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DIFC offers platform for Fintech, others expansion

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Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is offering its platform for the development of Financial Technology (FinTech) companies, especially those in Middle East, Africa and Asia.

To get this done, DIFC, which was established in 2001, has partnered global and regional FinTech-focused entities, such as the Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Accenture, Startupbootcamp, and Innovate Finance.

The firm, which disclosed this in Dubai, UAE, said it targets start-ups looking for crowdfunding or ways to tap into future digital technology to grow their business.

The Middle East, Africa and Turkey Group Vice President of the private International Data Corporation’s (IDC), Jyoti Lalchandani, explained that Accenture offers a 12-week programme at the FinTech Hive housed by DIFC.

According to her, this year alone, it received more than 300 applications from 45 countries out of which three per cent were from Kenya with Nigeria and Egypt accounting for six and four per cent respectively of the applications.

Lalchandani noted that participants in the programme have a unique chance to access crowd funding thanks to 11 partner financial institutions.

Lalchandani revealed that in the inaugural cycle (2017), DIFC witnessed over 100 applications from around the world, with 11partner financial institutions and 11 programme finalists.

The Group VP said six out of 12 startups have set up in DIFC, raising about $10 million.

Those, which received funding include Sarwa, a Robo-advisory startup, secured total funding ofover $1.5 million since its inception.

SmartCrowd, a real estate crowd funding investment platform, completed a seed funding round with $600,000 of investments; Norbloc, a blockchain startup focused on know-your-customer (KYC) solutions, raised $1.6 million in a seed funding round post their 12-week programme at DIFC.

Maliyya, a P2P lending and borrowing platform, raised $1.3 million from UK-based investment ventures.

With over 80 Fintech firms and related entities in the DIFC innovation ecosystem, the FinTech Hive second cycle 2018 witnessed expanded scope to include dedicated workstreams focused on InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech. It recorded over 300 applications from all around the world and 22 partner financial institutions.

In terms of organizational structure, DIFC’s world-class legal and regulatory framework comprises DIFC Authority, which is responsible to oversee the strategic development, operational management and planning of the centre.

There is also the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), a recognised, independent regulator; Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA):a platform for delivering legal services to businesses operating in Dubai and beyond, comprising, among others, DIFC Courts; wills and probate registry; arbitration centre (providing alternative dispute resolution services for local and foreign business in the region.

It also has the DIFC Academy of Law, which provides quality ancillary services to the UAE legal community.

Accenture Digital Group Chief Executive, Mike Sutliff, said that the focus of investments in technology is the third platform or Cloud Technology to support virtual and augmented reality and AI, which are at the core of current tech innovation.

“Companies will increasingly have to exploit intelligent technologies to integrate themselves into people’s lives in order to model their products and services on their customers’ lifestyle choices,” said Sutliff.


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