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London & Partners Leads Trade Mission to the UAE

As part of the Mayor’s International Business Programme, the business growth and destination agency London & Partners is sending a cohort of UK fintech talent on a trade mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During the four day visit, beginning 20 February, 11 London-based fintech delegates are due to meet with an array of pioneers who are currently leading the cultivation of MENA’s fintech industry. The visit, which seeks to build lasting connections between fintech entrepreneurs and innovators from both the UK and the UAE, will see delegates meeting with representatives from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), National Bank of FujairahEmirates NDB and Digital Nexa.

A dedicated venture to Abu Dhabi, one of the UAE’s core financial centres, will allow an opportunity for the delegates to build their networks with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), whilst the trip will also facilitate important face-to-face meetings with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Additionally, the delegates are also due to meet with ADQ and its new Neobank. 

Of course, no current trade mission to the UAE would be complete without a visit to the Expo 2020 Dubai, which will include a crucial networking reception held at the UK Pavilion. 

The delegates selected for the mission represent the very best of UK fintech talent, demonstrating the creativity and innovation of London’s fintech ecosystem, and will include:

  • Fahd Rachidy, Founder and CEO at ABAKA.
    Fahd Rachidy

    ABAKA – This AI-powered recommendation engine powers predictive Next Best Actions within the savings industry, allowing providers to offer a more personalised experience to the consumer. This mission will allow ABAKA to explore opportunities within the banking and insurance industries in the UAE.

“We have now been investing for two years to expand in the UAE. It is an amazing opportunity to see financial institutions embracing the AI-revolution and we believe we are well-positioned to help the industry add value to their customers by providing hyper-personalised digital experiences.” comments Fahd Rachidy, Founder and CEO at ABAKA.

  • Adi Ben-Ari, Founder and CEO at Applied Blockchain
    Adi Ben-Ari

    Applied Blockchain – Headquartered in London with additional offices in Porto, Portugal, Applied Blockchain is a pioneer of blockchain solutions, working with the likes of Barclays, Shell and the UN; alongside crypto startups such as Chainlink.

“The UAE is a global centre of excellence for innovation and finance. Establishing a presence is a natural next step for any fintech scaleup,” comments Adi Ben-Ari, Founder and CEO at Applied Blockchain. “We’ll be showcasing the world’s first confidential-computing bank account assessment platform and seeking collaborative partnerships with blockchain and DeFi innovators.”

  • Alan Vey, CEO and co-founder of Aventus Network.
    Alan Vey

    Aventus – The second layer blockchain protocol that lets any organisation build on the Ethereum network without the typical limitations of speed, scalability and price. Aventus makes building on Ethereum accessible for businesses and decentralised platforms through fairer transactions for all, enabling the broadscale adoption of public decentralised blockchain through blockchain interoperability.

“The UAE has one of the fastest-growing blockchain sectors in the world. The rapid pace of innovation in the region coupled with its vision of becoming the world’s blockchain capital offers scale-up companies like Aventus a wealth of opportunities. We hope that this trade mission will open new avenues for collaboration with the many UAE companies that share our vision for a decentralised future!” comments Alan Vey, CEO and co-founder of Aventus Network.

  • Anouar Adham, Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdToLive
    Anouar Adham

    CrowdToLive – The rent-to-own property platform brings investors and homeowners together in debt-free partnerships. Through the platform, buyers can own their home without incurring debt whilst investors can reap the rewards of the housing market without the hassle of tenant management.

“CrowdToLive has been at the forefront of Islamic fintech innovation for over five years in the UK.  After breaking ground in North America in 2021, we are looking to expand in the GCC and the United Arab Emirates fintech is on our radar,” comments Anouar Adham, Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdToLive. “CrowdToLive has been watching closely the rising significance of the Venture Capital space and fintech across the region. We believe that the UAE has achieved a lot in the past couple of years, and VCs have played a vital role in unlocking opportunities for SMEs to explore pioneering, innovative, and promising market opportunities that can generate benefits for the larger economy.”

  • Oliver Woolley, Co-Founder and CEO at Envestors
    Oliver Woolley

    Envestors – The digital investment platform brings together entrepreneurs, investors and advisors across geographies, communities and sectors; creating a single marketplace for early-stage investment in the UK.

“Envestors is delighted to be part of the trade mission to the UAE with the Mayor of London’s International Business Programme and to attend Expo 2020 Dubai. We believe our regulated white-label crowdfunding platform will be of interest to financial institutions in the Middle East,” explains Oliver Woolley, Co-Founder and CEO at Envestors. “We are using the mission to promote UK tech companies to UAE investors.”

  • Dr. Narisa Chauvidul-Aw, CEO and Founder of KōgoPAY Group
    Dr. Narisa Chauvidul-Aw

    KōgoPAY – The domestic and cross-border funds transfer company provides payment and financial services to individual and corporate customers. Whilst it looks to develop its services around crypto wallets, crypto exchange services and blockchain integration, this mission will prove to be very important to KōgoPAY as it seeks to understand the regulations needed to acquire a UAE license for a crypto decentralised exchange.  

My January Dubai Royal Investment Summit visit caused me to revisit KōgoPAY’s roll-out strategy. It’s evident that they are forward-thinking regarding the use of digital technology and digital assets and I could see a significant opportunity there,” comments Dr. Narisa Chauvidul-Aw, CEO and Founder of KōgoPAY Group. “During this London & Partners trade mission trip, we are seeking opportunities to expand our proposition into the UAE/MENA and to understand the regulations, requirements and challenges people face in these regions and to see how KōgoPAY can help.” 

  • James Fell, Chief Operations Officer of mmob
    James Fell

    mmob – Driving open finance to change partnerships for the better, mmob specialises in tech-driven, seamless integrations of third-party services across a variety of platforms to deliver a richer, native user experience.

“With a vibrant investment community, we see UAE as a key target for driving our growth and the gateway for further expansion across the GCC. Like the UK, businesses in the region must now address a young, tech-savvy consumer who is looking to build financial security and is actively seeking fintech solutions that can deliver,” comments James Fell, Chief Operations Officer of mmob. “This timing is perfect and we are excited about the opportunities the trade mission will deliver.” 

  • Matthew Addison, CEO and Founder of Stepladder.
    Matthew Addison

    StepLadder – StepLadder brings a unique approach to personal finance. Built on community and collaboration, StepLadder is solving a generational challenge with savings. Its core product is a Savings Circle based on the Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA) and often called ‘gameya’, ‘committee’, ‘pardons’, or ‘susu’) – made simple, affordable and scalable.  StepLadder’s Circles bring groups of people together on its proprietary digital platform to help its members reach their financial goals faster and better, with support throughout their journey.  

“Initially aimed at UK first time homebuyers, StepLadder is transforming the home-buying process for individuals while proving the case for digitally-native Savings Circles. As part of the London Mayor’s UAE fintech mission, we’re excited to introduce StepLadder’s world-class digital gameya platform to prospective white label partners including regional banks and B2C fintechs,” comments Matthew Addison, CEO and Founder of Stepladder. “2022 is our year for international partnerships.”

  • William Rouse, Commercial Director – UK, MEA & North America of Wealth Dynamix.
    William Rouse

    Wealth Dynamix – The company’s two Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) platforms enable wealth managers to optimise cost-to-income ratio by managing all phases of the end-to-end client lifecycle more efficiently and effectively; from initial acquisition and onboarding through to ongoing relationship management and client service.

“Being a London-based scale-up business that has seen exponential growth across multiple regions over the last ten years, we see the UAE as a key growth area for the company but also a market which is perfectly aligned with our core beliefs,” comments William Rouse, Commercial Director – UK, MEA and North America of Wealth Dynamix. “The same beliefs that still emphasise the importance of relationships for the longer term and partnerships built on trust and collaboration.” 

Delegates also include the video-delivered learning solution built for finance professionals, Finance Unlocked and the AI-backed cloud-based platform specialising in assessing the credit risk of SMEs Wiserfunding; all of whom are excited to connect with potential new partners on the mission.

Henry White, Co-Founder and CEO, from Finance Unlocked
Henry White

Henry White, Co-Founder and CEO of Finance Unlocked says: “We have had great success with customer uptake of our EdTech platforms (Finance Unlocked and Sustainability Unlocked) in the UAE over the last two years. Now the world is getting back to normality, it is a pleasure to finally meet face to face for the first time, expand our relationships and make new ones, all facilitated by this timely trade mission.”

Henry Mayger, Growth Manager, from Wiserfunding
Henry Mayger

Henry Mayger, Growth Manager of Wiserfunding comments: “Banks in the UEA are leading the way in terms of technological innovation, making it the perfect region for Wiserfunding to expand into. As the leading provider of credit risk assessment for SME lenders, the regulation changes coming into effect from 2023 within the UAE provide a great springboard for supporting both local banks and SMEs.”

Recognised as a ‘Best in Class’ international export programme by the UK Scaleup Institute, the Mayor’s International Business Programme seeks to help ambitious scaleups from London’s technology, life sciences, creative and urban sectors expand their businesses internationally. 

Laura Citron, Chief Executive Officer at London & Partners
Laura Citron

“I am delighted that some of London’s fastest-growing fintech companies will be travelling to the UAE to explore new business opportunities with the Mayor’s International Business Programme. The UAE continues to remain a key market for London-based fintech companies considering international expansion,” comments Laura Citron, Chief Executive Officer at London & Partners. “It’s well known for its continuous innovation and now is no different, with many firms actively seeking new solutions and partnerships with companies that can assist them with digital solutions. The UK capital is home to an ever-growing array of fintech companies thanks to its position as a global financial centre its deep technology talent pool, supportive regulation, an early-0adopting customer base and an extensive investor network.”

To date, the Programme has assisted more than 1000 high-growth London companies to win business in international markets. Its cohort members have created more than 4000 jobs, completed deals worth over £193million and raised more than £486million in investment.

Dhaval Gore, Head of Mayor’s International Business Programme at London & Partners
Dhaval Gore

Dhaval Gore, Head of Mayor’s International Business Programme at London & Partners, added: “The companies travelling with us on this trade mission to the UAE represent some of the fastest-growing fintech companies in London. We look forward to helping these innovative scaleups cement opportunities and partnerships in the region. The UAE remains a key market for London fintechs considering international expansion, and working together through the Mayor’s International Business Programme, we can create opportunities for trade and growth for innovators and scaleups across both hubs.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

  • Executive Economic Development Advisor (Emerging Markets) | Contributor

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