3 FinTech start-ups in the UAE to watch out for in 2021
By Leandra Monteiro
In the UAE, two globally acknowledged financial free zones, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), are behind some of the region’s most distinguished FinTech initiatives including the DIFC FinTech Hive, the US$100 million DIFC FinTech Fund, the ADGM RegLab fintech sandbox and the Plug and Play ADGM accelerator program.
The UAE is home to some of the worlds most unbanked population. Also, regulations across the region are at different stages of development as authorities are in the process of working out the best way to protect people as well as promote digital innovation.
According to Fitch Ratings the UAE economy in 2021 is not expected to return to the pre-pandemic levels. It forecasts growth of 4% in 2021 after a sharp 6.1% contraction this year. Fitch credits the sluggish recovery to relatively tight fiscal policies and a sluggish global economic recovery. However, there a number of FinTech start-ups across the UAE making waves in the industry. Here are a few to watch out for-
Mamo Pay: Founded in 2019 by former Google employees, Mamo Pay is a Dubai-based peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app. The FinTech allows its customers to make payments and transfer funds using the recipients phone number or email address only. This simplifies the traditional process and data that banks usually require, like IBAN numbers.
After raising US$1.5 million in April from Global Founders Capital (GFC) with participation from Global Ventures, VentureSouq, MSA Capital, Dubai Angel Investors (DAI), 500 Startups and some angel investors, Mamo Pay went live in December 2020. It joined Visa’s FinTech Fast Track program in June.
Tabby: Dubai based FinTech start-up, Tabby enables users across the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the flexibility to pay for their online and offline purchases either in a deferred single payment or in multiple instalments.
Founded in 2019, Tabby is a comparatively young buy-now-pay-later FinTech that partners with retailers to offer their online as well as in-store users, the ability to defer paying for their purchases for up to 30 days or to pay in four equal monthly instalments at zero cost to the customer.
The FinTech’s users can avail its services across more than 500 merchants, including brands like IKEA, Toys R Us and Ace Hardware, and regional retail giants such as Al Futtaim Group.
Tabby also raised US$23 million in a Series A funding round from Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala Investment Company and Arbor Ventures in December 2020 after it announced a partnership with Visa and joined the Saudi Arabian Central Bank’s regulatory sandbox for FinTech firms. It secured a US$7 million funding round in June 2020.
Ziina: The UAE-based FinTech, Ziina provides users with an app for easy P2P payments The mobile app possesses banking-grade security and end-to-end encryption to protect their users’ money and data. In addition, the mobile app does not require users to enter details such as banking codes to transfer money.
The digital solution simplifies financial payments between friends and families while reducing the need to carry cash all the time. Currently available to UAE residents on iOS and Android, the app provides an easy way for friends and family to split the cost of a takeout or a grocery bill.
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