Dubai triples fintech investment and launches US$100m fund

Dubai’s plans to rival London as one of the world’s largest fintech centres have been boosted with a commitment to triple the amount to invested into financial technology start ups in 2018 and the launch of a new US$100m fintech-focused fund

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has today announced the launch of a US$100m fintech-focused fund to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage.

The fund was announced during the inaugural Global Financial Forum (GFF), organised by DIFC, which took place earlier today under the theme “Navigating the New Order” and was attended by over 350 influencers from the financial services industry.

In his welcoming address, Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said that the new fund will leverage the DIFC’s fintech ecosystem of experimental licenses, pricing and collaborative spaces.

“There is immense opportunity in this market, and this will be one more step towards shaping the future of finance in the region,” he said.

‘Huge potential’

“There is huge potential in the region we serve and through the DIFC, we look to support the development of emerging markets in MEASA and encourage greater trade flows through the South-South corridor, which stretches from Latin America, through to Africa, India, South East-Asia and China.”

The Forum featured speakers who participated in a sessions, panel discussions covering the three main themes of Globalising Gulf Finance, Emerging Markets, and The Future of Finance.

Sessions featured economists such as Hafez Ghanem, the vice president of the World Bank Middle East and North Africa discussed the increasing attractiveness of Gulf markets amongst international investors as well as the rise of the global Islamic economy and Shariah-based financial technology and Bill Winters, group chief executive of Standard Chartered, who discussed global emerging markets and shared his view on where Standard Chartered is seeing the greatest potential for growth.

FinTech Hive

The FinTech Hive at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has just concluded its inaugural cycle of Investor Day, with 11 programme start-ups presenting their products to investors and industry experts.

The FinTech Hive at DIFC is bidding to become a global hub for innovation by, as reported, inviting the best new fintech and insurtech propositions form across the globe to pitch for grants and free support within its new technology centre.

During the event, pictured left, the 11 finalists of FinTech Hive, which was developed in partnership with Accenture, had the chance to promote the solutions and ideas they worked on during the 12 week programme to representatives from the accelerator’s financial institution partners and the wider investor community.

Arif Amiri, chief executive Office of DIFC Authority, said : “We are delighted to announce that we are tripling our commitment to FinTech in 2018. In addition to Fintech Hive at DIFC, we will be running two new programmes, with a focus on RegTech and InsurTech, reinforcing our role in shaping the future of financial services for the MEASA region.”

Launched in partnership with Accenture in January 2017, FinTech Hive at DIFC brought together 11 start-ups from around the world who have demonstrated a proof of concept in various FinTech fields, such as artificial intelligence, Big Data and analytics, blockchain, payments, P2P and crowdfunding, and roboadvisors.

Sushil Saluja, senior managing director of Financial Services in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America at Accenture, said, “Around the world, we have witnessed the exponential benefits that technology and innovation can bring to businesses and to society in general. The MEASA region is no exception, having shown tremendous potential, thanks to the ingenuity of our local talent.

‘Unprecedented opportunity’

Maria G. Gotsch, president and CEO, Partnership Fund for New York City, spoke about the increasing relevance of technology to the development of the global financial sector.

“World-class accelerator programmes, like the FinTech Innovation Lab and FinTech Hive at DIFC, are narrowing the gap between innovative start-ups and leading financial institutions, and are in turn shifting the way we see and understand finance,” she said. “Opening the lines of communication provides an unprecedented opportunity to FinTech and financial institutions alike. Their work is revolutionising financial services to make it safer, inspired, efficient and accessible.”

International Investment recently ran a poll of its readers, as reported, that found 83% admitting that their businesses are dependent on technology.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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