Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, announced today important developments in its Fintech ecosystem that further strengthen its position as MEASA’s number one and one of the world’s top 10 FinTech hubs.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, commented, “Driving the future of finance and promoting financial inclusion in the region are at the top of Dubai’s agenda and our agenda at DIFC. Delivering on this commitment, we are proud of the integrated and dynamic ecosystem we have built, and the various forward-looking initiatives we launched to support it. Looking ahead, we have even bigger ambitions for the future of financial services in the region and are keen to further enhance our infrastructure to encourage the development of more innovative, disruptive businesses from the Centre.”
Home to the region’s most innovative FinTech start-ups
Building on the success of Fintech Hive at DIFC accelerator in 2017, the Centre has recently welcomed five new start-ups and SMEs to its growing FinTech community, including Virtual i, the region’s first InsurTech firm, and Amani and Regulation Technology Solutions, DIFC’s first RegTech firms.
Virtual i specialises in offering technology-enabled risk and claims assessment services to the insurance industry by automating the process of data collection and analysis and the production of assessment reports. During the Dubai World Insurance Congress, which took place in February 2018, Virtual i was awarded ‘The Next Generation in InsurTech’ Award out of five start-ups that pitched their business concepts to an independent panel.
Amani is a new cloud-based, blockchain-enabled, fully-automated platform that eliminates non- compliance while reducing costs. It is a fully automated On-boarding platform built on highly scalable proprietary machine learning technology that includes pattern recognition, image processing algorithms, optical character recognition, biometric recognition and partner data sets which improves the customer experience.
Regulation Technology Solutions, a technology service provider that specialises in automated regulation, with a mission to develop a one-stop shop for regulatory advice and reporting. The company started in 2017 as a co-creation collaboration between University College of London and the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK.
Additionally, DIFC welcomed AtCash, a distributed ledger driven company that focuses on transforming paper cash into digital cash and aims to provide central banks and financial institutions with a superior authentication layer for identity management as well as a purpose built digital settlement currency.
The fifth company joining the DIFC ecosystem is Bizness Analytics Technologies, a company that combines data analytics products with management consultancy to help clients handle, measure and articulate big data and make smarter business decisions.
Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President of FinTech Hive at DIFC, was one of the main speakers at the Innovate Finance Global Summit and Fintech Innovation Lab event, which took place last week as part of London Fintech Week. As part of her speaking engagements, Al Mazrouei highlighted the crucial role that FinTech hubs, such as DIFC, are playing to attract capital, promote national innovation strategies, and implement FinTech-friendly regulations.
Al Mazrouei said: “The FinTech sector in the MEASA region, and the UAE in particular, continues to gain momentum, supported by increasing need for more efficient and accessible financial solutions. At DIFC, we believe we have the right infrastructure and integrated ecosystem that allow us to back this trend, especially by working closely with our financial community, which is the largest in the MEASA region.”
“We are excited about 2018 as we already started working on the new cycle of FinTech Hive at DIFC, bringing both InsurTech and RegTech at the forefront of the programme’s agenda.” She added.
Forging the next generation of financial services in the MEASA region
To support its growing FinTech ecosystem, DIFC has launched a dedicated commercial license, specifically developed for FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech firms, allowing them to operate within the Centre. This cost-effective scheme allows budding start-ups from the FinTech sector to benefit from the Centre’s world-class infrastructure and ecosystem at feasible rates.
DIFC also unveiled its FinTech WorkHub, an interactive and collaborative workspace that provides FinTech firms, Venture Capital funds and other first-time regional start-ups with excellent state-of- the- art facilities and services at feasible fees.
In parallel, DIFC continues to bring world-class courses to its advanced facility, The Academy, with the aim of bringing emerging themes and trends, such as FinTech and Blockchain, closer to the minds of the financial services community. Earlier this year, the Centre partnered with Financial Times | IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance, to hold a course on the impact of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, on how the financial services industry operates.
In May 2018, DIFC is introducing Berkeley Blockchain Academy, which is designed to train business leaders in blockchain technology and its many business applications.
Earlier this month, DIFC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) to explore co-investment and co-management opportunities in relation to the USD 100 million FinTech start-ups fund that the Centre announced in November 2017. The Fund aims to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage.
DIFC is also increasing its commitment to FinTech in 2018 with the launch of two new Fintech Hive programmes, focusing on RegTech and InsurTech. The InsurTech will focus on start-ups that specialise in finding technological solutions for insurance companies, while RegTech will focus on companies specialised in issues pertaining to regulation. More details to be announced later on in 2018 Q2.
Driving the future of finance and promoting financial inclusion in the region are at the top of Dubai’s agenda and our agenda at DIFC. "
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority
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Senior Manager – Communications