venture capital is the concept of risk sharing (mudarabah). What this means is for investors to provide the capital to entrepreneurs who use the money to grow and develop the business idea.

Any profits that are generated are then shared between the parties in pre-agreed terms and ratios. In a difficult and unpredictable economy, it means businesses can access finance and develop their product and services where otherwise they may not be able to.


When it comes to investments, Sharia rules are strict and require that investments are fully halal. What this means is that venture capital cannot be spent on haram activities or industries.

Instead, venture capital investments must be used for ventures that are ethical and that contribute to society in a positive way. Not only does this ensure compliance with Islam, but also ensures that the capital is spent in a way that aligns with Islamic finance and the beliefs of the investor and business.


When it comes to Islamic finance, money serves mainly as a medium of exchange rather than a tradable commodity value. For entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, they need the money to be able to scale and grow their idea into a profitable business.

When looking for Sharia-compliant venture capital businesses need to look out for:
  • Mudarabah/ profit sharing: make sure any contract relating to venture capital investment is based on a fair and pre agreed payment ratio (with losses borne by the investor).
  • Musharakah: in this type of partnership arrangement the parties share the profits according to the capital contribution.
  • Advisors: make sure that you have access to a Sharia advisor who can advise on compliancy and ongoing compliance.
  • Investment: any investment should be halal and in halal industries
  • Annual disclosure: check and monitor Sharia compliancy and ensure you have annual disclosure for transparency
  • Regulation: ensure there is a regulatory framework that is rooted in Islamic finance.

Many businesses have been supported by Sharia compliant venture capital. The remit of businesses includes fintech companies, digital, and health care sectors.

For any new business or SME looking for investment, venture capital is often the perfect solution.

Venture capital plays a critical role in many different ways:
  • provides financial resource and financial services
  • supports early stage innovation
  • facilitates experimentation and entrepreneurship
  • provides guidance via the mentorship model
  • offers long term perspective
  • provides capital solutions
  • offers market exposure
  • enables SME to navigate new sectors
  • focus away from the bank to the investor
  • opportunity to scale growth and capital
  • ecosystem and infrastructure development

The future of Islamic venture capital funds looks bright. The Islamic finance market is one of the fastest growing financial markets in the world. Accompanied by technological advancement and the increasing demand for Sharia-compliant products and finance, venture capital funds that adhere to Islamic finance rules will continue to grow.

The demand for ethical venture capital is not only driven by Muslims. There are huge swathes of communities who want to invest in a more socially responsible and ethical way. Not only does this generate sustainable growth, but also supports efficiency and economic prosperity for the long term.

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