Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai Second Cohort Raises $2.8m and Signs over 40 Proof of Concepts in DIFC

  • More than 50% growth in number of applications from 300 to 450 year-on-year
  • Nearly fourfold increase in Proof of Concepts (PoCs) from nine to more than 40 year-on-year
  • Diverse origin of the 10 start-ups each from 10 different countries in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Middle East
  • Nine out of 10 start-ups choose DIFC as a stable and enabling long-term base to scale-up operations and benefit from easy access to the Middle East and North Africa

Dubai, UAE, 22 April 2020: Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai’s second cohort has completed its accelerator program featuring 10 start-ups from the UAE, Singapore, USA, India, Finland, Egypt, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Kazakhstan, and Lebanon – double the number of countries represented from the first cohort, reflecting its global appeal. The program has proven to be outstanding for partner engagement, generating the highest number of Proof of Concepts (PoCs) ever, increasing from nine PoCs in 2019 to more than 40 this year. 90 per cent of the start-ups are currently scaling their solutions in the UAE from Dubai within various sectors such as digital lending, banking, payments and credit decisioning, thanks to Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), VISA, Mashreq & HSBC.

The Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai accelerator program launched its first cohort in 2018. Over the last three years, FinTech has become a rapidly growing focus, supporting Dubai’s position as the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, African and South Asia region. To reflect the importance of fostering FinTech development in the DIFC, Startupbootcamp, together with its partners facilitate an intensive three-month growth program located in FinTech Hive at DIFC to support the business growth of start-ups and prepare them for operations and future scaling. Start-ups also benefit from mentorship and easy access to comprehensive resources, insights, technology and world-leading expertise.

From a pool of more than 450 international applicants, up more than 50 per cent from the previous year, the 10 successful start-ups in Startupbootcamp FinTech’s second cohort underwent a three-month accelerator program from January to April 2020 in the heart of the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region DIFC. During the program, the startups participated in 150+ hours of mentoring, 120+ meetings and investor connections along with receiving 30+ hours of pitch practice.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, said: “Despite the unprecedented pandemic challenges facing the global community, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to developing fresh and innovative FinTech start-ups in the DIFC through our strategic partnership with Startupbootcamp. The second cohort’s achievements reflect our unrivalled focus on driving the future of finance, providing the ideal growth platform for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and venture capital firms to unlock opportunities to scale up in the region. Through our unique best-in-class infrastructure and extensive expertise available throughout our international community of some of the world’s leading financial institutions and start-up firms, there truly is an unmatched opportunity for ambitious start-ups to gain access to capital and elevate their businesses to the next level.”

Lars Buch, CEO of Startupbootcamp MENA, commented on the opening of the application: “Startupbootcamp has developed the world’s largest network of Fintech accelerators and Dubai is among the most interesting hubs at present. We notice a sharp upturn in quality of regional startups and forecast a new major leap in building startups with sustainable growth from Dubai. Besides this, the evolution and continuous progress of the industry would not be possible without the outstanding support of companies like DIFC, Visa, Mashreq and HSBC, that provide startups with unparalleled levels of insight, technology and expertise.”

Speaking of his experience with Startupbootcamp Dubai Fintech Accelerator, Sujoy, co-founder of Datacltr, said: “From connections to founders, mentors, investors to invaluable advice from the partners, the experience has been full of focus and learning. We formed very strong bonds with other founders who were part of the cohort, I know I have friends around the world who I can reach out to anytime.”

Startupbootcamp adopted a quick response to the current COVID-19 global pandemic by taking their second cohort investor day online. Investors were able to watch the start-ups’ pitches, go through their pitch decks and book virtual meetings with them.

Check out Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai’s virtual Investor Day here:

Waleed, founder of Fawaterak said: “One of the best things I saw in SBC was that the whole team is doing their best to help each and every one of the startups. They act as our partners working hard for our success.”

Nabil, founder of CueTraders said: “The program has been valuable as it helped us shape our value proposition to fit the market and our customers.  Through it, we have developed valuable connections with the investment community and startup ecosystem.”

Carsten Koelbek, Co-Founder of Startupbootcamp, highlights, “To date we have invested in and accelerated more than 200 FinTech and InsurTech startups globally.”

About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and a nominal GDP of USD 7.7 trillion.

With a 15-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of more than 25,000 professionals working across over 2,400 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance. Today, it offers one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.

For further information, please visit our website:, or follow us on Twitter @DIFC.

About Startupbootcamp

Launched in 2014, Startupbootcamp FinTech is the leading global FinTech accelerator focused on innovation for the financial services industry. Based in London, Singapore, New York, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Cairo and Dubai, each program is supported by a network of leading financial players as well as an extensive mentor and alumni network from more than 30 countries across the globe. Startupbootcamp FinTech is part of the global award-winning Startupbootcamp, a network of industry-focused startup accelerators. For more information, visit:

The Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai program is supported locally by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Visa, Mashreq Bank and HSBC.

Twitter: @sbcFinTech


About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

About Mashreq

Established in 1967, Mashreq is the oldest Bank in the UAE with award-winning financial solutions and services. Throughout its 50 years’ history, Mashreq has differentiated itself through innovative financial solutions, making it possible for its customers to achieve their aspirations. Today, Mashreq has a significant presence in 11 countries outside the UAE with 26 overseas branches and offices across Europe, USA, Asia, and Africa. Mashreq launched its new Vision and Mission in 2016, outlining its commitment towards its clients, colleagues and the community. In line with its new Vision to be the region’ s most progressive bank, Mashreq leverages its leadership position in the banking industry to enable innovative possibilities and solutions for its customers across Corporate, Retail, International, Treasury and Islamic Banking. Mashreq is proud to be the first financial institution in the UAE to be awarded the Gallup Great Workplace Award for  five consecutive years from 2014-2018. Mashreq also continues to invest in recruiting, training and developing future generations of UAE National bankers.

About HSBC in the MENAT Region

HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international banking organisation in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT), with a presence in 9 countries across the region.  HSBC has operations in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. In Saudi Arabia, HSBC is a 29.2% shareholder of Saudi British Bank (SABB), and a 49% shareholder of HSBC Saudi Arabia for investment banking in the Kingdom.

This presence, the widest reach of any international bank in the region, comprises some 350 offices and around 10,500 employees. In the year ending 31st December 2018, HSBC in the MENAT region made a reported profit before tax of US$ 1,557m.


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