- Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the award-winning International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, has welcomes four new FinTech start-ups in its fourth Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) cohort. These four local and international firms, DAPI (United Arab Emirates), PointCheckout (United Arab Emirates), Jibrel Network (Switzerland) and Ekofolio (Luxemburg), were selected from a pool of 14 applications with market-ready solutions focusing on areas including sustainable finance and the API economy to be tested in Abu Dhabi and wider UAE market.
ADGM also announced that two of its RegLab firms, NOW Money and Pyypl, have successfully graduated from the RegLab programme and deployed new solutions into the marketplace. Both NOW Money and Pyypl are UAE-founded and based start-ups from the early cohort of ADGM RegLab initiative.
Mr Richard Teng, CEO, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM, said: “We warmly welcome the latest batch of FinTech innovators into the RegLab. We are also happy to see home-grown innovators such as NOW Money and Pyypl graduating from RegLab and becoming successful locally and regionally. They offer innovative solutions to real world challenges. ADGM looks forward to supporting their growth and wishes them every success on their journey ahead. The RegLab has been an instrumental platform not just for FinTech start-ups to innovate, but also for us as regulators to adapt, re-invent and update our regulatory requirements. For instance, the insights gained from the RegLab has enabled us to launch new regulatory frameworks in relation digital assets, digital banking and robo-advisory. As a smart digital IFC, ADGM will continue to support innovative and new business models that meets the need of a fast evolving digital landscape and tap opportunities offered by the future economy.”
DAPI (United Arab Emirates): DAPI offers an API-enabled solution that lets FinTech applications connect with their users’ bank accounts, to authorise bank transactions, initiate payments and access real-time banking data. By allowing any FinTech application to connect to different banks with client authorisation through a single API, DAPI aims to power the next-generation of FinTech applications that will enable automated accounting, instant credit score reports, e-KYC and frictionless bank transfers amongst its many use-cases.
PointCheckout (United Arab Emirates): PointCheckout is a payment platform for loyalty points, converting loyalty programs into lifestyle programs through allowing members to earn and redeem their points on everyday purchases. Reward programs get to work with hundreds of merchants in one integration and are in turn able to significantly increase point earnings, redemptions and consequently user engagements. Merchants in turn can boost transactions and footfall by targeting loyalty program members directly through PointCheckout integrations, and members get the flexibility to spend their points on anything they like.
Jibrel Network (Switzerland): Jibrel is a blockchain development company focused on digitizing traditional financial assets. In 2018, alongside Al Hilal Bank, Jibrel settled the first blockchain-powered Islamic Bond (“Smart Sukuk”) in collaboration with ADGM. Jibrel is currently developing an investment platform to enable start-ups and investors to connect in previously unimaginable ways to create capital formation. The platform aims to digitize start-up equity, thereby providing greater liquidity, transparency and reach. Jibrel collaborates across the technology, regulation, and finance spheres to bring real-world equity ‘on-chain’, redefining how companies are built, funded and managed.
Ekofolio (Luxemburg): Ekofolio’s core mission is to enable impact investments in forestry assets. The global forestry investment sector, while niche, accounts for approximately US$100+ billion in institutional investments – including Timber Investment Management Organisations (TIMOs), REITs, securities, and direct holdings in private capital. Ekofolio intends to use tokenization to enable Sharia compliant “Green Sukuk” investments in forestland, to make forest investments tradeable and liquid.
NOW Money: NOW Money developed a digital client on-boarding solution that will fully integrate into their mobile technology to improve the lives of low income migrant workers in the UAE. The solution helps workers access banking and remittance services, providing them with direct access to an account, debit card and remittance directly from NOW Money’s smartphone app and service centre. Ian Dillon, Co-Founder of NOW Money, said: “NOW Money entered the RegLab programme in ADGM’s first cohort. As one of the first independent FinTech start-ups in the GCC and headquartered in the UAE, we were attracted to the RegLab due to the progressive approach adopted by ADGM and the ability to develop innovations in a trusted environment.”
“The FinTech innovations we developed in the RegLab enhanced NOW Money’s progress with regulators and key partners, and we feel has pushed forward the whole agenda of secure and efficient technology-led KYC within the UAE, which stands to benefit customers, banks, exchange houses, other FinTech companies and the country as a whole. We have incorporated innovations developed in the RegLab into our core NOW Money offering, which has made the customer sign-up process the slickest in the UAE whilst fully operating within regulatory frameworks of the Central Bank of the UAE. With current expansion across the GCC region and an exciting product roadmap, NOW Money has an exciting future, and are looking forward to further opportunities to work with ADGM.”
while Pyypl developed a digital payments solution for smartphone users that leverages blockchain, decentralised web and machine learning for new levels of security and compliance, to transact in online purchases without the need for a bank account or credit card. Pyypl is now in the process of transitioning to a full financial licence with ADGM. Phil Reynolds, Co-founder and Director, Pyypl, said: “We’re delighted to have worked alongside the ADGM’s expert and efficient RegLab team to now migrate to a broader mandate as an ADGM fully licensed company, with blockchain technology driving Pyypl’s operating efficiencies that only FinTechs can reach. ADGM is a real pioneer in supporting the FinTech sector in the region.
In Europe, several FinTech companies are now valued above many traditional banks. These major European players, such as N26, Transferwise, and Monzo, are principally in the mobile payments/services space, which is exactly where Pyypl specialises and focuses. The financial needs of the population in the Middle East and Africa are, however, significantly different from those in Europe and the market opportunities far greater. Pyypl’s strength is in its local knowledge, experience and reach including the region’s unique regulatory landscape. Pyypl complements and partners with banks that fit and understand the needs of the local ecosystem. Having successfully closed its previous financing rounds, Pyypl is now in discussions with prominent local and international VC and PE firms for financing the next growth phase of the company.”
A regional first, the ADGM RegLab is a bespoke regulatory framework which provides a controlled environment for FinTech firms to develop and test innovative FinTech solutions. Successful applicants can test their product according to regulatory requirements tailored to contain the specific risks and impact of their particular test. These safeguards will allow FinTech participants to explore and develop innovative solutions in a risk-appropriate and cost-effective environment.
Unlock News Desk, is a group of Blockchain and Crypto enthusiastic young people, working to keep Unlock readers up to date with the industry news. Connect with the team via email: info(@)unlock-bc.com
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