DIFC FinTech Hive Showcases over 30 ‘Proof of Concept’ Start-up Successes at Investor Day – an Increase of 50 per cent in 2019
DIFC FinTech Hive, the biggest accelerator programme in the region with 31 FinTech start-ups in the third cohort, supported by 21 financial industry partners, is delivering positive results for aspiring businesses
DIFC FinTech Hive, the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, held its much-anticipated Investor Day on 27 November 2019. The day saw 31 start-ups, from the third cohort of FinTech Hive’s 2019 accelerator programme, showcase this year’s most innovative technologies and their expansion plans in the Middle East in front of investors while discussing their accomplishments over the programme.
Launched in January 2017, DIFC FinTech Hive has grown to become a centre of innovation, leading the MEASA region’s efforts to transform the future of finance. The DIFC-based accelerator programme attracts leading technology entrepreneurs and start-ups through an intensive, competitive process to participate in a 12-week curriculum that helps growth-stage start-ups expand in the MEASA region. Successful firms unlock opportunities to develop, test and modify their innovations in collaboration with top executives and world-leading financial institutions as part of a forward-thinking professional community. The programme also helps start-ups tailor their businesses to meet local demand and enter the MEASA market with fresh ideas while gaining a network of financial industry contacts to help implement their enterprise.
The programme’s third cohort generated an overwhelming response of more than 425 applications, resulting in its largest ever pool of start-ups, that increased 42 per cent to 31 this year, from 22 in 2018. FinTech firms attracted by the DIFC span a variety of geographical markets and technologies, including AECA, an artificial intelligence healthcare enterprise from Singapore; Krowd, a UK-based firm that helps banks improve customer loyalty and spend; in addition to Wally, from the USA, which simplifies budgeting by keeping track of bank accounts and bills for customers.
Covering a broad scope including FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech, start-ups gained knowledge and insights during a one-week Bootcamp that included various workshops covering Legal, Technical and Talent management. Following the Bootcamp phase, the start-ups participated in roadshows between UAE and Saudi Arabia as part of a “Speed Dating” exercise to showcase their technologies to the wider stakeholder group at DIFC FinTech Hive’s financial industry partner institutions.
Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President at DIFC FinTech Hive, said: “The increasing popularity of DIFC FinTech Hive reflects the strong demand from start-ups seeking to expand their businesses from Dubai. By facilitating the helpful exchange of business best practice with world-leading financial institutions, FinTech start-ups can gain the necessary knowledge and expertise to push forward their innovative ventures from the enabling environment of the DIFC.
“We take great pride in our intensive accelerator programme that culminates with Investor Day, giving investors a chance to consider the extensive range of creative and impactful FinTech solutions developed during the third cohort of the accelerator programme. There is no doubt that FinTech Hive’s shared drive with the DIFC to advance finance and technology is proving to be beneficial for FinTech start-ups.”
During the accelerator period, start-ups engaged with top executives through “Speed Dating” roadshows from FinTech Hive’s institution partners including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, Finablr and HSBC. Financial services institutions and partner companies that also participated include National Bank of Fujairah, Noor Bank, Riyad Bank, Standard Chartered, Visa, Arab Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), AXA Gulf, Noor Takaful (Ethical Insurance), Zurich Insurance Company Ltd (DIFC), AIG, Insurance House, Cigna Insurance Middle East S.A.L., MetLife, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and Etisalat.
The DIFC is developing its Venture Capital ecosystem, as well as investing directly into promising FinTech start-ups. In March 2019, the Centre announced the appointment of Middle East Venture Partners and Wamda Capital to manage USD$10 million of its dedicated USD$100 million FinTech fund. The Centre’s thriving FinTech community benefits from the strong relationships the DIFC builds with key international accelerators through ongoing delegations, strategic agreements and mutually beneficial partnerships with key global financial centres.
Dubai continues to be recognised on the global stage as a dynamic business environment where innovation thrives, being ranked as the seventh FinTech Locations of the Future 2019/20 for Economic Potential index by fDi Intelligence – the Financial Times.