Ramadhan has graced us once again, and Muslims worldwide have commenced the start of a month-long daily fast from dawn until sunset. During this Islamic month of spiritual reflection, Muslims have to refrain themselves from not just food and water, but also negative thoughts and actions.
Today we are here to recognise several startups by members of the Muslim community in Singapore who have set out on a journey for the betterment of everyone locally, and even those abroad. In each of their respective fields, they have provided innovative solutions to unique problems.
Let’s meet them and find out what they have to offer.
Founded by Umar Munshi, EthisCrowd pride themselves in being the world’s first Shariah-compliant crowdfunding platform comprising of a private investment network in startups, small businesses and property. They’re currently focused on the Southeast Asian market, as they will feel it is a fast-growing region that the world will need to lookout for. Since securing seed funding back in May, they have been on a mission to build affordable housing throughout the region through socially impactful real estate investments, as well as to expand their growth in the Asia Pacific.
What’s different about Shariah-compliant funds is that they are prohibited from being invested into companies whose income from the production and sales of any kind of alcohol and swine products, pornography and gambling, military weapons and equipment.
Another Islamic crowdfunding platform – but this time, more geared towards businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Co-founder Erly Witoyo believes that there is a severe global shortage of Islamic investment products, even though a quarter of the population globally are Muslims.
Kapital Boost‘s main aim is to assist SMEs in their small business asset purchases. This means to say that for any purchases, they will first buy the assets, and after which, via an agreement with SMEs, they are then sold to these companies with interest. Profits from this sale will then be split amongst Kapital Boost members.
Best of all, while Kapital Boost taps on the Muslim investors for funding, and also employ Islamic-friendly principles in the daily running of the company. SMEs in need of their services also do not necessarily have to be Muslim.
Lifestak seeks to address the problem of the quest to discover and attain a better life. Founder Shariff Raffi recognizes that mentorship is a painfully unscalable process, but is yet one of the most powerful tools to have. How Lifestak is often summarised is simply as a Spotify for Lifestyle Design.
As a mobile-first peer-coaching platform that helps you discover and emulate alternative lifestyles from others who are already successfully living it, it connects Lifestyle Experts who are knowledgeable in their fields to Lifestyle Seekers in search of a mentor to learn from. The good thing about this platform is that everything can be done remotely. The Experts are able to create and publish their lifestyle routines and remotely mentor anyone who is subscribed to them.
This cloud-based all-in-one fleet management portal is the product of Shamir Rahim and his team at Sypher Labs. Versafleet in itself has a whole host of features, such as electronic job orders management, real-time tracking of all vehicles via GPS systems round the clock, automatic billing and invoicing after job completion, and much more.
The headline though, is that the app is based on a monthly subscription model, thus making it very affordable for even SMEs to integrate it into their operations. Versafleet has amazingly managed to carve out its own niche in the congested logistics market. What’s even more interesting is that CEO Shamir is a molecular biologist by training, yet as he told The Straits Times, still managed to overcome the many challenges he faced, and has arrived in the present with his products being present in places as far as Australia.
iCommerce Asia is also one other small, medium enterprises (SMEs) solutions provider in Southeast Asia. Started earlier this year in April by Director Hazrul Azhar, they have identified three main categories through research of which that they could assist SMEs in. Firstly, helping businesses to build an online presence. Next is to further aid those who already have an online presence, but is not managing it properly. Lastly, to assist companies who are unsure about taking their business online in the first place.
Comprising of a collection of young Muslims passionate about Islam, through the use of various social media tools, Ilm Productions want to provide Islamic teachings of scholars and lectures from around the world by means of events, videos, and livestreaming. Ilm means knowledge in Arabic, and it is knowledge about Islam that they strive to bring to light to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
They have been working with mosques locally for video uploads of recital, sermons, lectures and courses on both Youtube and Facebook, so that these resources are easily and freely available for anyone who seeks them.
Have Halal Will Travel
CEO Melvin is a recent revert to Islam, and like many others of his faith, didn’t want to let the difficulty of finding halal food overseas deter him from traveling the world. #HHWT is born out of a need to have a one-stop site for Muslim travelers to refer to, especially when going to countries where finding halal meals will be harder to come by. An experience which he and members of his team personally had when on exchange in Seoul, South Korea.
They even have an app available on iOS and Android, so all the more will it be convenient for Muslim travelers to plan their itinerary to see the world. They have a firm belief in giving back to the Muslim community and are very appreciative when seasoned travelers come forward to contribute any invaluable tips and add on to their travel guides.
The Project Nomad
The Project Nomad aims to uplift communities living in rural poverty by partnering with local artisans to drive social changes. Founder Haziq Rashid is currently traveling through rural India where he and his team spend their time extensively to connect with local artisans to design and produce high-quality goods for new and emerging markets. Profits would often be put towards helping communities and schools of villages.
Expect picturesque scenes of warmth and love from the social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. Give them your support and get in touch – these are good people who are actively changing someone’s lives daily.
“A community at a time, we can make a difference.”
While startups within the Muslim community in Singapore are still considered a small number and gradually growing, it is still great to see that the few who are already out there are making an impact in the region, providing solutions for everyone.
Ramadhan kareem to all!