DIFC FinTech Hive invites investors to meet startups in the Metaverse

DIFC FinTech Hive invites investors to meet startups in the Metaverse

DIFC FinTech Hive, the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, have announced that it will host its annual flagship Investor Day event in the metaverse for the first time.

Investor Day serves as the graduation platform for DIFC FinTech Hive’s programmes with an opportunity for the wider investor community to meet start-up finalists.

Taking place on 10 November, the immersive online event will see the avatars of 41 start-up founders from DIFC’s 2022 FinTech Accelerator programme showcase their innovative technologies to virtual incarnations of investors, industry leaders and the programme’s financial and knowledge partners. The senior stakeholders of leading financial partners in the Middle East will have the opportunity to watch start-ups pitch their ideas in the metaverse of FinTech, as well as attend a virtual exhibition to explore ideas and interact with founders firsthand.

The DIFC FinTech Accelerator programme pairs the most innovative start-ups from around the world with the region’s leading financial services companies, such as banks, investment firms and insurance companies. The programme enables them to work collaboratively to develop, test and tailor innovations to unlock new growth opportunities.

This year’s programme attracted leading technology entrepreneurs from a broad range of sectors, including FinTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech from around the world. The cohort, selected through a rigorous and competitive process, addressed key technology innovation themes, including open banking, InsurTech, RegTech, digital assets, ESG, wallets and payments, credit scoring, InvesTech and more, to shape the future of the financial services sector. Partners for this year’s programme include HSBC, Visa, ADIB, Zurich, Emirates Post Group, CBI, ADCB, ADNIC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Al Masraf and Mashreq.

Running alongside the 2022 FinTech Accelerator programme, DIFC FinTech Hive also successfully concluded its 2022 Scale-Up programme. 10 Series A+ FinTech start-ups pitched to a panel of funding partners, including Wamda, Gulf Capital, Dubai Cultivat8, Impact46, Dubai Future District Fund and Shorooq Partners. The start-ups came from Belgium, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Turkey, UK and UAE. Additionally, DIFC FinTech Hive’s AccelerateHER programme continued to boost female talent with 35 women participating in more than 20 technical bootcamp workshops and receiving one-on-one mentoring with industry leaders to advance their ideas to shape the future of financial services.

Mohammad Alblooshi, Sector Head for FinTech at DIFC, said, “DIFC’s accelerator programmes continue to attract the world’s most innovative start-ups in the financial services sector and we enjoy connecting them with meaningful partners and serious investors. Interest continues to grow in our region from global investors, which is why we are tapping into the metaverse to offer them increased access to an exclusive cohort of promising start-ups that have successfully graduated from our Accelerator programme.

“According to DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2022 FinTech Report, global investor interest in the MENA region more than doubled last year with 55 per cent of deals in 2021, including participation from foreign investors, up from 40 per cent in 2020. As we continue to cement our position as a global financial centre and a FinTech and innovation hub, the metaverse will play a major role for DIFC FinTech Hive to lead innovation in the future of financial services.”

According to DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2022 FinTech Report, funding activity for the sector nearly doubled in 2021 and those in MENA raised USD 998mn, a 78 per cent  increase from 2020.

More than 65 ecosystem partners supported DIFC FinTech Hive’s programmes this year, including partners from legal, regulatory, compliance, consulting, tech, marketing and other backgrounds.