How Abu Dhabi boosts FinTech industry in the UAE
Earlier in the year the president of Abu...
When it comes to economic development, the capital city of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is paving the way in the region.
Earlier in the year the president of Abu Dhabi established a three year accelerator programme known as Ghadan 21. The programme aims to enhance competition within the region reducing its economic reliance on oil and gas.
Did you know? Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) currently provides 90% of the government's revenue.
As a result of the economic development plan, Abu Dhabi has seen a boost in growth for its Fintech industry, with Dubai International Finance (DIFC) registering over 100 Fintech firms across the MEASA region.
Adding to the region’s economic development, Geneva Fintech Association (GFA) and MENA Fintech Association (MFTA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) - during the Abu Dhabi Fintech Festival (ADFF) - to promote inter-regional growth.
The new partnership between GFA and MFTA aims to build connections between the two regions to grow their respective cutting-edge Fintech industries. The two associations share the same goals of wanting to promote the development of new technology within the Fintech industry as well as supporting and developing education and providing an accessible platform for as many people as possible.
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Both GFA and MFTA commented on the signing of the MoU:
“The GFA and the city of Geneva have been exceptionally proactive when it comes to working to develop, educate and build relationships with key local and global Fintech players. Combining forces with MENA Fintech will allow for a growing global conversation, with the ultimate aim of staying ahead of the curve in this new and exciting era for the world of Finance,” said Sébastien Flak, President of the GFA and Director of Fintech Solutions at Geneva Management Group (GMG).
“The UAE’s development over the last decades has been nothing short of phenomenal. MENA Fintech is a natural extension of the development plan for the region and partnering with the GFA, with roots in finance going back hundreds of years, is indeed an exciting development. With our finalized plans with GFA with core focus on enablement and creating what we call a Fintech Trade Bridge we look forward to what we expect to be a fruitful and game changing partnership by setting new precedents,” said Nameer Khan, Chairman of the MFTA.
For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech magazine.
Stripe backs Step - the digital bank for teens
The Series C round raised US$100m in capital from a number of backers, including Coatue, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, actor Jared Leto, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, for the enterprise.
Step provides a free FDIC-insured bank account and Visa card to teenagers. The accounts are backed by Evolve Bank and there is no subscription charge for its usage. Users don’t pay for their accounts and there are also no overdraft fees.
The mobile banking app enables parents to set controls and limits on spending and encourage responsible finances. According to data released by the company, 88% of the platform’s users say this is their first bank account.
To date, Step has seen great success in the marketplace. The company has raised more than $175m from investors and now has 1.5m users.
Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, previously led Step’s $22.5m Series A round in 2019.
Step's Series B funding round also brought in $50m, and has a distinctly celeb-tinged reputation with investors including Justin Timberlake and the pop duo The Chainsmokers.
Users get access to a free, FDIC-backed bank account, a spending card and P2P payments platform to send and receive money instantly.
CJ MacDonald, chief executive of Step, said the company is aiming to improve the financial futures of the next generation. “Step is the only banking platform that enables teens to start building a positive credit history before they turn 18 and does not charge fees of any kind.
He has previously spoken about the importance of financial literacy for young people. “Money is just one of those things where I think the more educated and equipped you are early, the better decisions you can make down the road,” he told . “And you can also prevent yourself from making costly mistakes. I mean, the average American doesn't have $400 in emergency savings and pays $350 a year in banking fees. If we can help this next generation just ultimately be smarter and more educated as it pertains to money, I think we'll all be better off.”
Kyle Doherty, managing director at General Catalyst and Step board member, explained, “Gen Z is flocking to modern financial solutions that can be easily embedded within their digital lives and Step has a unique model for how to do this right.”
The news follows on from Stripe’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire TaxJar. The fintech, which builds software for online businesses that automates the reporting and filing of sales taxes, will most likely be integrated with Stripe’s billing services.
Currently, No terms have been disclosed but the Boston start-up had raised more than $60m from investors including Insight Partners.
Stripe chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara said of the move, “With TaxJar, we will help millions of internet businesses running on Stripe with their sales tax and make it easier for them to sell internationally.”