Zest Equity, a UAE-based startup focused on digitizing private market transactions, has raised $3.8 million in seed funding.
This funding will be instrumental in expanding the platform’s capabilities, enabling faster and more transparent transactions among various ecosystem players while enhancing liquidity through secondary deals.
The investment round was led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and included participation from the Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF) and DASH Ventures. This round brings the total funding raised by Zest Equity to $5.7 million.
Founded in 2021 by Rawan Baddour and Zuhair Shamma, Zest Equity initially started as a secondary trading marketplace.
Still, it quickly became a platform facilitating online transactions for ecosystem participants like founders and venture capitalists. Traditionally, such transactions took place offline, involving tedious, opaque, and costly processes.
Rawan Baddour, co-founder of Zest Equity and a former banking executive, explained that they chose this path due to the lack of infrastructure for cost-effective and digitized communication, connection, and information sharing among stakeholders.
The platform provides tools for founders to invite investors to fundraising rounds, share crucial information such as pitch decks and cap tables, and monitor the progress of deals.
On the other hand, investors can express their interest, view other participating venture capitalists, and electronically sign documents.
Zest Equity also offers the legal framework to enable investors, including angels and investment syndicates, to pursue shared venture interests efficiently.
This approach saves time, reduces administrative costs, and simplifies the investment process, especially for angel investors.
Baddour emphasized that the funding will be used to develop new tools to streamline the transaction process further, making it even more seamless.
Additionally, Zest Equity is working on tools to empower startups to establish standardized processes for secondary share trading.
These tools will allow startups to control liquidity, set liquidity windows, and approve sharing information required for secondary transactions. The goal is to introduce transparency, expedite sale approvals, and provide investors with easier access to liquidity.
Walid Mansour of MEVP expressed confidence in Zest Equity’s ability to rapidly digitize private market transactions in the Middle East, addressing the growing demand within the ecosystem for such a solution.