The first and largest fintech accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), Dubai’s International Financial Centre (DIFC)’s Fintech Hive has been active despite the ongoing pandemic challenges.
DIFC is now home to more than 240 fintech related firms, representing over 50 per cent of all fintech entities in the Gulf Cooperation Council region (GCC), helping achieve its vision to shape the future of finance. DIFC FinTech Hive is part of the DIFC Innovation Hub, the only environment in the region that brings together all parts of the innovation ecosystem. The DIFC Innovation Hub includes education, mentoring, FinTech incubator and accelerator programmes, access to funding opportunities and is part of the largest, deepest and broadest financial ecosystem in the MEASA region.
DIFC FINTECH HIVE ‘INVESTOR DAY’
DIFC FinTech Hive recently hosted an ‘Investor Day’ this past November, where 17 successful start-ups from the fourth cohort of DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator programme, showcased this year’s most innovative technologies to a virtual audience of investors, industry leaders and the initiative’s financial and knowledge partners.
Since its launch in 2017, DIFC FinTech Hive has nurtured FinTech innovation with a total of 1,400 applications received for its signature programme. More than 100 start-ups have been selected to participate in the accelerator programme.
This year’s programme attracted leading technology entrepreneurs and start-ups in areas of deeper tech. Participants were selected through an intensive, competitive process to participate in a 14-week curriculum that helps growth-stage start-ups expand in the MEASA region. In addition to talent from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the 2020 cohort had start-ups from Africa, Asia, Europe, the GCC and North America.
The virtual investor day had opening remarks from Raja Al Mazrouei, the Executive Vice President at DIFC FInTech Hive, as well as Arif Amiri, the Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority. Participants watched the pitches of the 17 companies and also had a chance to network and visit their booths virtually.
The start-ups cover a broad range of sectors such as fintech, regtech and Islamic fintech. They address key technology innovation themes including Open Banking (APIs), Artificial Intelligence, Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Data Analytics.
Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President at DIFC FinTech Hive, commented, “The solutions sourced for this year’s DIFC FinTech Hive Accelerator programme have been very unique and mature. The participants have developed technologies which will help shape the future of finance and are worthy of investment. This year’s cohort has worked relentlessly with our partners to ensure they are ready to be connected with investors and industry experts at the Investor Day. We would like to congratulate the start-ups on successfully completing the programme and look forward to helping them grow further from DIFC.”
This year’s event partners include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Emirates Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered Bank, Visa, and Wall Street Exchange, along with FinTech Hive’s secondary partners First Abu Dhabi Bank, Zurich and Etisalat.
The 17 innovative start-ups selected to participate at Investor Day 2020 were the following: Algante (UAE), Asante Financial Services Group (Kenya), Cynopsis (Singapore), DX Compliance (Ireland), FirstHive Tech Corporation (USA), Fligoo (USA), FOMO Pay (Singapore), Inpher (USA), Nester (UK), OkHi (Kenya), Receet (Palestine), Reem Takaful (UAE), Saffe (UK), Tarabut Gateway (Bahrain), Trust Stamp (USA), Vouchr (Canada), and Xpanse AI (Ireland).
OTHER RECENT NEWS FROM DIFC FINTECH HIVE
Other recent developments from DIFC Fintech Hive include signing a landmark agreement with Israel’s FinTech-Aviv. The agreement is the first of its kind for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, and strengthens DIFC’s position as MEASA’s number one fintech hub and one of the world’s top 10 fintech hubs. The agreement announced recently will enable DIFC to further support the UAE in facilitating economic growth from the technology and innovation sectors. Both parties will work together on events, knowledge sharing, talent development and facilitating mutual introductions and referrals for firms keen to expand in each respective jurisdictions.
In addition, DIFC has entered into an agreement with Bank Hapoalim, one of Israel’s largest banks and founded in 1921 and publicly-traded and listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Both entities will benefit from a wide range of mutually beneficial opportunities. This follows from the expected general benefits the UAE, Israel and Bahrain will gain not just in international trade and investment but within fintech specifically.
Also, back in September DIFC Fintech Hive announced the 2020 launch of AccelerateHer, a a female-focused career mentorship accelerator programme to empower women in financial services. The programme aims to equip young and aspiring female executives at the start of their careers with the tools and experience to broaden their knowledge and reach in the industry, allowing them to play a more active role in shaping the future of the financial landscape.