The Latest in MENA Fintech News
It's been a big week in fintech news in the region. Here is a roundup of the top stories:
UAE Startup Now Money Closes $1.46M Bridge Funding Round
UAE-based fintech startup NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of $1.46M. In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment of $700,000 by Accion Venture Lab and Newid Capital, the funding round also included $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions came from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.
Now Money is the region’s first fintech start-up to use mobile banking technology to provide a range of low-cost financial inclusion options to low-income workers. The startup is an active participant of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market’s (ADGM) Regulatory Sandbox, and has recently been accepted as one of the first two entrants into the Central Bank of Bahrain’s (CBB) Regulatory Sandbox.
Bahrain Welcomes Tramonex and NOW Money into Regulatory Sandbox
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced two entrants into its regulatory sandbox: Tramonex and NOW Money. Tramonex is a London-based forex cash management solution for businesses, whereas NOW Money is a Dubai-based account and remittance service for low-income workers in the GCC.
Launched in June, the Bahrain Regulatory Sandbox provides a virtual space for companies to test their fintech solutions and is open to existing CBB licensees and other local and foreign firms. By offering firms an opportunity for expansion and innovation, the framework is expected to help boost fintech businesses around the globe and consolidate Bahrain’s position as a fintech hub as global fintech investment hits $3.2B in Q1’2017.
166 Global Startup Applications for Fintech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge
Last week, Abu Dhabi Global Market (AGDM), the International Financial Center in Abu Dhabi, announced that it had received 166 applications from over 39 countries for its inaugural Fintech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge. The majority of the applications were from major international fintech markets and emerging centers such as the UK, Singapore, India, USA, Hong Kong, China, Australia, UAE, and Africa.
According to AGDM, all applicants have proposed game-changing innovations that address real-life business issues affecting the financial services industry in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. The solutions cover a range of concepts including Financial and Investment Management, Financial Inclusion, Regtech, Trade Finance, InsurTech, and Private Capital Markets.