Fin Tech Focus

Gateway to Mideast

February 19 - 25 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Gateway to Mideast

Swiss FinTech company Instimatch has launched operations in the Middle East, signing up Kuwait’s Gulf Bank and Qatar’s Ahli and Masraf Al Rayan banks amongst its 80-plus roster of initial clients.

This is the latest in a series of financial innovation start-ups from Switzerland, including digital banking service providers Crealogix, Avaloq and Temenos, who are investing in the region.

Instimatch’s digital platform directly connects deep-pocketed corporate, financial and municipal lenders with global investments.

The company, which is poised to incorporate Islamic finance-compliant solutions and blockchain into its platform, says it intends to further expand in the Middle East and later to Africa and Asia.

In January, blockchain investment firm Crypto Valley Venture Capital’s business incubator CV Labs signed a deal with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre to boost the region’s blockchain ecosystem, supporting other Swiss players such as Lykke, inacta and Tezos.

Fintech investment in MENA makes up only about one per cent of the total global venture capital investment in the sector, according to a research report by the Milken Institute, but the sector has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 30pc and is expected to pull in about $2 billion in VC funding by 2020, with nearly 465 FinTech companies benefiting from the investment.

Last year, Lykke announced a deal with Emaar Properties, one of the largest real estate developers in the Middle East that was behind the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, to shift its loyalty and referral rewards system onto a distributed ledger platform.

Countries like the UAE and Bahrain also act as gateways to the wider Middle East region, and by basing operations in either countries, FinTechs can enter more developing markets

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