UAE-based commission-free investing platform baraka has secured an investment of $20m in its Series A round led by American venture capital fund Valar Ventures.

The round, which was also joined by Knollwood, will enable baraka to secure new licenses in the region.

The funding will be used by the company to expand its presence across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Egypt and other markets.

baraka also plans to use portions of the new fund to provide local investors with access to regional stock exchanges on its app as well as promote international investments in local equity markets.

The company said it will launch features to offer access to dividend reinvestment plans in addition to prolonged hours trading.

The proposed improvements, which will be launched in the next 12 months, will help users with their saving, investment and raising their money.

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baraka founder and CEO Feras Jalbout said: “In just one year since our launch, we reach hundreds of thousands of daily users or consumers of our content across the GCC.

“By empowering the next generation of investors in our region with low-cost and comprehensive investment choices, we remain committed to enabling financial inclusion for millions of investors across our region.”

Meanwhile, baraka is working with regional stock exchanges, including Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, to enable local trading on its app.

Founded last year, baraka has so far offered regional investors with access to commission free investing and to more than 6,000 US stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs).