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20 Innovative tech solution pilots emerge from second FinTech Hive accelerator programme
(27 November 2018)


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 over 350 investors, partners and representatives from government entities. The event was also attended by His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC.

During Investor Day, the start-ups’ focus areas 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

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