DIFC Launches ‘Fintech Hive’
In January, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Accenture announced the launch of a fintech accelerator in Dubai. Set to launch in the first quarter of 2017, Fintech Hive at DIFC will bring cutting-edge financial services technology to the Middle East, Africa, and South Asian (MEASA) markets, while providing a platform that brings financial services and technology firms together. Its goal is to increase access to improve customer experience and drive operational efficiencies in the financial services sector. The global fintech sector has attracted more than $50 billion in investment since 2010, but currently the MENA region has only attracted around one percent of that investment. Accenture was chosen to set up and operate the DIFC Accelerator because of its experience and expertise in building and running fintech innovation labs in 2010 in New York and London, and in 2014 in Hong Kong and Dublin. Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised more than US$386 million in venture financing after participating in the program. Fintech Hive at DIFC will start with a 12 week accelerator program bringing together entrepreneurs to compete and address the growing needs of the region’s financial services industry, using innovative technology solutions. It intends to catalyze the growth and efficiency in a variety of areas including trade finance and alternative finance such as P2P payments, and Sharia-based services. Emirates NBD and Mashreq will be the first local financial institutions to join the accelerator program, while HSBC and VISA are the first international financial services providers.