Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has today announced that applications for its ‘FinTech Hive at DIFC’ accelerator programme will open on 17 April 2017, following registered interest from over 200 companies since its launch in January. The 12-week programme helps early and growth-stage financial technology (FinTech) companies accelerate product and business development by gaining exposure to top financial institution executives.
Successful applicants will be offered the opportunity to develop, test and modify their innovations in collaboration with senior representatives from DIFC Authority, Accenture, and financial institutions such as Citi, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Visa, Emirates NBD, and Mashreq.
The programme will also provide access to mentorship from leading technology partners such as Facebook and Envestnet | Yodlee. Facebook will run an independent mentorship workshop for startups, providing advice on monetisation, growth and engagement, development and marketing tools, and analytics. Envestnet | Yodlee will provide developers with access to Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to build innovative financial applications and services.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Authority commented: “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. Aligned with the UAE National Innovation Strategy and Dubai Plan 2021, which will position Dubai among the smartest cities in the world, it is also in line with our DIFC 2024 Strategy, by providing a platform to develop solutions that meet the specific needs of and address the challenges faced by the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.”
Omar Boulos, Regional Managing Director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa said, “Emerging technologies are playing a pivotal role in the transformation of financial services. As Dubai evolves towards its smart city vision, and the broader MEASA region looks to accelerate and connect through investment ventures, FinTech becomes critical. FinTech Hive at DIFC opens up opportunities for those who understand the regional challenges well, and offers a chance to those international entrepreneurs who are able to apply lessons from around the world.”
Initial selection will be based on maturity, life stage, market traction and financing profiles. Applicants will need to have a well-defined prototype or service implemented in at least one market and will be looking at growing into the MEASA region. The programme will culminate in up to ten participants presenting their solutions at a Demo Day to an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives.
FinTech is set to grow to US$150 billion globally in the next three to five years, and the UAE is currently only tapping into 1% of this investment, FinTech Hive at DIFC aims to address this deficit for the UAE and the wider region, by identifying the world’s best and brightest technology entrepreneurs and companies through a competitive process.
FinTech Hive at DIFC will build on DIFC’s existing FinTech ecosystem, positioning the Centre alongside London, New York, Singapore and Hong Kong. DIFC has partnered with Accenture, a leading global professional services company that specialises in digital transformation, and that has successfully implemented FinTech innovation hubs globally. Its lab participants have raised a total of US$386 million in venture financing after participating in the programmes.
Information about the programme and application criteria can be found fintechhive.difc.ae. Applications close on 28 May, 2017.