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5 Takeouts From the UAE's FinTech Abu Dhabi

From the launch of a FinTech Innovation Centre, to the world’s largest startup accelerator, Plug and Play, landing in the UAE, here's the 5 big announcements made at the pioneering conference.

The pioneering FinTech Abu Dhabi conference concluded last week, catapulted the regional FinTech scene to the centre of the spotlight and bringing about key initiatives to raise the bar on the industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in the Middle East and around the globe. 

In the past year, the sector has been getting a strong boost, and seems to be on its way to take over e-commerce as the most attractive industry for investments in the whole region, according to Magnitt's latest report. Earlier this year, Dubai-based NOW Money raised 3 million AED, following other industry pioneers, like Bayzat and Compareit4me, who snagged $3 million and $3.5 million respectively. More recently, Jordanian Posrocket raised $650,000 and Souqalmal made waves, having snagged a gargantuan $10 million series B round. 

Curated and organised by international financial centre – Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the FinTech Abu Dhabi was the first-of-its kind event in this region, not only bringing global leaders in the scene to the Middle East, but also showcasing the talent and innovative spirit of Middle Eastern entrepreneurs like Ambareen Musa, founder of Souqalmal. The event featured the international Innovation Challenge, a Demo Day, the FinTech Awards presentation, and a Regulatory Roundtable.

“The first ever FinTech Abu Dhabi was a huge success. This was a world-class Summit featuring a stellar line up of speakers that challenged stakeholders to think ahead of the ecosystem needed to support FinTech innovation. As we move towards a knowledge-based and innovative economy, FinTech will play a vital role in helping to shape the future of this region," said Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM. 

The two-day event, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, was attended by over 600 delegates including senior government officials, representations from UAE-based embassies and international and technopreneurs - and here's the five most interesting takeouts:

1. The launch of the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre by 2018

Set to become a physical hub at the ADGM Square on Abu Dhabi's Al Maryah Island, the centre will feature state-of-the-art facilities to encourage global FinTech communities to come together and tap into each other’s best practices to develop and deploy innovative solutions for the region. The FinTech Innovation Centre will also be home to approved participants of the ADGM Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab), a conducive regulatory environment that allow companies to live-test innovative Fintech products in collaboration with the regulator.

2. ADGM’s global partnership with the world’s largest startup accelerator Plug and Play

The new acceleration programme by Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play - whose success stories include PayPal, Dropbox, and Lending Club - will be housed in the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre. The partnership was sealed on October 23rd, in the presence of H.E Saif Al Mohammed Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, between H.E. Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of ADGM and Mr Saeed Amidi, Chief Executive Officer of Plug and Play. 

3. Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge's Winners

Singapore-based Silent Eight and FRS Labs from India were crowned as the winners of the trademark competition at the summit, and were part of the 11 finalists who showcased their solutions to a panel of international industry experts for the winning title. The two winners will be attending Singapore FinTech Festival in November along with the ADGM Team.

4. Temeno's Sandbox service.

Temenos, the software specialist for banking and finance, announced their intention to collaborate with ADGM to strengthen the FinTech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. Temenos will provide a sandbox service to the start-ups at the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre. This sandbox, a non-production cloud-based version of the Temenos best-selling core banking system, will enable start-ups to integrate their solutions with banking data and functionality as well as to test them for scalability and robustness. 

5. The first regional FinTech bridge between SCA and FSRA

The bridge, established with the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM, is aimed at fostering financial innovation to serve the needs of the capital markets in the UAE.  The new partnership will allow SCA and the FSRA to share and exchange pertinent information on innovation, regulatory approaches to financial innovation, economic and commercial developments that impact each other’s jurisdictions. The Agreement was signed on 22 October by H.E. Dr. Obaid Saif Al Zaabi, Acting Chief Executive Officer of SCA and Mr Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of ADGM FSRA at FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit.

Find out more on FinTech Abu Dhabi's website.  

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