DIFC’s FinTech Hive Accelerator Program Selects First 11 Finalists

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced on Monday that its FinTech Hive Accelerator Program has selected the first 11 finalists. The organization stated that the program will feature the 11 finalists and brings together an emerging generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs to address the evolving needs of the region’s financial services industry by providing a platform in which they can collaborate with leading regional and international financial institutions. Raja Al Mazrouei, Acting Executive Vice President of FinTech Hive at DIFC, shared:

“Today marks a pivotal moment for FinTech Hive at DIFC. Not only are we kicking off the first cycle of the accelerator program but we are also excited to announce our first batch of finalists. These 11 start-ups demonstrate a delicate balance of remarkable vision, practical application and commercial potential in the FinTech space.”

The 12-week program will allow the finalists to work closely with financial institutions and other stakeholders to create real solutions that are aimed to address the evolving needs of the region’s financial service industry. Al Mazrouei noted:

“We received an overwhelming number of applications for the program – a testament to the demand for such an initiative – and the quality of proposals was very impressive. I would like to thank all candidates for their efforts and strongly encourage them to continue to work hard towards progressing their FinTech ideas. I have no doubt the sector is one that will only pick up pace and create more opportunity in the future.”

Sushil Saluja, Senior Managing Director of Financial Services in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America at Accenture also revealed:

“The exceptional quality of the proposals we received holds great promise for the future of FinTech in the UAE and the region. As FinTech continues to be a gamechanger for the financial services industry, nurturing innovative talent is a fundamental priority because of the immense benefits it brings to the economy and society. We are proud to play our part, by bringing our expertise in building and running FinTech Innovation Labs around the world, to support DIFC in creating an internationally renowned FinTech ecosystem that can cater to the unique challenges and opportunities of the region.”

DIFC went on to explain that in the first phase, each finalist will meet with executives from the accelerator’s financial institution partners, which includes Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Network International, RAKBANK, Standard Chartered and Visa. They will discuss industry challenges and possible solutions to address them. Participants will also meet with representatives from strategic partners, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and UAE Exchange. During these meetings, the executives will hear more about the technology, provide preliminary feedback and discuss potential mentorship opportunities.

The organization then shared that the second phase will revolve around engagement with partners and mentorship by the financial institutions, as well as other select partners who will cover technology, legal, Islamic Finance and regulatory themes to name a few. The third and final phase will be pitch preparation for the Investor Day in mid-November. On this day, each start-up will promote its product to a host of investors, bankers, government officials and members of the media.

The finalists selected for the inaugural cycle of the FinTech Hive at DIFC accelerator programme are:

  • Bridg (United Arab Emirates): A custom built communication technology that allows smartphones to send and receive money while offline. A patent-pending payment platform that takes digital payments offline. It uses widely available wireless tech such as Bluetooth to securely transmit and receive encrypted information in real-time.
  • Delio (United Kingdom): A complete solution for private assets, helping financial institutions and their advisors enhance their offering through connecting private deal flow with high net worth and ultra-high net worth capital.
  • Labiba (Jordan)
  • With people spending more time on messaging platforms than all digital channels combined, Labia.ai comes to help businesses capture that opportunity by allowing them to create artificially intelligent chat bots. These bots engage with audiences in one-to-one conversations using natural language to provide an unprecedented experience for marketing, operational and support functions.
  • Maliyya (Azerbaijan): A Shariah-compliant P2P financing and investment startup. Maliyya aims to disrupt the financial and investment services industry by bringing together regional and global financiers and borrowers.
  • Middleware (United States): Its Share CreditCard is technology that allows customers to share access to the money on their cards instead of making a money transfer. As a result, friends and family can receive fast access to your card with a limited-use token, allowing them to pay at NFC-enabled POS.
  • Norbloc (Sweden): Focuses on financial regulatory applications built on distributed ledgers. Its KYC platform is probably the first globally legally approved KYC ecosystem allowing sharing of data validating stamps. It thus removes duplication of efforts on both bank and customer sides and allows KYC monetization opportunities.
  • Sarwa (United Arab Emirates): A hybrid automated investment management platform for young professionals in the Middle-East. Sarwa’s platform makes investing simple and affordable, by combining proven investment strategies with technology that drives down costs. Build your wealth with a personalized, low-cost, diversified portfolio and reach their investment experts at sarwa.co
  • Semantify (United States): Helps business users and data analysts interact with critical business data in ways that are natural to them using semantic and conversational interactions whilst leveraging the full power of sophisticated data analytics.
  • Starling Trust (United States): An applied behavioural sciences RegTech startup helping financial services firms to manage culture- and conduct-related risks.  Starling’s Predictive Behavioral Analytics technology combines machine learning, network analytics, and behavioural science to uncover invisible systemic risk; identify opportunities for proactive risk mitigation; and gauge the efficacy of management intervention.
  • Theme Chain (India): A subsidiary of Encore Theme Technologies, a leading provider of Software as a Service (SaaS) for trade finance, housing finance, NBFC’s and co-operatives / credit unions since 2006. Theme Chain is a Blockchain Eco System on SaaS providing a smart innovative e-solution for trade finance business encompassing all participants including importers, exporters, banks, regulators, shipping agents and insurance companies.
  • WeInvest (Singapore): A digital wealth management solutions provider. Founded in 2015, WeInvest is headquartered in Singapore. Our proprietary robo-advisor provides banks, wealth and asset managers, insurance companies and independent financial advisors with a complete end-to-end investment platform which covers tech platform, investment strategies, operations, execution and custody.
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