“The cost of doing business for fintech in the DIFC is 10 to 20 per cent of what a regular office will pay to run its operations.” – Mark Chahwan, CEO and co-founder of Sarwa. (File / Photo)

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Starting a financial technology (fintech) business at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is much easier and cost-efficient due to low costs, less red tape and better regulatory framework, according to industry players.

Speaking to the media in Dubai on Sunday, Mark Chahwan, CEO and co-founder of Sarwa, said that costs of business for startups or fintech firms is 50 to 80 per cent less than the other ordinary businesses. Sarwa is one of the first companies that was part of the DIFC’s accelerator programme for fintech. Chahwan revealed that the company is expected to announce another round of fund-raising in the next 2-3 months in order to expand the business.

Arushi Sood Joshi, CEO and founder of AtCash Technology Solutions, said the cost of doing business for fintech in the DIFC is 10 to 20 per cent of what a regular office will pay to run its operations.

Currently, there are more than 45 fintech companies registered at the DIFC.

Joshi pointed out that Dubai can go well beyond the regional fintech hub status as it is on the right track due to the introduction of efficient policies such as incubation of great ideas, big investment in testing labs, creating right enablers and fostering of ideas. He stated that blockchain technology’s potential is enormous, just like the Internet with unlimited opportunities.


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VCs’ role

Chahwan pointed out that venture capital (VC) firms are increasingly becoming attractive towards Fintech of late.

“It took a time for venture capital firms to start investing in Fintech because VCs are used to investing in e-commerce. Now we are getting interest from VCs to invest in fintech,” said Chahwan.

Sinan Geylani, architect and founder of Virtual i, said an entire integrated ecosystem is necessary for the industry to flourish and grow. He emphasised that not just fintech or startups should come to DIFC, but entrepreneurs must also come to financial free zones to take the growth of the industry to the next level.

Written by Waheed Abbas


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