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Developer gives half its profits to charities

Shakeel Adli is not your average property developer – first and foremost, he wants to give away half of his profits.

And if you think that’s a bit weird, imagine this – he believes that he and his colleagues have an obligation to change things, to improve things, to make life better for communities.

Founded in 2019 by top UK lawyers specialising in property and finance, Zunikh offers investment opportunities and delivers diverse real estate projects on an ethical basis that put communities first. And the company model sees 50 per cent of its gross profits ploughed back into charity and the communities in which it operates.

Adli – a former partner in international law firm CMS – developed his insight into Third Sector work when he worked as a volunteer for Mencap, aged 14.  He says: “Some charities aren’t the most attractive from a donor perspective and yet often they have the greatest impact on communities. These are the sort of charities we want to help because they have the most impact on people’s lives.”

Nevertheless, Zunikh, is very much not a charity – it’s a business. “We want strong returns for our investors, we are very business-focussed,” says Adli.

“We want to be successful – I don’t want us to be perceived as doing this for PR reasons. We are doing it because it’s the right thing to do.” Since launch, Zunikh has attracted investors from the Channel Islands, Middle East, and the UK to the value of £5m.


It now has 150 homes in development across 14 residential schemes in locations including London and the Home Counties and is actively seeking to increase its portfolio across the rest of the UK including the major regional cities and surrounding areas of Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow, to name a few.

Zunikh, which has a physical presence in London and Sheffield, plans to add a further 750 units to its books by the end of 2024, with a forecast GDV of £1bn. Its assets span all aspects of the residential, commercial, student, healthcare, industrial and retail sectors.

“Zunikh is founded on commercially-savvy philanthropy. We invest, develop, and empower communities,” says Adli. “We are evangelical about the power of real estate as a force for good.”

“I started building Zunikh in 2019 and knew it was essential to develop a demonstrable track record and ensure that we were trusted by our peers and the residents we’re creating homes for.

“At the end of 2022, with several developments being built out, I left CMS to take Zunikh to the next level. My steadfast ambition is to use the built environment as a vehicle to empower both people and place.”


Holistic approach

Shakeel is joined by former Associate Solicitors at CMS, Lily Martin, and Sean Gough. Lily takes up the role of Chief Operating Officer and Sean is appointed Chief Commercial Officer. Both have been appointed as part of Zunikh’s rapid expansion and recruitment plans.

“We have a truly unique and holistic approach to real estate – operating at the highest level across property and finance and against a backdrop of almost 30 years collective legal experience,” says Lily.

“As a trio, we’re professionally regulated and experts at managing risk. We know that with our expert sector knowledge and ability to flex to changing market conditions we can deliver results that significantly outperform the current market.”

Sean Gough added: “Zunikh is inclusive, ethical and values led. Our projects not only deliver exceptional return on investment but leave a genuine legacy and contribute to a better world. This is not just talk. Later this year we will be launching our Foundation that enables us to distribute 50% of our gross profits to charitable and social projects.

“Our approach is unheard of in the property sector, and we’re totally driven by our values and aim to be a force for good. These are incredibly exciting times for Zunikh and after judiciously building a strong foundation, we’re ready to make some noise and start shouting about our game changing business offer.”

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