Thursday, 3 August 2017

FinTech in Dubai

Standard YouTube Licence

Jane Lambert

On 10 Jan 2017, the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC") launched the FinTech Hive which claims to be the first fintech accelerator in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia ("MEASA") region (see the DIFC press release "Dubai International Financial Centre Launches ‘FinTech Hive at DIFC’, the Region’s First FinTech Accelerator, Supported by Accenture" 10 Jan 2017). An "accelerator" is a development space for innovative young companies. According to the UK's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts" an accelerator has the following characteristics:
  • "Fixed duration programme (usually between three and twelve months) 
  • Typically growth-based (payment via equity rather than fees) 
  • Often provide seed funding 
  • Focus on services over physical space
  • Admission in cohorts 
  • Provision of startup services (e.g. mentorship, entrepreneurial training) 
  • Highly selective"
(see Business Incubators and Accelerators: The National Picture BEIS research paper No 7 by Jonathan Bone and others at page 13).

According to the Hive's website, it offers a 12-week accelerator programme where entrepreneurs have an opportunity to test and develop their innovation in collaboration with senior executives from financial institutions. On that programme they are promised:
  • "Mentoring from the industry’s leading firms and senior financial services executives
  • Insider knowledge and direct feedback from their target user groups
  • Workshops and panel discussions on topics such as procurement, regulation and industry trends,
  • Opportunities to raise their profile amongst potential partners and investors, and
  • A workspace in DIFC for two employees throughout the programme."
In its press release of 30 May 2017, the DIFC reported that the Hive had received over 100 applications from more than 32 countries including the UAE, UK, US, India, Nigeria and Singapore covering big data and analytics, the blockchain, payments, peer to peer and crowdfunding, roboadvisors, and mobility. You can view one of the applications here.

As I said in my introduction to FinTech, it gives rise to at least three sets of legal issues:
  • Privacy and data protecton;
  • Intellectual property; and
  • Regulation.
The DIFC has its own local laws based on the English common law which includes a data protection law which I discussed in DIFC Data Protection Law 1 Aug 2011. As for regulation, Neil Ainger, fintech correspondent at, has reported that the Dubai Financial Services Authority has created a regulatory sandbox ratjer like the Financial Conduct's Authority's in London (see Dubai fintechs invited to play in regulated innovation sandbox 25 May 2017 CNBC) and it has just announced a new regulaory framework for crowdfunding (see Dubai's DFSA launches crowdfunding framework 1 Aug 2017 Finextra).

You can follow the DIFC FinTech Hive on twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Should you require more information about the FinTechn hive or fintech in general feel free to call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

Further Reading

03 Aug 2017
Jane Lambert
03 Aug 2017
Jane Lambert

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