Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), a Middle East-focused venture capital firm that invests in the early and growth stages of innovative companies, to facilitate exchange of information on the latest trends in the finance industry, with a focus on the FinTech field.
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority and Walid Hanna, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MEVP, signed the MoU to enhance cooperation between DIFC and MEVP and to favorably encourage the development of the region’s venture capital technology ecosystem. The MoU will also enable both entities to work together towards launching initiatives and future regulations that ensure an attractive and competitive investment environment for the region’s technology-focused entrepreneurial base. The signing ceremony was in the presence of His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC and Mohamed Alabbar, MEVP’s Chairman of the Board.
The venture capital industry continues to grow in the region, especially with increased investments in small and medium-sized businesses. The laws and regulations at DIFC along with the continued emphasis on FinTech incubators and accelerator programmes at ‘FinTech Hive at DIFC’ continue to support the industry’s growth.
Commenting on future collaboration between the two entities, Arif Amiri, said: “As one of the first Venture Capital Asset Managers licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), MEVP Capital is an important partner for us at DIFC. Increased cooperation between both parties will be key in stimulating growth and investment activity in Dubai’s Venture Capital sector. We are particularly excited that our MoU will also provide a platform for MEVP to explore co-investment and co-management opportunities in relation to DIFC’s USD 100 million FinTech fund.”
Walid Hanna, said: “DIFC plays a central role in supporting the growth of the financial services industry and in driving inward investments that strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem. The significant increase in venture capital funding for start-ups witnessed by the UAE in recent years has further energized young innovators and opened doors for them to convert their ideas to tangible and viable business propositions. With its strong track-record in shaping high-value companies, this MoU with DIFC will further enable it to focus on the fast-growing fin-tech sector, which holds tremendous potential in the MENA region.”
The DIFC’s USD 100 million FinTech fund was announced during the inaugural Global Financial Forum (GFF), organized by DIFC in Q4 2017. The FinTech-focused fund is set to accelerate the development of financial technology by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage and help FinTech firms looking to access the MEASA markets. The fund will leverage the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem consisting of attractive experimental licenses, market-leading pricing, and collaborative spaces.