Souqalmal.com, the Middle East’s leading financial comparison website, which allows users to compare a wide range of products and services from credit cards to nurseries, has successfully attracted $1.2m from Hummingbird Ventures in its second round of funding.

The newly acquired funds, which mark Hummingbird Ventures’ first capital investment in a GCC-based company, will help Souqalmal.com scale rapidly across the region and pursue its plans of steady growth and expansion.

The investment will be geared towards the long-term growth of the company – including building a solid team and strengthening its brand name across the region. Souqalmal.com’s first hire for 2014 will be responsible for utilizing new technology to continuously enhance the financial comparison website and take the customer experience to new heights.

Having already expanded to other verticals including Islamic finance, education and insurance over the past 12 months, the leading financial comparison website will now look at filling a wide gap in the market by launching a dedicated section for SME banking products, allowing owners and CEOs of smaller companies to search for financial alternatives.

Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Dubai-based Souqalmal.com, says, “We’re extremely thrilled to be receiving our second and first institutional round of funding. Hummingbird Ventures are of fantastic value to the business, not only from a financial standpoint, but other forms of support such as proper guidance and advice.

“One of the major challenges we face is finding good talent and Hummingbird Ventures is very active and involved with helping us build a solid team. Now that we have successfully raised the funds, we intend to make bold investments into operations and marketing to prove that the business truly is scalable.”

Speaking about the growth potential of Souqalmal.com in the region, Basem Salfiti, Partner at Hummingbird Ventures, said, “This is our first capital investment in a GCC company. We have an enormous amount of faith in the business model, but ultimately, it was our belief in the founder and the team that prompted our confidence of investing.

“We feel the business has a sustainable platform to experience significant growth over the coming years, and we’re very excited about its potential. There are multiple factors that will help drive the business to new heights, including growth of online in the region, significant growth of personal finance, geographic expansion across the GCC and Arab world and the introduction of new products and verticals on the website.”

Since its inception, Souqalmal.com has blossomed from being a UAE-centric price comparison website to serving other markets including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and offering price comparison tools and informative content in both English and Arabic. Placing the customer at the heart of its strategy, the financial comparison website continues to gain popularity among residents and has experienced phenomenal growth in 2013, with the number of page views doubling over the past 12 months.

The financial comparison website, which initially began with comparison tools for credit cards and personal loans, continues to adopt new sections including education, Islamic finance, telecoms, housing and cars. The website’s top priority will be to use the newly acquired capital to constantly improve the product and bring more value to users. It will also include using resources to improve the website; consistently improving users’ experiences and innovating to create new verticals to meet the demands of customers.

Coverage on Arabian Business.