Raja Al Mazrouei, executive V-P of FinTech Hive at DIFC
Raja Al Mazrouei, executive V-P of FinTech Hive at DIFC

UAE accelerator may back two Indian firms

  • In September, BankBuddy was selected by DIFC FinTech Hive, the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region
  • The third edition of DIFC FinTech Hive, an intensive three-month mentorship programme, kicks off this month

Last year, BankBuddy, a financial technology firm that provides artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to help financial institutions automate, analyse and assist stakeholder interactions, opted for an acceleration programme to help the startup attract global clientele and also receive genuine feedback from not one but several global financial institutions, which could help it expand beyond India.

In September, BankBuddy was selected by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) FinTech Hive, the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. “It was a game changer for us. We had one client in India then. We are seeing hyper growth now and getting a client every month, which is unheard of in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) space," Aditya Bhagat, co-founder of BankBuddy said during an interaction.

BankBuddy leverages a mix of conversational AI (voice and text), predictive analytics and AI-based dynamic customer journey mapping to help banks and financial institutions increase their conversion, cross sell and up sell.

Over the last two years, DIFC FinTech Hive has become a much sought after accelerator. Besides BankBuddy, Chennai-based Theme Chain has been a part of this acceleration. The third edition will kick off this month and is expected to have two Indian fintech startups.

What DIFC FinTech Hive offers is an intensive three-month programme, which includes guidance and mentorship from 21 partners, including financial institutions, insurance firms and strategic partners.

Under the 12-week programme, a startup can test and develop their solutions under their mentorship. The programme concludes with an Investor Day where firms get to present to a large audience of investors, industry leaders, media, and other members of the FinTech Community.

When DIFC FinTech Hive was launched in 2017, it received 110 applications, said executive vice-president Raja AL Mazrouei. In 2018, it received 300 applications and for the latest cohort, it received 425. It has so far accelerated 22 firms, with 16% applications coming from India.

“It’s difficult for startups to go to each institution and find the right decision maker to pitch their idea. At FinTech Hive, we help in business development and access opportunities," said Mazrouei over the phone. “When a company like BankBuddy enters the programme, it means they have been selected by at least two financial institutions, which means that technology is relevant, and that they are offering something not in the market."

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