Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has launched a $10 million Fintech Fund and has appointed both Wamda Capital and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) to manage it.
The fund aims to accelerate the development of financial technology in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) by investing in startups from incubation all the way through to the growth stage.
“We are looking forward to working closely with our partners at DIFC to develop a vibrant fintech ecosystem serving the needs of our wider region,” said Khaled Talhouni, partner at Wamda Capital. “This partnership to launch a dedicated fintech fund is the first step towards catalysing innovation in this sector.”
Fintech startups are expected to attract $2 billion in investments over the next decade according to a study by Mena Research Partners (MRP). This compares to just $150 million worth of private-funding investments in such startups over the past 10 years, while the number of fintech companies across Mena will rise from 130 to 260, a rise of more than 50 per cent.
The partnership was announced at the Global Financial Forum, where several partnerships were announced to encourage and foster entrepreneurship in the UAE.
“Over the past 15 years, DIFC has grown into what is today a focial point for the global business and investor community, and a testament to this is the amount of capital being raised in the Centre,” said Essa Kazim, the governor at DIFC. “The approximate size of the wealth and asset management industry in DIFC is now $424 billion. To put this in context, that is equivalent to roughly 30 per cent of the combined GDP [gross domestic product] of all GCC countries.”