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Grow London Global Leads Tech Trade Mission to Dubai

London & Partners, the business growth and destination agency, is leading a delegation of fintech, enterprise and sustainability companies to Dubai later this month, to help the firms explore commercial opportunities and prepare for expansion to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A total of 24 innovative tech companies from London are taking to Dubai from 26 to 28 February, seeking new opportunities in the region.

The trip, coordinated in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and Informa plc, the events, digital services, and academic knowledge company, will see representatives of each tech company introduced to a variety of government officials, banks and regulators.

In line with the recently announced D33 Economic Agenda, DET is on a mission to make Dubai one of the top three global cities to invest, live and work in. It leads multiple future proof initiatives and economic programmes. Beyond special projects, it is in charge of a wide range of services, from licensing and classification, to marketing and promotion of the key economic sectors.

As part of the visit, firms will also visit AstroLabs, a business expansion platform for the Gulf region, to support the companies in expanding their services across the likes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Alongside various networking opportunities, the 15 fintech firms involved are also set to take part in a ‘shark tank’ event, in which each company will pitch to a number of investors at Capital Club Dubai, an exclusive businesspersons club fostering business opportunities for its members.

Mohamed Karmaoui, general manager at Capital Club Dubai, commented: “Our vision is to be the voice of business in the region, by bridging gaps for growth and facilitating collaborations between the private sector and government. Capital Club Dubai encompasses the entire startup ecosystem with mentors, investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders.”

Grow London Global

The trade mission is part of London & Partners’ Grow London Global 12-month programme, which supports businesses based in the capital to expand internationally.

Sara French, director of Grow London Global at London & Partners, discussed the opportunity represented by the region: “The UAE is a tremendously exciting region for London-based companies expanding internationally, with the MENA venture capitalist ecosystem now worth $3billion.

“Financial institutions in the Middle East are embracing digital transformation and 82 per cent of banking consumers are willing to use fintech solutions. Simultaneously, the UAE has implemented a variety of green economy and green funding initiatives to accelerate towards net zero emissions.”

To find out more about the aims of various delegates before they set off to Dubai, we met up with a variety of representatives at a pre-mission briefing held at London & Partners’ offices.

Cultivating relationships in Dubai

Digital finance firm Greengage is one of the chosen companies forming part of the delegation led by London & Partners to Dubai later this month.

Sean Kiernan
Sean Kiernan, founder and CEO of Greengage

Greengage founder and CEO, Sean Kiernan, explained to The Fintech Times that the mission offers an ideal opportunity to meet local partners, investors, and new clients in the region.

Kiernan also discussed why Dubai as a region is particularly enticing for the firm: “We’re really keen on the UAE because there’s a bit of a crypto hub there and a lot of our clients are in that space. I’m keen to find someone we can work with to help them access a Web3 strategy.”

Meeting more of the local players in Dubai is also a priority for fellow delegate Lorenzo Curci, the co-founder and CCO of nature-based solution provider Earthly. “I’m really interested to meet the local players and businesses – that’s the number one thing. I know Dubai a little bit already but I’m focused on getting to know more of the local people and businesses and learning more about what their ambitions are,” Curci told The Fintech Times.

Wyndham Plumptre, head of ventures at Future Arc
Wyndham Plumptre, head of ventures at Future Arc

We also caught up with Wyndham Plumptre, head of ventures at hybrid innovation consultancy Future Arc, which advises and builds new digital platforms for corporates, governments and scaling businesses.

“We were part of cohort one, so we’ve seen Grow London Global get better and better, which is great,” Plumptre explained. “The mission for us is to continue to enhance the relationships we’ve already got and grow new ones. In particular, we’ve been quite Abu Dhabi-focused, so this is an opportunity to meet the broader ecosystem in Dubai.

“We’ve found that targeted activities like this have been really impactful for us. It’s really clear how much work and effort goes into coordinating all of this with all of the different parties that need to be involved. So that’s been a very significant help.”

Another delegate, Devina Paul, CFO and deputy CEO at Zumo, a digital-assets-as-a-service platform, also explained the importance of engaging with local leaders and institutions in the region: “At Zumo, we are thrilled to be part of London & Partners’ trade mission in Dubai, a pivotal moment for us to deepen our local relationships and engagement with the UAE’s dynamic digital asset economy.

Devina Paul, CFO and deputy CEO at Zumo
Devina Paul, CFO and deputy CEO at Zumo

“The UAE, with its young, tech-savvy population and among the highest global crypto ownership rates, offers unmatched opportunities for innovation. Its forward-thinking regulations and commitment to a sustainable economy align closely with Zumo’s mission.

“We are here to empower UAE financial institutions to not only capitalise on the booming digital asset opportunity but to do so in a way that aligns with the Emirates’ vision for sustainable economic growth. Our Crypto Carbon Insight package is designed to serve as a roadmap for these institutions, enabling them to leverage sustainability as a value creation lever, align with UAE and global policy objectives, and set a direction for the future of the digital asset sector.

“We look forward to engaging with forward-thinking financial institutions who are contributing to the UAE’s burgeoning digital asset growth and want to lead by example on environmental sustainability.”

Targeting Dubai

Many firms participating in the trade mission view Dubai as offering uniquely attractive opportunities for business growth. Whether it’s because of its strategic geographical location linking to other key markets, the rapid expansion of its financial ecosystem, or the myriad of opportunities it presents, the region emerges as a prime target for London’s fintechs and other startups.

Thomas Mitchell, client director at behavioural finance company Oxford Risk
Thomas Mitchell, client director at Oxford Risk

During the pre-mission briefing, Thomas Mitchell, client director at behavioural finance company Oxford Risk, also explained: “We see the Middle East as a key market for us, partly because the market is doing very well and we recognise that there’s a lack of behavioural finance expertise within that marketplace. We also see it as a springboard into the likes of Asia and potentially Africa.

“What we’re also really interested in is working with major banks and financial institutions, looking at how we can better help the industry by closing the advisor gap – if you can’t afford an advisor, we want to see if we can be in place there to support your financial decision making.”

Farnoush Mirmoeini, founder of KYC Hub, London Dubai
Farnoush Mirmoeini, founder of KYC Hub

For Farnoush Mirmoeini, founder of KYC Hub, the onboarding and screening platform, the region’s approach to innovation is proving very attractive: “We have been impressed with the proactive approach to innovation, as well as the policymakers’ commitment to growth and fostering the right ecosystem for fintech.

“With the UAE becoming a global financial powerhouse, robust mitigation of financial crime should be at the forefront, and we are uniquely positioned to empower the ecosystem members to detect and manage the risk of financial crime in a faster and more efficient way.

“This has attracted us to focus on the UAE in our growth strategy, and having signed a few clients remotely in the past quarter, we are now committing substantial effort to achieve sustained growth in the region.”

Spreading the word

In January, Ctrl Alt became one of the newest firms to join the Grow London Global programme. The trade mission is to become the first that the B2B alternative asset solutions provider is involved in.

Jack Denton, associate at Ctrl Alt, London Dubai
Jack Denton, associate at Ctrl Alt

Speaking to Jack Denton, an associate at Ctrl Alt, we heard about the importance of the trade mission for the firm as it looks to not just expand its operations, but also its reputation: “Our main focus is making a name for ourselves because we are brand new – we only secured funding in November.”

Matt Ong, founder and CEO at Ctrl Alt, also explained the importance of the support and opportunities the Grow London Global programme offers: “As a fast-growing B2B alternative asset solutions startup, having focused support is key to our success, particularly as we explore global opportunities. We’re looking forward to our mission to Dubai and the opportunity to network with key stakeholders in financial services and beyond in the region.”


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