Fintech Hive at DIFC launched inaugural accelerator program

Fintech Hive at DIFC announced today the commencement its inaugural accelerator program.

The program features 11 finalists and brings together technology leaders and entrepreneurs to address the evolving needs of the region’s financial services industry.

“We are excited to kick off the first cycle of the accelerator program and announce our first batch of finalists. These 11 startups demonstrate a delicate balance of remarkable vision, practical application and commercial potential in the fintech space”, said Raja Al Mazrouei, acting executive vice president of FinTech Hive at DIFC.

The accelerator program, launched in partnership with Accenture, is a 12-week curriculum in which a group of selected finalists work closely with financial institutions and other stakeholders to create real solutions that aim to address the evolving needs of the region’s financial services industry.

Several criteria were used to evaluate finalists, including the level of business maturity, the potential to thrive in the FinTech Hive at DIFC ecosystem and degree of fit with the partnering financial institutions.

“We received an overwhelming number of applications for the programme and the quality of proposals was very impressive. I have no doubt the sector is one that will only pick up pace and create more opportunity in the future,” added Al Mazrouei.

Sushil Saluja, Senior Managing Director of Financial Services in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America at Accenture said, “The exceptional quality of the proposals we received holds great promise for the future of fintech in the UAE and the region. As fintech continues to be a gamechanger for the financial services industry, nurturing innovative talent is a fundamental priority.”

The program will run for 12 weeks. In the first phase, each finalist will meet with executives from the accelerator’s financial institution partners to discuss industry challenges and possible solutions to address them.

The second phase will revolve around engagement with partners and mentorship by the financial institutions, as well as other select partners who will cover technology, legal, islamic finance and regulatory themes to name a few.

The third and final phase will be pitch preparation for the Investor Day in mid-November. On this day, each startup will promote its product to a host of investors, bankers, government officials and members of the media.

Participating companies will benefit from the recently introduced Innovation Testing Licence (ITL), which allows qualifying fintech firms to develop and test their concepts from within the Dubai In Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), without being subject to the regulatory requirements that normally apply to regulated firms.

The finalists selected for the inaugural cycle of the FinTech Hive at DIFC accelerator program are:

Bridg (United Arab Emirates), a revolutionary custom built communication technology that allows smartphones to send and receive money while offline.

Delio (United Kingdom), 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.

Labiba (Jordan), to help businesses create artificially intelligent chatbots.

Maliyya (Azerbaijan), a Shariah-compliant P2P financing and investment startup.

Middleware (United States), a company founded in 2014 and allows customers to share access to the money on their cards instead of making a money transfer.

Norbloc (Sweden), a company that focuses on financial regulatory applications built on distributed ledgers.

Sarwa (United Arab Emirates), a hybrid automated investment management platform for young professionals.

Semantify (United States), a company that helps business users and data analysts interact with critical business data.

Starling Trust (United States), an applied behavioural sciences Regtech (regulatory technology) startup helping financial services firms to manage culture- and conduct-related risks.

Theme Chain (India), a subsidiary of Encore Theme Technologies, that provides a smart e-solution for trade finance business encompassing all participants including importers, exporters, banks, regulators, shipping agents and insurance companies.

WeInvest (Singapore), is a digital wealth management solutions provider founded in 2015.

Feature image via DIFC: The finalists.

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