By MENA Herald
Dubai - MENA Herald:
FinTech Hive at DIFC, the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, marked today another milestone in its continued support for financial innovation with the completion of the 2018 edition of its accelerator programme, launched in collaboration with Accenture.
The number of start-ups in the programme doubled to 22 from 11 in the 2017 cohort. Along with one additional start-up, selected as the winner of the Accenture Innovation Awards at GITEX Future Stars, they presented cutting-edge solutions to more than 350 investors, partners and representatives from government entities. Their areas of focus ranged from innovative blockchain solutions to artificial intelligence, all within the realm of FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech. In addition, the 2018 cohort has resulted in 20 proof of concepts (POCs), of which four were executed during the course of the programme.
With its expanded remit, FinTech Hive continues to lead the region’s efforts in providing an environment that encourages and empowers innovative concepts in financial services, in line with Dubai Plan 2021 and DIFC’s growth strategy, which will see the Centre triple in size by 2024. DIFC also announced a further AED 10 million commitment towards the expansion of the FinTech Hive workspace, further enhancing the collaborative enabling environment available to start-ups and entrepreneurs within the Centre.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC tripled its commitment to FinTech in 2018, and we have delivered on this promise by broadening our scope, bringing new partners on board and introducing dedicated streams for InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech. We have also secured support from regional and global investors who are looking to capitalise on the next big solution that will transform the financial services sector, with participants in last year’s cohort already having raised over US$ 16 million in capital. The innovative and diverse pool of start-ups taking part in FinTech Hive this year is illustrative of the growth and success we are seeing in the sector as industry leaders realise the potential of this technology.”
“We are glad to see yet another successful Investor Day event this year.” said Sushil Saluja, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its Financial Services practice in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. “The supportive stance of government entities in the region such as DIFC has fueled a thriving fintech ecosystem conducive to fintech development and growth, which led to key industry executives being impressed with the solutions presented by the finalists. We are confident that Fintech Hive at DIFC will bring endless opportunities and facilitate the surging demand for FinTech solutions across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region."
The 12-week programme saw over 80 mentorship pairings established between executives from leading financial organisations and entrepreneurs. The partner financial institutions, who offered their mentorship and guidance to this year’s FinTech Hive accelerator programme, included:
- Strategic partners: Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC)
- Principal Financial institution partners: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Noor Bank, Riyad Bank, Standard Chartered, UAE Exchange, and Visa
- Financial institution partners: Arab Bank, Citi, Mashreq, MasterCard, National Bank of Fujairah
- Insurance partners: ADNIC, AIG, Noor Takaful, Takaful Emarat Insurance PSC and Zurich Insurance
Earlier this month, FinTech Hive announced the expansion of its global partnership network through bridges with FinTech hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Mumbai, Paris, Brussels, Holland and Bahrain, helping start-ups participating in the programme to gain further international exposure. Furthermore, DIFC recently launched an additional programme, in partnership with Startupbootcamp, dedicated to accelerating early-stage start-ups.
According to a report launched at Investor Day, in collaboration with Accenture, the number of FinTech companies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) has grown from 91 in 2010 to 839 last year, presenting a huge opportunity for stakeholders across the economic spectrum, from financial services firms to governments, businesses, customers and citizens. The ‘Invest, Collaborate, Compete: A $20 Billion Opportunity for Middle East and Africa FinTechs’ report states that FinTech is expected to have captured eight percent of financial services revenues in the region by 2022.
However, the report also outlines the challenges faced by the industry, such as a lack of funding, limited market reach, shortage of skills, and inconsistencies in regulation.
Other key findings of the report show that:
- Growth is being driven by technology and innovation, the need to improve access to financial services, and the demand for a better customer experience and personalisation
- At USD 67 million, the UAE has received the most funding since 2010, making it the top investment destination for FinTech in the region
- Of the more than USD 50 billion that has been invested in FinTechs globally since 2010, only one percent went to companies in MEA
The 23 start-ups that were represented at the 2018 FinTech Hive Investor Day were:
Addenda (United Arab Emirates) - End-to-end insurance settlement layer built on the blockchain using Hyperledger Fabric, allowing insurers to automate claims, cut overheads and identify fraud.
Amani Technologies Ltd (United Arab Emirates) - Fully-automated KYC and on-boarding tool that will transform the on-boarding processes, eliminate noncompliance and create a KYC audit and reporting trail, whilst improving customer experience and reducing costs.
Amplified Payment System Ltd (Nigeria) - Connects banks, telecommunication companies and businesses to their customers to drive adoption of digital financial services through messaging.
bankbuddy.ai (India) - Pre-built artificial Intelligence solutions for financial institutions with customer experience management, hyper-personalisation and operations automation.
BetterTradeOff FinTech Solutions Ltd (United Arab Emirates) - Life-planning solution powered by advanced statistical models and artificial intelligence to empower people to make optimum decisions when financing their dreams.
Blinking.id (Serbia) - Blockchain-based digital identity and KYC solution offering GDPR compliance to business.
bondsmart (United Kingdom) - Co-ownership bond platforms, helping financial institutions present fixed income in a simpler manner and their clients to invest bite-size amounts in institutional bonds.
ebooc (United Arab Emirates) - A multi-participant loyalty program operating on blockchain & NFC technology.
Game Change Solutions (United Arab Emirates) - Enterprise solutions for social banking, chat commerce and frontline productivity, enabling "Social banking" and "Social Selling" to allow banks to embed their brand and services such as payments, e-commerce into any social and messaging applications.
Haseed (Saudi Arabia) - Robo-advisor that combines proven wealth management advancements with the crucial infrastructure to enable Islamic investments and address the underserved GCC region.
InsureVite (Singapore) - Artificial Intelligence and blockchain-powered platform that merges multiple touchpoints into a single contact point and combines multiple administrative processes into sets of algorithmic modules embedded into a chatbot.
iWealth (United Arab Emirates) - Education platform integrated with a mobile app, digital wallet, and bank cards, focusing on increasing Finance Intelligence for teens and parents at home by teaching healthy money habits.
Jaib (Jordan) - Card-less and bank-less payment method that incorporates machine learning and consumer lending to provide the most seamless and secure means of transaction between retailers and emerging market customers.
Jibrel (Switzerland) - Smart contract development company on blockchain technology, leveraging the latest innovations in cryptography, distributed ledger and smart contract technology to build the financial networks of the future.
Limitless (United Kingdom) - A mobile application targeting millennials to help them start investing.
Money Mall (United Arab Emirates) - Financial coaching & personalised product recommendations, based on credit score, for everyone to achieve their financial goals and happiness
PaySky (Egypt) - Next-generation, multi-channel payment solutions empowering consumers and businesses to pay and get paid.
Slidr Group (Lebanon) - A dynamic pricing technology that allows online retailers to generate additional sales and margins, while letting their customers buy at lower than retail prices.
Spare (Kuwait) - A micro-savings application that helps improve the spending and saving habits of its users.
Turnkey IS Technologies (United Arab Emirates) - Insurance consultancy providing its clients with innovative “IT as a service” products and solutions.
Verify Payments (Bahrain) - Instant, low-cost bank transfers across the GCC.
Verismart (USA) - Identity blockchain platform using artificial intelligence to automate KYC processes across digital platforms.
Virtual i Technologies LLC (United Arab Emirates) - Enables the insurance industry to move from good faith-based underwriting to data-based dynamic decision making.