Israel, the ‘Startup Nation,’ is a renowned leader when it comes to fintech, which has produced some of the world’s most iconic fintech unicorns and solutions that have impacted much across various aspects of fintech’s ecosystem – from cybersecurity to payments to artificial intelligence to name a few.
A recent report published by The Fintech Times called Fintech: Middle East and Africa 2021 ranks Israel, alongside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the only two countries in 2021 that would be classified as tier-one premier fintech hubs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Part of Israel’s success is the wider ecosystem that has helped support innovative sectors such as fintech.
One of those is The Israeli FinTech Association – FinTech-Aviv, which is one of the world’s largest fintech communities, operating since 2014 and consists of more than 30,000 entrepreneurs, fintech ventures, financial institutions, leading professionals, and investors. They focus on ways to support and facilitate the exporting of financial technologies to different regions in order to bridge the technology gap of financial institutions on different levels.
Watch interview with Richie Santosdiaz and Nir Netzer, Chairman of Fintech-Aviv:
Nir is the Founding Partner of Equitech Group & Chairman of the Israeli FinTech Association – FinTech-Aviv. He is a FinTech Innovation Strategist, FinTech Transformation Adviser, Tech Scouter and a keen leader of the Israeli fintech ecosystem, driving its growth by curating and hosting fintech conferences as well as lecturing in academic courses. Nir is a C.P.A, holds an LL.B and an MBA in finance and financial management.
Taken from the Fintech Times MEA 2021 report, Nir Netzer quoted, “In this unprecedented time of new economic and political order in the Middle East, we’re honoured to extend our relationship and partners network to different regions in the middle east to initiate new collaborations in order to facilitate the export of Israeli technologies to new markets. The FinTech-Aviv community and its 30,000+ Israeli and worldwide members, proudly hold the torch of this exciting initiative and are humbled to be leading Israeli FinTech companies towards the exploration of new horizons with new business partners in the region.”
Fintech Aviv had some notable highlights, recently with the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain initially (later included Sudan and Morocco). Fintech, amongst other highly-skilled sectors such as agritech and wider tech, look to benefit from the new diplomatic relations that are already opening international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities.
Examples of collaborations that have occurred have been agreements of collaborations with key fintech players in the respective countries such as Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)’s Fintech Hive and Bahrain FinTech Bay.
Israel is a leader not just in tech, which is home to the highest number of startups per capita in the world, but also in fintech as highlighted earlier. The Startup Nation is home to over 750 fintech startups. The ecosystem to support startups in the country ranges from +$3 billion for funding for fintech startups, at least two fintech accelerator programmes and even a bitcoin embassy. With respect to fintechs in the country, The Fintech Times research shows it is the highest in the MEA region. It has its strong ecosystem as well, as much compliments its tech ecosystem.