Startupbootcamp Continues to Support the Middle East and Africa Tech Ecosystem By Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times
Fintech Middle East & Africa

Startupbootcamp Continues to Support the Middle East and Africa Tech Ecosystem

Founded in 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Startupbootcamp supports early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry. They do this via their industry-focused programmes.

Startupbootcamp is part of Rainmaking, one of the world’s leading corporate innovation and venture development firms with 12 offices globally, including major tech hubs such as London, Copenhagen, Dubai, Singapore and New York.

In terms of the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Startupbootcamp has a strong presence. It was recently announced that Dubai, specifically Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), would be the regional headquarters for Startupbootcamp. According to a recent press release, the establishment of the new regional offices for Startupbootcamp further cements the long-standing partnership between the accelerator launched by Rainmaking in the Middle East and the DIFC. Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai was launched in 2018 in partnership with DIFC, VISA, Mashreq and HSBC and to date has successfully graduated 20 FinTech start-ups in the fields of payments, lending and Islamic digital banking.

Dubai International Financial Centre is the new regional hub for Startupbootcamp
Dubai International Financial Centre, or commonly known as DIFC, is the new regional headquarters for Startupbootcamp IMAGE SOURCE PROVIDED

Commenting on the announcement of Dubai being selected, the CEO of DIFC Authority Arif Amiri said, “Our strategic partnership with Startupbootcamp strengthens our commitment to shaping the future of finance and supporting Dubai’s position as the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region through developing successful and innovative FinTech start-ups in the DIFC.”

Further commenting was Lars Buch, the CEO Rainmaking MENA & Russia, who said, “We decided to move Rainmaking MENA’s headquarter in DIFC to give new impulse to our common commitment to drive innovation in the UAE and support the growth of promising tech companies from different industries.” Clearly it is not only a huge win for Dubai, amongst its other accolades and confirming its global hub status, but also for the tech community as a whole in the region.

Besides the recent HQ announcement, Startupbootcamp Dubai is accepting applicants for its current programme, which is in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Visa, and Mashreq Bank. The programme in Dubai will accelerate a total of 40 startups across 4 cohorts to support Dubai in its bid to become a world leader in financial services innovation and technology. The program is open to startups from the MENA region as well as from around the world. The following are the Fast Track application deadlines for the Fast Tracks to pitch live, according to its website: Lebanon (August 5), Jordan (August 12), and the UAE (August 19). To note, Dubai has another programme called Startupbootcamp Smart City Dubai where it supports innovative companies in the IoT & Connectivity, Urban Automation & Mobility, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Open City Data, Sustainable Cities & Living, Smart Government, and Smart Retail industry.

BEYOND DUBAI – THE REST OF MEA

Amongst the MEA presence of Startupbootcamp, here are some other interesting news and developments in the region. First, Startupbootcamp FinTech Cairo is, according to its website, open applications to its programme on September 1st. A ‘first of its kind’ fintech programme that will be six-months long, the Cairo programme will support up to ten innovative early-stage FinTech startups in Egypt, with a targeted focus of financial inclusion. The accelerator brings a unique focus in Egypt and helps develop the ecosystem and drives the next generation of technology startups to success.

Another one in Africa is Startupbootcamp AfriTech, a leading accelerator focused on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets and asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, retailtech, insurtech, alternative financing, identity management, digital connectivity, data and behavioural analytics and enabling technologies. Ten companies from across the world get three-months of support. The accelerator is anchored by leading corporate sponsors Old Mutual, RCS, BNP Paribas, Nedbank and PwC that will support and grow the program and selected startups. Global sponsor being Amazon Web Services.

Finally, there is Qatar SportsTech, which focuses on the sportstech industry. According to its website, Qatar SportsTech is initiated by Qatar Development Bank, powered by Startupbootcamp and supported by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar Financial Centre, Aspire Zone Foundation, beIN Media Group and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

From its humble beginnings in Copenhagen to being a leading and important part in the fintech and wider ecosystem for many startups and innovations, Startupbootcamp clearly has been active not just in Dubai but in the wider Middle East and Africa region

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