Latest edition – H2,2021

Fintech VC, PE, and M&A activity in United Arab Emirates saw significant growth this year. The UAE continues to foster an environment that encourages and celebrates innovation in Fintech. Recent developments are outlined below:

  • In October 2021, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) signed an agreement with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) at Expo Dubai to enhance collaboration under their co-sandbox program for Fintechs.i
  • In September 2021, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) launched a series of events as part of DIFC Blockchain week– including seminars, keynote addresses, and roundtable discussions with leading regional market practitioners.ii
  • In August 2021, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) launched its annual Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival, bringing together global stakeholders, with more than 90 companies participating. The Festival hosted an Innovation Challenge, in which Fintech firms presented on specific problem statements in return for specialist deployment support from key players in the industryiii iv
  • DIFC Fintech Hive signed an MoU with Fintech Tel Aviv in October 2021, testament to strengthening UAE-Israel relations.v Meanwhile Israel-based venture firm, OurCrowd, announced its approval and licensing by ADGM to operate in the UAE, from November 2021, making it the first-ever Israeli venture capital firm to obtain licensed status with ADGM.vi
  • In November 2021, VentureSouq, the UAE-based investment company focused on early stage technology businesses, unveiled a USD 50 million venture fund aimed at the Fintech sector. 
  • Northern Ireland-based Fintech firm, Regtick, announced plans for business expansion in Abu Dhabi in November 2021. The company plans to offer regulatory consulting services in the emirate, in line with the UAE’s strategy of rebranding existing financial services centres.viii
  • The Innovation Hub in DIFC allocated about USD 100 million in October 2021 to helping startups grow through its ‘Fintech Fund Accelerator Program’.ix 
  • The UAE-based Fintech Galaxy raised USD 2 million in a Seed funding round held in October 2021, led by Jordan’s Ahli Fintech. The funding round was also joined by Raz Holding Group, OMQ Investments, Egypt’s EFG EV Fintech and INSEAD Saudi Angel Investors.x
  • Abu Dhabi-based global investment-related tech ecosystem, Hub71, selected its new cohort of startups to join its community in the UAE capital. The cohort gathers startups at various stages of growth that have collectively raised USD 34 million in funding in Q22021 and, further committed to relocating 82 entrepreneurs to Abu Dhabi.xi 
  • Fintech firm Paycraft has set up operations in the UAE in November 2021. The firm is planning to expand its footprint in the GCC region, partnering with various local service providers to help users with small ticket size payments (both online and offline) for bus and metro services, along with retail payments.xii
  • To expand cross-border payments in the MEA region, the Dutch payments infrastructure company, TerraPay, signed an MoU with the UAE-based Network International in August 2021, to promote mobile wallet acceptance and digital currency usage across the UAE.xiii

  

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VC investment soars and M&A makes a big comeback.

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  • global and regional analysis with key investment data and insights
  • top fintech trends for 2022 and beyond
  • interviews with Quantexa and Thought Machine
  • fintech segment insights for a deeper dive into payments, insurtech, regtech, wealthtech, cybersecurity, blockchain and cryptocurrency
  • spotlight articles on emerging markets: LATAM and Africa.

To learn more about the analysis and topics raised in this edition, or to discuss your organization's unique fintech agenda and roadmap, please contact your local KPMG advisors or the contributors in this publication. 

  

Footnotes

i https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4038566/uae-central-bank-agrees-Fintech-push-abu-dhabi-gm-difc

ii https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2021/09/me-the-uaes-evolving-Fintech-landscape-regulatory-changes-and-recent-initiatives-in-the-region

iii https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/insights-and-events/insights/2021/09/me-the-uaes-evolving-Fintech-landscape-regulatory-changes-and-recent-initiatives-in-the-region

iv https://wam.ae/en/details/1395302965916

v https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/did-the-us-uae-israel-trilateral-dialogue-foreshadow-a-new-quad-with-india/

vi https://ibsintelligence.com/ibsi-news/ourcrowd-becomes-first-israeli-venture-capital-firm-to-operate-in-the-uae/

vii https://cryptodeva.com/2021/11/21/uaes-venturesouq-unveils-50m-venture-fund-to-support-menas-Fintech-sector/

viii https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/technology/2021/11/22/northern-irelands-rich-Fintech-ecosystem-attracts-the-uae-spotlight/

ix https://www.khaleejtimes.com/finance/Fintech-investments-growing-across-me-region

x https://www.intelligenttechchannels.com/2021/10/19/Fintech-galaxy-closes-us2-million-seed-funding-for-first-mena-open-finance-platform/#

xi https://theFintechtimes.com/hub71-is-helping-quality-startups-establish-themselves-within-the-uae-market-with-new-programme/#:~:text=Hub71%2C%20Abu%20Dhabi%E2%80%99s%20global%20tech%20ecosystem%2C%20has%20selected,10%20startup%20ecosystems%20worldwide%2C%20according%20to%20Startup%20Genome

xii https://www.thehindu.com/business/paycraft-forays-into-uae-to-step-in-africa-soon/article37547570.ece

xiii https://www.pymnts.com/news/international/2021/terrapay-network-international-promote-digital-payments-the-uae/

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