Dubai-based neo-bank CLEARLY will launch later this year. The challenger is headed up by a team that includes former Tandem CTO James Greenwood. It offers banking “at your fingertips” via a mobile model.

CLEARLY will offer account openings “in seconds” and “completely online”. Users will be issued a plastic card. The startup isn’t aiming for a banking licence at this time, but instead will partner with an established FI to use its regulatory capital.

The UAE is ripe for a digital-first bank, according to CEO Mike Cunningham. It ranks as “one of the most technologically developed countries in the world” and has consumers that are “more tech-focused than ever”. Catering to those customers will be the prime goal of CLEARLY.

The team

CLEARLY is backed by European and Middle Eastern investors. CEO Cunningham is formerly of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Barclays, whilst CFO Fara Remtulla is a former director at Deutsche Bank. Both join Greenwood, who takes up the role of CTO.

Customers can already register on its website to receive invitations and closed-door sessions. “When you hear people talking about the next Silicon Valley the focus is often on Europe and South Asia,” says Remtulla.

“[Dubai is] the heart of the Middle East and the gateway to Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Couple this with pioneering leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, there is no doubt that Dubai will be at the forefront on many technological advancements for years to come.”

Blockchain by the Burj

The Dubai government has pushed hard for the city to become a technology hub in the Middle East. In April this year it was announced that a government-backed initiative was looking to implement a citywide payments platform powered by blockchain technology.

The city is also working with IBM on a new blockchain initiative, while the Crown Prince of Dubai has announced a government-lead initiative that plans to have all of the UAE’s documents secured on the blockchain by 2020.

by Alex Hamilton
Alex is Senior Reporter at IBS Intelligence, follow him on Twitter or contact him at: alexanderh@ibsintelligence.com
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