CrowdToLive® CEO Interview with Islamic Finance News
Despite the competitive nature of the property crowdfunding market in the UK, it has not deterred Crowdtolive from entering the market and targeting the UK Muslim population looking for Shariah compliant property crowdfunding. JEVITHA MUTHUSAMY has more.
Crowdtolive, a UK-based property crowdfunding platform, has forayed into the Islamic finance industry with an aim to bridge the gap in Shariah compliant property crowdfunding in the UK.
“At Crowdtolive, the idea is to off er a product that will help people secure a home to stay in but instead choosing debt or mortgage, we choose equity. Having said that, Crowdtolive is not a home fi nancing plan, it is a hybrid between full home ownership and full renting status,” Anouar Adham, the founder and CEO, tells IFN.
The platform connects a ‘Champion’ (the person looking to raise equity fi nancing) to a pool of investors, enabling them to jointly purchase a property under the Musharakah structure.
“There are two sides to the platform, one is the investment side which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority while on the product side we are using crowdsourcing to find properties to buy,” explains Anouar.
Crowdtolive’s co-founder reviews the Shariah operations of the business while no Shariah board has been appointed due to the straightforward nature of the business in offering debt-free products.
The largest hurdle the platform faced when setting up was managing the marketing aspects of a double-sided business.
“As a double-sided platform, we are the matchmaker in the middle and we need investors on the investment side and we also need potential homeowners on the product side. Because of this, we needed to have two different marketing strategies,” Anouar says.
Crowdtolive currently services more than 6,000 users and are looking to further expand their user base. The platform off ers users an opportunity to purchase property without the need of a mortgage while on the investment side, Crowdtolive targets investors looking for hassle-free property management investments.
Anouar acknowledges the competitive nature of the market on the debt side and believes that Crowdtolive distinguishes itself by providing equity crowdfunding focusing only on residential property in the UK.
The UK market currently hosts more than 40 property crowdfunding platforms, out of which 10 have been founded within the past three years. Yielders is another Islamic equity-based property crowdfunding platform in the UK followed by conventional players Octopus Choice, Proplend, Kuflink and Property Partner which are some of the largest platforms focusing only on property crowdfunding in the UK.
“The demand is very strong for Shariah compliant property crowdfunding in the UK. There is definitely a big market which is currently served by some of the Islamic banks here. Crowdtolive is diff erent as its an equity fi nancing product where we only require a 5% deposit while Islamic banks require a minimum 20% deposit which might be difficult for some people,” adds Anouar.
For the next 24 months Crowdtolive will be focusing on growing their UK operations but is keen to expand to other countries like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia in the future.