The region is a magnet for fintech growth, writes an entrepreneur behind a Dubai start-up.
The UAE is known for tall buildings, large projects on sea, oil economy, trading and real-estate projects. The landscape is transformed with e-commerce start-up SOUQ.com taken-over by Amazon for over $650 million.
The UAE is a very small country with 10 million people and seven emirates, diversity is huge with people from over 160 countries. So ideas flow rapidly.
Given the context of the vision of the UAE and its government's innovative policies are major attractions for start-ups to choose the country as a base. The size of the funds that the UAE market would attract during this year will be close to $1 billion.
The current year may see the figures of 2016 - 120 deals valued at $889 million - being topped as the region has seen $36 million in funding so far from 35 disclosed deals and multiple venture capitalists raising a second fund for the region, according to MAGNiTT, the largest online engagement platform for start-ups in the MENA region.
The year 2017 has already witnessed the largest MENA technology exit in history i.e. SOUQ.com, at around four times the size of the previous record holder.
Exits are key to the growth of the ecosystem. Start-ups should be optimistic that their companies can succeed and proposer with exit options existing in the region. Simultaneously, investors, whether institutional or angel, begin to see returns on their investments.
Currently many start-ups are coming in to the UAE in fintech. The Dubai government arm DIFC launched DIFC HIVE to encourage fintech start-ups, similarly the Abu Dhabi government entity launched ADGB Reg Lab - one of the best regulation labs in the world. Here people/companies can bring their ideas where ADGB Reg Lab will customise regulations as per the innovation, RUN it for two years and decide whether it can go big-bang or do we need to sunset the innovation.
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