FinTech Hive at DIFC, the first-of-its-kind accelerator in the region, concluded its inaugural cycle today with the much-anticipated Investor Day that saw the 11 programme start-ups present their products to a host of investors and industry experts.
FinTech Hive at DIFC, developed in partnership with Accenture, has become a centre of innovation for partners and participants. Over the course of the day, the 11 finalists of FinTech Hive at DIFC, the region’s first accelerator, 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.
Delivering the welcome remarks, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Office of DIFC Authority, said: “Building on our success as one of the world’s top ten financial centres, we began this year with the launch of a first-of-its-kind accelerator to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, as a key part of building a comprehensive FinTech ecosystem. 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.”
Arif Amiri - CEO of DIFC Authority
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. We are proud to say that The Investor Day was a success in every sense of the word. Key industry executives were thrilled by the impressive solutions presented to them by our finalists. Regarded as the premier accelerator in the region, Fintech Hive at DIFC presents an important local platform that gives budding talent the tools needed to grow and succeed. We are confident that it will bring endless opportunities while positioning the UAE as a natural Fintech hub.”
The event featured a keynote address by Maria G. Gotsch, President and CEO, Partnership Fund for New York City, where she spoke about the increasing relevance of technology to the development of the global financial sector. She said: “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. 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.”
Raja Al Mazrouei, Acting EVP, FinTech Hive at DIFC
A series of pitch presentations and fireside conversations followed through the day, concluding with a panel discussion on investment trends in FinTech and technology in the region. Speakers at the panel include Walid Hanna, Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP); Fares Ghandour, Partner, Wamda Capital; Amir Farha, Managing Partner, BECO Capital; and Heather Henyon, Founder, WAIN, Women Angel Investor Network.
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, the blockchain, payments, P2P and crowdfunding, and roboadvisors. Smart Crowd, the winner of the Fintech category for Accenture Innovation Awards that took place at GITEX Technology Week was also given the chance to present at the Fintech Hive Investor Day along with the 11 start-ups.
Maria G. Gotsch, President and CEO of Fund for New York Partnerships
The 12-week curriculum allowed the programme SMEs to meet with executives from the accelerator’s financial institution partners - including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Network International, RAKBANK, Standard Chartered and Visa with the support of the strategic partners Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), International Finance Corporation and UAE Exchange in addition to the support of the partners covering the areas of Data & Technology, Digital, Legal Services, Talent, Brand Story and Lifestyle.
The 12 finalists of the FinTech Hive at DIFC accelerator programme 2017 are:
Bridg (United Arab Emirates)
Bridg is a ground-breaking mobile payments platform that enables smartphones to process a transaction regardless of the financial instrument or the connectivity of the device. Its patent-pending technology takes digital payments offline using Bluetooth, a ubiquitous communications protocol, to securely transmit and receive encrypted information in real-time. This technology gives the financial sector and large corporates access to the physical world with Bridg’s Software as a Service offering.
Delio (United Kingdom)
Delio is a complete solution for private assets, helping financial institutions and their advisors enhance their offering through connecting private deal flow with high net worth and ultra-high net worth capital. Providing flexibility and control, Delio’s configurable technology platforms can connect together multiple institutions so deal flow can be shared both internally and externally, increasing scalability in a structured and compliant manner.
With people spending more time on messaging platforms than all digital channels combined, Labia.ai comes to help businesses capture that opportunity by allowing them to create artificially intelligent chat bots. These bots engage with audiences in one-to-one conversations using natural language to provide an unprecedented experience for marketing, operational and support functions.
Maliyya is a Shariah-compliant P2P financing and investment start-up. Maliyya aims to disrupt the financial and investment services industry by bringing together regional and global financiers and borrowers. Maliyya plans to use big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies to provide investors and borrowers with optimal solutions for investing or mobilising financing.
Middleware (United States)
Middleware Company founded by Alexander Vityaz in 2014 in rocket building capital of Ukraine, Dnipro. Today Middleware Inc. is an American company that consists of 36 people. Key employees have 20+ years of experience in banking. Share CreditCard is a mobile application that allows customers to share access to the money on their cards instead of making a money transfer.
Norbloc focuses on financial regulatory applications built on distributed ledgers. Its KYC platform is probably the first globally legally approved KYC ecosystem allowing sharing of data validating stamps. It thus removes duplication of efforts on both bank and customer sides and allows KYC monetization opportunities.
Sarwa (United Arab Emirates)
Sarwa is the first hybrid automated investment management platform for young professionals in the Middle-East. Sarwa's platform makes investing simple and affordable, by combining proven investment strategies with technology that drives down costs. Build your wealth with a personalized, low-cost, diversified portfolio and reach their investment experts at sarwa.co
Semantify (United States)
Semantify helps business users and data analysts interact with critical business data in ways that are natural to them using semantic and conversational interactions whilst leveraging the full power of sophisticated data analytics.
Starling (United States)
Starling is an applied behavioural sciences start-up helping financial services firms to manage culture- and conduct-related risks and to optimize performance. Starling’s Predictive Behavioural Analytics technology combines machine learning, organizational network analytics, and behavioural science to uncover invisible systemic risk; identify opportunities for proactive risk mitigation; and to unlock avenues for improved sales and team performance dynamics.
Theme Chain (India)
Theme Chain is a Blockchain framework that provides a rapid adoption path to all participants in the supply chain & trade finance value chains including importers, exporters, banks, regulators, shipping agents and insurance companies. Theme Chain gives them instant visibility across the value chain in a trusted, immutable network dramatically reducing time and cost of transaction completion. Theme Chain is a start-up spun off in 2016 by Encore Theme Technologies, a leading provider of Software as a Service (SaaS) for trade finance and supply chain finance to leverage Blockchain technology based on their extensive domain expertise and system implementation experience.
WeInvest is Asia’s first digital wealth management solutions provider. Founded in 2015, WeInvest is headquartered in Singapore. WeInvest helps banks and FIs deliver a full suite digital investing experience to customers: at scale, with positive unit economics through a unique business model. At WeInvest, we believe that investing should be a happy, transparent & rewarding experience for customers. Unlike traditional software providers, we build, operate and manage the platform + operations as a full stack business.
Smart Crowd (United Arab Emirates)
Smart Crowd is a digital platform that allows investor an opportunity to participate in real estate market with low capital requirement through fractional ownership. Smart Crowd envisions leveraging blockchain to revolutionize real estate investing by streamlining the process, enhancing the user experience, creating efficiencies in our cost model and more importantly increasing transparency and security for all stakeholders involved.