The programme’s third cohort generated an overwhelming response of more than 425 applications.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Fintech Hive plans to increase the number of cohorts per year, while reducing the duration of its accelerator programmes.
“We will probably spend the next couple of months sharing and exploring ways to have more cohorts within the year,” Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President at DIFC FinTech Hive told Zawya on the sidelines of the Fintech Hive Investor Day event held in Dubai.
Launched in January 2017, DIFC FinTech Hive is the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Its programmes are developed to help FinTech, RegTech, InsurTech and Islamic FinTech startups across the MEASA region.
DIFC Fintech Hive had 3 different cohorts so far. Having more than one cohort per year is expected to provide startups the opportunity to wait less for the next cohort.
Fintech startups have been going through a focused 3-month growth programme and DIFC Fintech Hive will look at shortening the programme to less than 3 months, Mazrouei said.
“We believe the market is ready for programs on a faster pace,” she said.
The Fintech Hive Investor Day saw 31 start-ups, from the third cohort of FinTech Hive’s 2019 accelerator programme, which kicked off in September. The startups explained their expansion plans to potential investors while discussing their other business accomplishments during the programme.
More than 425 applicants were keen on the third cohort compared to 300 in 2018 and 100 in 2017.
The three-month intense programme includes mentorship from strategic partners as well as financial institutions and insurance firms. The selected startups will get the opportunity to engage with executives from their respective fields, besides the chance to test technologies relevant to the sector’s challenges.
The number of applicants is growing because “the industry is realising the opportunity in Fintech, accepting the technology disruption and wanting to be part of it,” Al Mazrouei said, adding, 107 companies are registered with Fintech Hive so far.
“If you look at the number of proof of concepts, we started first program with 12, second with 22 proof of concepts, this year we have more than 30 proof of concepts and the proof of concept is actually an engagement between a bank and a startup,” she added.
In March 2019, the Centre chose Middle East Venture Partners and Wamda Capital to manage $10 million of its dedicated $100 million FinTech fund.