The Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) fintech accelerator has received its highest ever number of applications.
DIFC FinTech Hive, an annual programme that encourages and invests in fintechs from across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, received 620 global, regional and local applications to be a part of its fourth cohort.
The 620 applications for the intake exceed the previous record of 425 received in 2019. The applications represent a broad range of concepts, including fintech, insurtech, regtech and Islamic fintech.
Key technologies within the submissions include contactless payments, digital identification, and corporate solutions including treasury management, credit underwriting automation, data management and analytics.
Thirty percent of applications were from United Arab Emirates-based firms, demonstrating a strong pipeline of financial technology talent within the jurisdiction. Forty-six percent came from the Middle East and North Africa region and 24% were received from global firms.
Indian FinTech firms were well represented, accounting for 17% of applications. India has become a leading market for fintech development by value and investment, according to DIFC.
Selected DIFC FinTech Hive participants will benefit from support, business guidance and mentorship from more than 30 ecosystem partners, comprising of data firms, funding partners, technology companies and strategic advisers, business associates and community partners such as Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Wamda, Global Ventures, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, Clifford Chance, Grant Thornton, and PwC.
Commenting on the announcement, Raja Al Mazrouei, executive vice president of DIFC FinTech Hive, said: “The record number of applications for the fourth cohort of DIFC FinTech Hive demonstrates the depth of talent, quality of concepts and the business maturity that is present in the UAE and regionally.”
“Our enabling infrastructure, fit-for-purpose-regulation, subsidised licensing and access to some of the world’s pioneering financial institutions are amongst the reasons why startups look to DIFC for growth.”
The DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator programme includes an intensive, competitive application process. Selected businesses participate in a 14-week curriculum, providing a springboard for seed and pre-seed startups to expand in the MEASA region.
During the programme, successful startups will unlock opportunities to develop, test and modify their innovations in collaboration with executives and financial institutions from DIFC’s ecosystem.
More than 50% of all fintech businesses in the Middle East and North Africa now operate from DIFC. The first half of 2020 saw DIFC FinTech Hive triple in size with the opening of a larger space.