| 10 January, 2017

DIFC aims $1bn investments in 5 years from FinTech hub

In 2015, the FinTech industry saw $16.5 billion in funding, registering a 22 per cent year on year growth

Dubai Financial District. Gate Building housing the DIFC the international finance centre.

Dubai Financial District. Gate Building housing the DIFC the international finance centre.


Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017


The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is looking to grab a piece of the world’s fastest growing industry - FinTech - aiming to attract $1 billion of investments till 2022, a top official said on Tuesday.

“The DIFC is committed to make financial technology our key area of focus... With one of the lowest penetration rates of financial services in the world, and in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa and South Asia) region is in great demand of innovation and technology, hence the future of finance in our region is one that will be moulded with FinTech,” Essa Kazim, governor of Dubai International Financial Centre and the chairman of DIFC authority board of directors told journalists at the launch of “FinTech Hive,” a newly created FinTech hub with Accenture.

In 2015, the FinTech industry saw $16.5 billion in funding, registering a 22 per cent year on year growth.

The DIFC aims to provide a low-cost option to launch fintech companies that can bring in top-notch global technology, which can solve local problems, such as the lack of peer-to-peer or SME financing, or address the issues around low penetration in the asset management business.

The FinTech industry may grow to $150 billion in the next five years, and the DIFC aims to attract a direct or indirect investments of about $1 billion over the next five years, Arif Amiri, the chief executive officer of the DIFC told Gulf News on the sidelines of the launch.

“From our side, we have the DIFC which will act as a stimulus for all the solutions providers and its entities which will be a part of the accelerator. From our side, we would provide them space, ability to interact with financial community well, and that would be the support that we would provide,” Amiri said.


“FinTech companies would look at the needs of the community, they would look at what the issues are and how they will address the needs, and accordingly the insurance companies, wealth management companies will identify the accelerators and work towards providing solutions through the mentorship of the Fintech Hive,” Amiri added.

The DIFC has set out ambitious targets for this venture.

“Over the next five years we will be able to achieve 1,000-1,500 applications and with that we look forward to graduate about 100-150 established solution providers. This will create the critical mass for the fintech hive for the next five years,” Amiri said.

Emirates NBD, and Mashreq will be the first local institutions to join the program, and HSBC and Visa will be the first international financial services provider.

Accelerator not incubator:

“Accelerator is about accelerating growth and development of start up’s business products, which is different from an incubator, which is still at a conceptual stage,” Adrian Seto, director FinTech innovation Asia Pacific at Accenture Consulting said.

“The focus for us is developing an accelerator attracting slightly mature start-ups to come in one that ready products for financial services and to take them to the next level where they can implement the idea, and seek additional venture funding, among others,” Seto said.

And the interest is huge from the qualified start-ups.

“On a monthly basis, we get at least 10-20 Fintech companies, which are interested in the region and they want to know how to get about it, and most of the companies are based out of Europe and the US,” said Pinaki Aich, vice-president of group strategy at the DIFC.

By Siddesh Suresh Mayenkar Senior Reporter

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