We are familiar with the notion that 9 out every 10 startups fail. It is a fact of life, and it is not exactly a bad thing. The world must be saved from another Pets.com-like projects, and we end up getting more experienced entrepreneurs that learned from their mistakes.

Many projects fail before they get a chance to become startups. …


The ratings of the Top-10 highest paid royals

Mel Brooks as Louis XIV — photo by UST

The great Mel Brook played Louis XIV in the epical comedy “World History. Part 1”. His character is well remembered for his key phase announced repeatedly — “It’s good to be the King”. But is it really good to be the king, queen, sultan, or any other royal?

Well, sometimes, it is a well-paid job.

Please see the list of the top 10 best paid sovereigns:

1. $9.6 billion — Saudi Arabia


Central Mosque, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Many of the countries that are trying to develop Islamic finance keep making the same mistake — they believe that the faith is most important factor, and that the people are prepared to pay extra for new and unfamiliar services, as long as they are Shariah complaint. It may happen this way, but most often it doesn’t. The customers have their family members to feed, clothe and care about. …


A Sukuk is an Islamic financial certificate, similar to a bond in Western finance, that complies with Islamic religious law commonly known as Sharia

Photo by Ali Arif Soydaş on Unsplash

Having taken part in many of the COVID19-induced Zoom conferences last year, I learned that many of my colleagues do not consider Sukuk as viable funding option for Islamic startups. I am going to illustrate a different view since the startup universe does not consist only of garage-based entities with a few guys and an idea written on the whiteboard.

Our conventional finance peers would not hesitate twice in offering venture debt to entrepreneurs. If a…


Astana, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan became the first of the former USSR countries to legislate Islamic finance.

On February 12, 2009 the law on Islamic banks and Islamic finance was adopted. Over the next 12 years several amendments had also been introduced. The law had mandated every Islamic bank to have a Shariah Board to oversee their activities. Islamic securities could now be issued by specialized finance companies. And a whole range of Islamic finance transactions, including even the Tawarruq, had now been authorized.

The development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan went from top down. All legislative changes were initiated by the President himself…


A handbook for the US State Department

Firstly — it can be done. Secondly — it can be done peacefully with the full support of the world community.

The precious Greenland is controlled by the Kingdom of Denmark (remember Hamlet? He was from around there). According to the FT Alphaville, the island stores some $300 billion worth of oil and $200 billion worth of real estate. But there are three ingredients that make Greenland totally irresistible:

· the rare earth minerals worth up to $700 billion. These are the fancy metals, like cerium, neodymium, and some other samariums that are…


“Unsuccessful startups are all alike, every successful startup is successful in its own way” — Leo Tolstoy (a free translation). Last month I had a unique opportunity to witness first-hand the operations of Uzbekistan’s most successful Islamic fintech — Alif Moliya. Having done consulting for Islamic fintechs around the world, I always qualify their unique features, to understand how they travel from survival and obscurity to prosperity. As for any other business, the performance of an Islamic fintech company is a function of market, product, team and funding. …


Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

Are we going to see a massive entry of “Al Mustathmirin al-Malak” (angel investors) in the developing Islamic economy? I would venture a guess that we are, and rather sooner than later.

Business angels are the individuals who provide capital for business startups at initial stages, when the risks are at the highest, and the companies can no longer grow internally. These brave souls hold the keys to the technological development of the world, as they come when the resources from the “FFF” — the Family, the Friends and the Fools had already been exhausted, but the startups are still…


Photo by kevin davis on Unsplash

Agriculture has always been a paramount industry is the lands of Islam. According to the Holy Quran, it was archangel Gabriel who taught Adam and Hawa to plough the earth and to grow wheat. Thus, agricultural products have long been the basis of commercial trade. The very first Waqf was composed of a grove of 600 date palms to feed Medina’s poor, and most of Zakat’s calculations are based on reallocation of fruits of “land and labor”.


Dubai by Sean Pinot

Corporate Venture Capital, or CVC is defined by the Business Dictionary as the “practice where a large firm takes an equity stake in a small but innovative or specialist firm, to which it may also provide management and marketing expertise.

The objective is to gain a specific competitive advantage.

According to Pitchbook, in 2019 in the US the CVCs participated in over 25% of all venture capital deals, and along with other “tourist” VC investors (asset managers, PE funds and sovereign wealth funds) control up to USD 340 billion in “dry powder”.

I have written in numerous occasions that most…

Vladimir Malenko

A former Medical Doctor turned VC/PE enthusiast

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