Hijra: Building an Islamic Challenger Bank

By Steve Ciesinski, Lucy Montgomery
2024 | Case No. E835 | Length 17 pgs.

Dima Djani founded Hijra in late 2018 to provide digitally-enabled financial services to businesses and consumers who followed Islamic finance principles. Islamic finance prohibited the use of usury (interest), mandated that all transactions been linked to tangible assets, and prohibited financing for companies in sectors like alcohol, gambling, and pork. Hijra provided digital banking services to both consumers and businesses that enabled them to remain in compliance with Islamic finance principles.

Hijra raised a $20 million Series A round in 2021, but had struggled to turn that funding into revenue. The company had been forced to layoff 25 percent of its staff in 2023 and was now facing pressure to improve its unit economics to attract additional investors. Djani could see the path to turning Hijra into an Islamic finance powerhouse, but he would need to be disciplined and intentional in the coming years to turn that into reality.

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