Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) to facilitate the exchange of information on the latest trends in the finance industry, with a focus on financial technology (fintech).
DIFC is an international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, while MEVP is a Middle East-focused venture capital (VC) firm that invests in the early and growth stages of innovative companies.
In a joint statement on March 11, they say the agreement will enhance cooperation between them and “favourably encourage the development of the region’s VC technology ecosystem”. The deal is also expected to “enable both entities to work together towards launching initiatives and future regulations that ensure an attractive and competitive investment environment for the region’s technology-focused entrepreneurial base”.
According to Arif Amiri, chief executive officer (CEO) of DIFC Authority, the deal provides an avenue for the venture-capital firm to explore opportunities related to DIFC’s fintech fund.
“As one of the first venture capital asset managers licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, MEVP Capital is an important partner for us at DIFC. Increased cooperation between both parties will be key in stimulating growth and investment activity in Dubai’s VC sector,” Mr. Amiri says. “We are particularly excited that our MoU will also provide a platform for MEVP to explore co-investment and co-management opportunities in relation to DIFC’s US$100 million fintech fund.”
The fund was announced at DIFC’s inaugural Global Financial Forum last year. It was established to accelerate the development of fintech by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage, and help fintech firms looking to access the MEASA markets.
According to Walid Hanna, founder and CEO of MEVP, DIFC “plays a central role in supporting the growth of the financial services industry and in driving inward investments that strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem”.
“The significant increase in venture capital funding for start-ups witnessed by the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in recent years has further energised young innovators and opened doors for them to convert their ideas to tangible and viable business propositions,” he says. “With its strong track-record in shaping high-value companies, this MoU with DIFC will further enable it to focus on the fast-growing fintech sector, which holds tremendous potential in the MEASA region.”