Dubai is competing with London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong to attract promising technopreneurs to the emirate in its effort to expand its 1% market share in the global US$150 billion fintech segment with its new accelerator program.
Receiving interest from over 200 companies since the inception of its Fintech Hive accelerator in January, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is calling on fintech start-ups, those with a well-defined prototype or service implemented in at least one market and with an aim to expand in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, to apply for its 12-week accelerator program; interested parties have until the 28th May to submit an application.
“Fintech Hive at DIFC will connect innovators in financial services technology with the banks, financial institutions and service providers within our dynamic ecosystem at DIFC,” explained Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority. Some of these financial institutions include Citi, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Visa, Emirates NBD and Mashreq.
Successful applicants will also have access to Accenture as well as senior representatives from DIFC Authority to brainstorm, develop, test and modify their innovation. In addition to that, these start-ups, which will be selected based on maturity, life stage, market traction and financing profiles, will be mentored by Facebook and Envestnet | Yodlee. Facebook will focus on business development — commercialization and monetization, growth and engagement, development and marketing as well as analytics — while Envestnet | Yodlee will provide developers with access to application program interfaces.
At the end of the three-month program, up to 10 candidates will have the opportunity to present their solutions to venture capitalists and financial industry executives. The Fintech Hive at DIFC initiative is part of the UAE’s national drive to elevate Dubai to be among the smartest cities in the world: the emirate has been aggressively pushing its fintech development and introducing new regulations to facilitate the segment, including rules on Islamic fintech firms.
Separately, the Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG) of Bank Negara Malaysia is seeking fintech ideas from the public through its Fintech Hacks initiative. FTEG aims to identify pain points in the delivery and consumption of financial service and solicit ideas using the application of technology to address such gaps. Submissions are open until the 31st May.