Startup Spotlight: Sarwa Aims To Make Investing Easier For Rookie Investors In the Middle East The startup's primary aim is to make investing easier not only for first-time and younger investors with little experience in investing, but even for those who know about investing

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

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Mark Chahwan, CEO and co-founder, Sarwa

The idea of investing in potentially profitable stocks or a mutual fund may be enticing to many, but most of them may not necessarily possess, or have access to, financial and/or market information that ensures low risk and high returns.

Launched in February 2018, Dubai-based startup Sarwa is an online platform that offers financial advisory that eases the process of investment. "Our primary aim is to make investing easier not only for first-time and younger investors with little experience in investing, but even for those who know about investing," says co-founder and CEO Mark Chahwan. "We saw a need for disruption in the industry, because we realized that not everyone had equal access to essential financial tools. Fees were high, and there was an inherent and selective advantage for people who already had wealth to grow their wealth even more. We wanted to give everyone, regardless of their net worth, age, background, the same opportunities to build for a better future with easy, affordable, and transparent access to investing. It's this mission that drove us to start Sarwa."

Through the Sarwa Invest services, users can build customized portfolios of low-cost index funds, which are a type of mutual fund or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), while being guided by financial experts through the decision-making process. With features that allow users to set up and open their accounts online in less than 10 minutes and auto-deposits which allocate new funds into the account and reinvestment of dividends back into the portfolio, Chahwan believes his firm leverages technology to make the entire investment process easier. "With Sarwa Invest, our clients get a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs that help them build for long term wealth," elaborates Chahwan. "We made the whole process easy and smart by leveraging technology and data-driven approaches to bring down costs. We also don't use any jargon typical of traditional financial institutions. Our mission is to empower everyone to achieve their financial goals and financial freedom."

Having raised US$10 million in funding through its seed and series A rounds, and now closing in on its series B funding, Chahwan says the firm is now looking to be more than just an investment platform. "Sarwa is ever-evolving and ever-adapting, based on the needs of our clients," he explains. "Sarwa is a customer centric brand: we started as an investment platform, but we are becoming so much more than that. Sarwa is well on its way to becoming a personal finance app for anyone looking to save, invest, trade and grow wealth. We will keep working towards enabling our clients by providing products that speak to them and help them achieve their financial goals."

'TREP TALK: Mark Chahwan, co-founder and CEO, Sarwa

How has the MBRIF accelerator program helped you and your startup?

"MBRIF brought together a great community of likeminded entrepreneurs. The program helps with a faster go-to-market path and supports when needed. It's been a real pleasure to have been a part of this initiative."

Related: Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Startup Student10x Wants To Be A One-Stop-Shop For Student Supplies In The UAE

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is keen on pursuing and writing stories on people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

A bibliophile, chai addict, and photography enthusiast, she can be often found (animatedly) talking about Kdramas, BTS, cricket, novels, and comic book films.

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