Two Islamic fintech start-ups have made the cut for the competitive DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator program’s Investor Day, which also showcased 15 other solutions, many of which are suitable for Islamic banks.
The latest cohort, the accelerator’s fourth, included start-ups from Africa, Asia, Europe, the GCC and North America.
From this pool of 17 start-ups, two have Islamic focus: Reem Takaful, a UAE-based insurance start-up enabling Halal, ethical and inclusive risk coverage for farmers who are exposed to crop threats and livelihood losses due to climate change and other external factors; and Nester from the UK, a digital platform offering property financing solutions for buyers of UK property.
Tarabut Gateway was also selected to showcase its solutions. A graduate of the Bahrain Central Bank’s regulatory sandbox and MENA’s first regulated open banking platform connecting a regional network of banks and fintech companies via a universal application programming interface, Tarabut Gateway’s platform has been adopted by a number of Shariah banks including Khaleeji Commercial Bank and Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain.
Regtech and data analytics are strong characteristics of this cohort, which partnered with the likes of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered Bank, Visa and Wall Street Exchange along with FinTech Hive’s secondary partners First Abu Dhabi Bank, Zurich and Etisalat.
Other notable start-ups from the latest cohort include: Singapore’s Cynopsis, a business-to-business regtech start-up focused on know-your-customer/business and anti-money laundering (AML) to automate manual processes and digitize analogue records; the UAE’s Algante which harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage public market portfolios; Ireland-based DX Compliance which addresses AML; FirstHive Tech Corporation from the US, a customer data platform powered by a hybrid machine learning algorithm; Kenya’s OkHi, a digital addressing system for emerging markets; Receet from Palestine which issues contactless digital receipts; Saffe from the UK, an AI-based facial recognition service provider focusing on payments and secure authentications;Trust Stamp from the US which provides digital identity; and Xpanse AI from Ireland which enables organizations to implement as well as scale their advanced analytics initiatives.
“The solutions sourced for this year’s DIFC FinTech Hive Accelerator program have been very unique and mature. The participants have developed technologies which will help shape the future of finance and are worthy of investment,” said Raja Al Mazrouei, the executive vice-president at DIFC FinTech Hive.
The inclusion of Shariah-based fintech start-ups is part of the accelerator’s wider Islamic focus to support Dubai’s Islamic fintech hub ambition.
Last year, four out of the 31 participants of the program’s cohort had an Islamic finance proposition: Saudi Arabia’s Hakbah, a digital cooperative savings platform; Malaysia-based gold savings platform HelloGold; IslamiChain, a blockchain-based start-up in the UAE focusing on Shariah giving; and Islamic capital market-focused blockchain company Wethaq.
Since its launch in 2017, DIFC FinTech Hive has received 1,400 applications, with over 100 start-ups being selected to participate in its 14-week program.