FinTech Hive at DIFC, the region’s first FinTech accelerator launched by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) earlier this year, has received over 100 applications from more than 32 countries for its inaugural programme.
The majority of applications have come from the UAE, UK, US, India, Nigeria and Singapore, and cover a range of concepts including big data and analytics, the blockchain, payments, P2P and crowdfunding, roboadvisors, and mobility.
The accelerator programme, launched in partnership with Accenture, brings together the next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs to address the needs of the region’s financial services industry. An intensive evaluation and shortlisting process will start now. DIFC, Accenture, and partnering financial institutions will assess the applications based on whether the proposed innovation is unique, fills a gap in the market and meets industry needs. The top applicants will be shortlisted and interviewed, from which up to 10 finalists will be selected on 11 July 2017. The programme then formally begins on 21 August 2017. Following 12 weeks of mentorship and co-working sessions with leading local and international financial institutions, successful applicants will get to present their work in the form of a demo day among potential investors.
Raja Al Mazrouei, Acting Executive Vice President of FinTech Hive at DIFC, said: “We are delighted that Fintech Hive at DIFC has attracted applications from startups in the UAE and across the world. With more than $23.2 billion invested in global FinTech deals in 2016, the programme is filling a considerable gap in the market by linking innovative tech thinkers to financial industry leaders in an ecosystem that accommodates the full supply chain. We are encouraged by the high calibre of applications, and we are confident that FinTech Hive at DIFC will accelerate innovation in the region and will put us on par with other FinTech hubs around the world.”
From the financial services industry, the successfully shortlisted applicants will have the opportunity to be mentored by leading executives from Citi, Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, HSBC, Mashreq, RAKBANK, Standard Chartered, and Visa, as well as senior representatives from DIFC Authority and Accenture. Technology mentorship will also be available from Facebook and Envestnet | Yodlee. In addition, the finalists will be able to move around Dubai with ease, with Careem, the region’s leading app-based car booking service, participating as a transportation partner.
Speaking on the importance of partnerships, Sushil Saluja, Senior Managing Director for Financial Services in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America at Accenture said, “Given the significant interest that this programme has garnered, it is evident that innovative thinkers and established industry leaders are eager to create strong ties. Both have recognised that mutual collaboration is the key to unlocking a world of cutting-edge solutions, which may otherwise not have been possible without critical mentorship. With the potential to create game changing technologies for the financial services industry in areas such as big data, blockchain, and wireless payments - this is an exciting space.”
Reinforcing its commitment to the FinTech community, DIFC last week hosted a FinTech R/Evolution event to engage members of the financial and technology industries. Raja Al Mazrouei opened the event with an overview of the Centre’s FinTech initiatives. In his keynote speech, Peter Smith, Managing Director, Head of Policy and Strategy, Dubai Financial Services Authority outlined the advantages of the DFSA’s recently launched Innovation Testing Licence. Following this, a panel discussion with leading industry experts that included Citi, Beehive, and RAKBANK focused on how banks can benefit from collaboration with FinTechs, and how technology is helping financial institutions and governments meet new regulatory obligations, to what it will take for the FinTech ecosystem to collaborate for a more innovative future.