FinovateMiddleEast Day One: Voices from MENA

FinovateMiddle East is right around the corner. And in addition to our signature, 7-minute live demonstrations of the latest in fintech innovation, we will be hosting a wide variety of keynotes, addresses, panel discussions, and fireside chats, as well. Finovate now gives attendees more context and insight into the relationship between financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and investors that makes fintech innovation possible.

Here’s a quick introduction to the women and men who will be speaking on Day One of FinovateMiddle East. We’ll share our lineup of Day Two speakers in separate post. For more information about what’s happening on the first day of our conference, including our demos for the day, accelerator showcase, and lunchtime roundtables, check out our Day One agenda.

Keynotes & Addresses

Mirna Sleiman, Co-founder, Fintech Galaxy

Sleiman is a senior executive with 15+ years of experience in government relations, business strategy, digital communications and journalism, mostly within the MENA region.  Sleiman will provide Chairperson’s remarks.

Jim Marous, Author and Publisher, The Financial Brand and the Digital Banking Report

Named as one of the most influential people in banking and a top 5 fintech influencer to follow, Marous is an internationally recognized financial industry strategist. Marous will speak on the topic “What can digital bankers learn from top innovators?”

Promoth Manghat, CEO, UAE Exchange

As CEO of UAE Exchange Group – a leading global provider of diversified financial services spanning money transfer, foreign exchange, and payment solutions – Manghat is responsible for strategy execution and management of operations across group entities. Manghat will discuss “Embracing fintech innovation – past, present, and future.”

Omeed Mehrinfar, Regional Director, EMEA Plug and Play

Head of Plug and Play’s fintech activities in Europe and general operations in the Middle East, Mehrinfar started his career being a founding member of one of Plug and Play’s largest divisions (fintech) in California. Mehrinfar’s address is titled “What do we mean by innovation?”

Sameer Singh Jaini, Fintech Asia top 100 influencer, CEO, Digital Fifth

Recognized as Fintech Asia Top 100, Jaini is a digital enthusiast with two decades of rich digital experience across Asia, Europe, and Americas. He has been part of core teams responsible for setting Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bharatiya Mahila Bank. His presentation will discuss the fintech strategies of Indian banks.

Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President, Fintech Hive, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) 

As Executive Vice President of Fintech Hive at DIFC, Ms. Al Mazrouei oversees the region’s first fintech accelerator, which brings together financial institutions, government entities, technology partners and entrepreneurs to develop technologies that benefit the financial industry. She will provide an introduction from the Fintech Hive at DIFC.

Discussions, Panels, and Roundtables

Ruth Wandhofer, Regulatory and Fintech expert, Citi

Wandhofer is one of the foremost authorities on banking regulatory matters. Her key responsibilities include driving regulatory and industry dialogue and developing product and market strategy in line with the evolving regulatory and innovation landscape.

Wandhofer will participate in Panel Discussion: Starter for one minute – What does a fintech want? What does a bank want? What does the investor think? and Chatham House Rule Panel Discussion on fintech regulation: What is happening? What needs to happen? Can we create best practices together?

Hans Christensen, Director, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority

Christensen serves as the Director of DTEC which he was instrumental in building up from scratch to be the largest and most profitable tech co-working centre in MENA hosting 800+ start-ups from 70 nationalities and known for hosting Intelak (Emirates Airlines incubator), the Intel ignition lab and the Dubai Smart City Accelerator powered by Startupbootcamp.

Christensen will participate in Panel Discussion: Starter for one minute – What does a fintech want? What does a bank want? What does the investor think? and Panel Discussion: What’s happening now and what’s next for AI?

Mike Cunningham, CEO, Clearly

Cunningham is a thought leader and digital practitioner of innovation within financial services with an unmatched global network with the world’s leading fintechs, accelerators and the established corporates. Before joining CLEARLY, he was Executive Vice President at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank where he led Group Strategy and Innovation.

Cunningham will participate in the Bank CEO Panel Discussion: Driving innovation forward and the fintech global vision.

Chris Taylor, CEO, Abu Dhabi Finance

Joining Abu Dhabi Finance in 2009 and responsible for overall strategy execution, leadership and management, Taylor Chris is an experienced Chartered Accountant with over two decades of local and international financial services experience. Chris was recognized as the ICAEW Middle East Chartered Accountant of the year in 2012 and under his leadership Abu Dhabi Finance has received multiple mortgages and finance company awards.

Taylor will participate in the Bank CEO Panel Discussion: Driving innovation forward and the fintech global vision.

Serdar Guner, Director, Supervision, DFSA

Guner joined the DFSA as senior manager in the supervision division in September 2010. He became a director in 2013 after serving as an associate director in 2012. Following responsibilities and directorship roles spanning prudential risk, market conduct and pooled supervision, he now leads a team responsible for the supervision of financial technology firms and cyber risk, with the overarching responsibility of governance and operational risk in the centre.

Guner will participate in the Chatham House rule panel discussion on fintech regulation: What is happening? What needs to happen? Can we create best practice together?

Wai-Lum Kwok, Executive Director, Capital Markets Financial Services Regulatory Authority, ADGM

Kwok joined the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in June 2015. He heads up the Capital Markets division responsible for admission and supervision of financial market infrastructures and capital market intermediaries. The division also regulates the offering of securities, collective investments schemes. 

Kwok will participate in the Chatham House rule panel discussion on fintech regulation: What is happening? What needs to happen? Can we create best practice together?

Pooja Singh, International Relations Specialist, Securities and Commodities Authority, UAE

Singh is a financial analysis and regulatory compliance professional with over 10 years of progressive experience. She currently works with Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), UAE and is a member of their fintech team. She is working on various projects to implement international best practices in the UAE capital market and help shape SCA’s views on fintech.

Singh will participate in the Chatham House rule panel discussion on fintech regulation: What is happening? What needs to happen? Can we create best practice together?

Moussa Beidas, CEO & Co-founder, Bridg Payment Solutions

Beidas is a digital user experience designer and creative strategist who has built customer experiences for DeNA (Tokyo), Tata DOCOMO (India), Skype, Mathaf Museum of Modern Art (Qatar), Microsoft (USA), Hero MotoCorp, i2, ALDAR (UAE). He has designed customer experiences spanning the world’s largest markets including India and the Middle East impacting over 600 million end users.

Beidas will participate in Panel Discussion – How far can we go with big wallets? and the Day One Revisit: What did the bank gain? What did the fintech gain? What do investors think?

Narayanan Ganapathy, CEO, Angivest Ventures

CEO of an early stage investment firm based in Bahrain providing pre-seed and seed stage capital to technology startups globally, Ganapathy brings in a wealth of investment management experience, having worked both regionally and internationally in senior management positions with prominent institutions such as Deutsche Bank and GFH Financial Group.

Ganapathy will participate in Panel Discussion – How far can we go with big wallets?

Danny Abla, Director, Fintech, Arab Financial Services

A serial entrepreneur with 15 years in tech and 2 start-ups under his his belt, Abla founded PinPay in 2008 back when mobile payments was still in its infancy and sold it to a leading bank in 2013. He went on to found another start-up in New York, Shoop, which he sold in 2015. Since then, he got very involved in the MENA start-up ecosystem and has been helping start-ups design their products and grow their customer base.

Abla will participate in Panel Discussion – How far can we go with big wallets?

Vikas Bansal, Community Partner, FinTech Connector

Bansal has successfully managed multiple consulting/outsourcing relationships as a client partner for various banks and financial services institutions to deliver transformation projects and achieve key business objectives. As a strategic adviser to clients, he has been a keen observer and researcher of trends and opportunities that contextualize fintech and the various thematic areas of fintech innovation and disruptive technologies. 

Bansal will participate in Panel Discussion – How far can we go with big wallets?

Gaurav Dhar, Second Generation Fintech Entrepreneur, Tech Investor, Advisor, Mentor

Dhar is the Manager at Payments Solution Provider Marshal Equipment. He has been working at Marshal for over 13 years now, handling the day-to-day business, delivering solutions, and building long-term partnerships and payment ecosystems.

Dhar will participate in our Panel Discussion – How far can we go with big wallets?

Suvo Sarkar, Sr. EVP & Group Head, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD

General Manager for Retail Banking at Emirates NBD since June 2012, Sarkar has the mandate to oversee all aspects of Emirates NBD’s Retail Banking and Consumer Finance businesses, including branches, retail loans, mortgages, credit cards, wealth management, direct banking, SME, sales and marketing, as well as setting new standards in product innovation.

Sarkar will participate in the Big Bank fireside chat.

Zhi Ying Ng, Senior Analyst Forrester

Zhi Ying serves eBusiness and Channel Strategy Professionals within the Asia Pacific financial services and retail sectors. Her research focuses on how digital technologies are transforming the way financial institutions and retail enterprises interact and engage with empowered customers.

Zhi Ying will participate in the Big Bank fireside chat.

Rami El-Dokany, Founder, Inclusion

E-Dokany will participate in Panel Discussion: Starter for one minute – What does a fintech want? What does a bank want? What does the investor think?

Backbase Partners with SGBL to Support Digital Transformation

Days away from Finovate’s first conference in the Middle East, we learn that one of our most popular alums (as judged by Best of Show awards) is supporting digitization and modernization for one of the leading banks in Lebanon and the Levant: Backbase has partnered with Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) to help the banking group replace their legacy technology with Backbase’s omni-channel digital banking platform.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by SGBL and to play a role in the transformation of their digital banking landscape,” Backbase CEO Jouk Pleiter said. “This expansive, customer-focused transformation brings SGBL into the same playing field as the fintechs, or even beyond.” Highlighting the ability of the platform to serve both its retail and corporate clients, Antoun Sehnaoui, Chairman and CEO of SGBL said the partnership would help the firm maintain its commitment to providing its customers with financial technology that is innovative and secure “to help keep them moving forward with confidence.”

The new platform from Backbase features easy-to-use environments, real time transactions, an enhanced user experience, faster time to market, increased security with multi-factor authentication, online client origination, and 24/7 banking services across branches and channels. The technology has already begun its rollout in Lebanon, with internet and mobile banking features going live in December. A broader regional rollout to Jordan, Cyprus, and the UAE is planned.

SGBL’s decision to deploy Backbase’s technology is timely. The company released version 6 of its digital banking platform late last year, bringing customers what VP of Product Management Jelmer de Jong referred to as “an API architecture ready for the Open Banking and PSD2 future.” The Amsterdam, Netherlands-based company and multiple-time Best of Show winner went live with French, mobile-only bank Orange Bank last fall, and was named Growth Partner of the Year by Capgemini. Most recently demonstrating its technology at FinovateEurope 2017 last February, Backbase was founded in 2003.

FinovateMiddleEast Day Two: Voices from MENA

By adding keynote addresses and panel discussions to the signature, 7-minute Finovate demo format, attendees to our conferences benefit not only from seeing live technology demonstrations firsthand. They also get exposure to some of fintech’s most insightful thought leaders, including CEOs, serial entrepreneurs, bankers, and investors. Here, we’re giving you a look at some of the women and men who will be speaking on Day Two of FinovateMiddle East.

Note that some of our speakers on Day Two are also speaking on Day One and have been introduced as part of our Day One feature. These include Ruth Wandhofer and Moussa Beidas who will close Day Two with a revisit of our Day One Theme: What did the bank gain? What did the fintech gain? What do investors think?

For more information about what’s happening on the second day of our conference, including our demos for the day, accelerator showcase, and lunchtime roundtables, check out our Day Two agenda.

Keynotes & Addresses

Paul Schulte, Founder and Editor and International Fintech Guru, Schulte Research

Schulte is founder and editor of Schulte Research, established in 2011 for researching financial institutions and related technology. He has had a career in equity research which spans 27 years as a chief strategist for major institutions including Lehman, Barclays and Nomura. Schulte will speak on “The future of financial services: AI and the use of blockchain globally.”

Bryan Stirewait, Managing Director, Supervision, DFSA

Stirewalt joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. His responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA’s role with Registered Auditors and CRAs. Stirewalt also directs the DFSA’s efforts to fight methods of illicit finance within his primary areas of responsibilities, as well as with DNFBPs. At FinovateMiddleEast, he will provide an update on fintech regulation.

Bernard Matthewman, Regional Director, MEA, Motive Labs

A highly experienced CEO in Africa, Matthewman has built and sold significant fintech businesses over the past 20 years, including the well-known Paynet Group. PesaPoint formed part of Paynet in East Africa, which recently won the Gold Award for innovation at the ATMIA 50 year celebrations for the global first of performing cardless mobile transactions on ATMs. Matthewman will provide a keynote, as well as participate in our fintech unicorn interview.

Ambareen Musa, CEO, Souqalmal

Musa will participate in a fintech interview.

Discussions, Panels, and Roundtables

Emre Karter, Managing Director, Head of Treasury & Trade Solutions, MENAPT, Citi

Karter is responsible for Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solution businesses in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, and is based out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In this role, Emre is responsible for driving Citi’s market-leading TTS business.

Karter will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Aleski Grym, Head Digitalisation, Bank of Finland

Grym is Head of Digitalisation at the Bank of Finland. He manages the digital programme of the bank as well as various projects related to the digital transformation of the financial industry, covering topics such as fintech, distributed ledger technologies, digital currencies, payment technologies, cyber security, and data analytics.

Grym will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Andrew Reid, Head of Digital Market Management and Governance, Deutsche Bank

Reid is Head of Digital Market Management and Governance for the Global Transaction Banking Division (GTB) of Deutsche Bank, based in London. He was appointed to this role in June 2017. Prior to this, he was responsible for the European Corporate Cash Management division of Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Bank.

Reid will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Lex Sokolin, Global Director, Fintech Strategy, Autonomous Research

Sokolin is a futurist and entrepreneur focused on the next generation of financial services. He directs Fintech Strategy at Autonomous Research, a global research firm for the financial sector, helping clients understand and leverage innovation. Covered themes include roboadvice, neobanks and banks-as-a-platform, blockchain and the cryptoeconomy, artificial intelligence, chatbots, insurtech and regtech.

Sokolin will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Ossama Hassanein, CEO, Rising Tide

Hassanein will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Sara Grinstead, Chief Innovation Officer, RAKBank

Grinstead leads the Bank’s approach to product and service design, ensuring that solutions are customer-centric and leveraging new business models and technologies. This includes developing new capabilities within RAKBANK, establishing partnerships with fintechs, and working with the broader UAE eco-system to support the fintech agenda in the region.

Grinstead will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Steve Naude, Head, Middle East & Africa, TransferWise

Naude heads the Banking team for the Middle East and Africa at TransferWise, the international money transfer platform. Here he works with banks, partners and regulators to build partnerships and expand the TransferWise experience into the region.

Naude will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA

Mohamed El Sabban, Digital Innovation Head, Digital Banking & GTS, Commercial International Bank, Egypt

El Sabban has 23 years of wide intensive cross-functional experience in managing, developing and implementing large-scale strategic business transformation programs in the region. He is also passionate about blending business strategies, human-centric design, disruptive technologies, and business models to develop digital solutions and drive a culture of continuous innovation.

El Sabban will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Craig Moore, CEO, Beehive

As founder and CEO, Moore is responsible for overseeing the overall strategic direction and managing the day-to-day operations of Beehive. Before founding Beehive, he was a founder and COO of Butterfly Software, a data analytics and migration software company acquired by IBM in September 2012.

Moore will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Devie Mohan, CEO, Burnmark

Mohan is a fintech industry advisor and analyst based in London. She is the co-founder and CEO of Burnmark, a fintech research company. She is a panel member on the ING group Think Forward initiative on better financial decision making. She writes extensively on innovation, disruption and digitalisation and is a columnist with several publications.

Mohan will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Yvonne Gale, CEO, NEL Fund Managers

CEO of NEL Fund Managers, a specialist impact investment firm providing tailored funding to small and medium-sized businesses in the North East of England, Gale is also a director of NI Growth Loan Fund General Partner, overseeing the operation of similar funds in Northern Ireland by Whiterock Capital Partners LLP.

Gale will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Tariq Sanad, CFO, Fetchr

Sanad will participate in our unicorn interview.

Entersekt Joins ForgeRock Trust Network as Principal Technology Partner

Mobile-first authentication and e-commerce enablement specialist Entersekt announced today that it has joined the ForgeRock Trust Network as a principal technology partner. ForgeRock provides identity and access management solutions to financial services, retail, healthcare, and communications companies as well as to educational institutions and governments including Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway.

“Entersekt will bring our customers powerful, proven authentication options that will add great vale to the exciting digital transformation projects they are embarking on with ForgeRock,” Ben Goodman, VP of global strategy and innovation for ForgeRock said. Entersekt’s advanced mobile app security, authentication, and digital signing solutions integrate seamlessly into ForgeRock’s identity and access management platform, giving customers an easy way to secure individuals, connected devices, and services.

“As Entersekt did with push-based authentication, so has ForgeRock reimagined identity and access management, rearchitecting it from the ground up,” Entersekt CCO Dewald Nolte said. “Besides our game-changing complementary technologies, it’s that pioneering approach that I believe will benefit mutual customers the most. It promises to spur further innovation and help deliver to end users the best mobile experiences available anywhere.”

Entersekt’s solutions can be applied to a variety of challenges including mobile app security, strong authentication, payments enabling, digital signing, biometric enablement and regulatory compliance. The company’s flagship products are Transakt, which provides one-touch, multi-factor authentication for digital banking and payments, Interakt, which enables push USSD, out-of-band communication for feature phones, and Connekt, which provides secure and seamless e-commerce enablement. Entersekt secures 150 million digital transactions every month in 45 countries, protecting tens of millions of end users.

Entersekt participated in our developer’s conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014, with a presentation titled Securing Mobile Applications Through Transport Layer Diversity. Headquartered in Stellenbosch, NA, South Africa and founded in 2008, the company includes RMI and Endeavor Catalyst among its investors. Schalk Nolte is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Entersekt Joins ForgeRock Trust Network as Principal Technology Partner.
  • Kony to Power Digital Initiative for Partners FCU.

Around the web

  • Software Group goes live on Temenos Marketplace.
  • Finastra introduces tailored Fusion Treasury solution for Russia and the CIS.
  • FIS announces partnership with nexo standard to build compliance testing tools.
  • Wall Street Journal profiles mortgagetech innovator Unison.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

BBVA Partners with Azlo to Empower Workers in the Gig Economy

In a bid to help the growing number of workers making a living via the so-called “Gig Economy,” BBVA has partnered with digital business account platform Azlo to make it easier for SMEs take advantage of both domestic and cross-border banking services.

“Azlo’s goal is to level the playing field for the growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses who wish to participate in an expanding global economy that is driven by entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelance professionals,” said Azlo CEO Brian Hamilton.

Azlo, of which BBVA is the majority-owner, provides online banking services as well as workshops, live events and a community of entrepreneurial talent. Founded in 2017, the firm leverages BBVA’s banking license and payment infrastructure to offer its services in the U.S., and observers believe that the launch of Azlo will make it that much easier for BBVA to access the American market. In a press release accompanying the announcement, BBVA noted that 43% of workers in the United States are expected to be serving as freelancers by 2020.

“What distinguishes Azlo is its focus on the new economy,” Azlo Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ramona Ortega said. “(This includes) millennials and underrepresented entrepreneurs, and creating a deep and valuable relationship with its customers through community engagement.”

Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, BBVA demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2013. The solution enables users to monitor market sentiment as expressed on Twitter for potential insights into future market activity. Regarded as one of the most innovative European banks in terms of fintech adoption, BBVA was founded in 1857, and now has more than 117,000 employees working in more than 30 countries. The bank’s Group Executive Chariman, Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, was named to One World Identity’s Top 20 Identity Influencers earlier this month.  Last fall, BBVA announced a partnership with Samsung last fall to bring iris scanning technology to smartphones.

Finovate Alumni News


  • BBVA Partners with Azlo to Empower Workers in the Gig Economy.

Around the web

  • Wipro named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere for seventh time in a row.
  • LendUp CEO Jake Rosenberg talks about providing “fair financial products” to the underbanked in a conversation with Y Combinator.
  • Technology from Quid helps Walmart build its American Family Today report.
  • Milwaukee Public Radio features BanQu and its ability to leverage blockchain technology to help refugees reclaim their identities.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

TIBCO Introduces New CTO and COO

Big moves at the top for TIBCO. The company’s CTO Matt Quinn will transition to a new role as TIBCO’s Chief Operating Officer as the firm taps Nelson Petracek as its new Chief Technology Officer. In a press release, the company contextualized the move as part of its effort to “ramp up” its TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud, which Quinn will oversee.

“Our customer-first mindset is one of the many reasons I’m proud to be part of the TIBCO team,” Quinn said. “When customers choose TIBCO, I want to ensure that they receive a high-performing service that propels the growth of their businesses. I am excited to continue expanding and innovating to meet every customer need.”

Quinn joined TIBCO as a developer in 1997, became CTO in 2010 and was appointed EVP in 2014, which gave him responsibility for product engineering and support. He was educated at RMIT University, earning a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Applied Technology, IT.

An 11-year TIBCO veteran, Petracek transitions to CTO after leading the Strategic Enablement Group, which pursued innovative technologies such as low-code applications, the blockchain, and natural language processing. Petracek came to TIBCO from Informatica Corporation’s Emerging Technologies business unit where he served as Senior Director. He has a degree in Computational Science from the University of Saskatchewan. TIBCO CEO Murray Rode praised Petracek for his “deep, technical knowledge and broad customer relationships.”

“I’m honored to be part of such a forward-thinking company,” Petracek said. “Working at the forefront of technology innovation and serving the dual needs of our corporate strategy and customer advocacy, I’m excited to help craft TIBCO’s technology strategy as we continue to build valuable tools for businesses.”

Ranked #1 in Dresner Advisory Services 2018 Location Intelligence Market Study and named a leader in Enterprise Data Virtualization by Forrester Research, TIBCO announced a partnership with Singapore Polytechnic in January to support local engineering SMEs. An active acquirer, TIBCO purchased Cisco’s data visualization business and acquired data science and social collaboration platform Alpine Data last fall. TIBCO itself was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2013, one year after the company made its Finovate debut at FinovateAsia 2013. At the conference, TIBCO demonstrated its Innovative Payment Solutions technology which enables merchants and banks to gain analytic insights from customer transactions without requiring the customer to provide any other significant, personal financial information.

Fintech News from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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As Finovate prepares for its first conference in the Middle East, here’s a round up of recent fintech news and need-to-knows from the MENA region. Learn more about how to join us in Dubai in February for FinovateMiddleEast.

  • Saudi Arabia’s central bank inks deal with Ripple to use distributed ledger technology to settle payments.
  • Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) reports that gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in MENA to gain a licence to trade cryptocurrencies.
  • Honeywell launches Middle East industrial cybersecurity center.

MENA Fintech Fact International Data Corporation reports that  MENA spending on blockchain technology will grow to $80 million this year compared to $39 million in 2017. By 2021, regional blockchain spending is expected to reach $307 million.

  • Monami Tech introduces digital payment service, Lendme.
  • Forbes Middle East profiles MadfooatCom founder Nasser Saleh.
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore and Central Bank of Egypt forge fintech partnership.

Thought Leadership – Global Finance Magazine looks back on investment in MENA startups in 2017, including the $37 million raised by fintechs PayTabs, Emirati Souqalmal, and Wahed Invest.

  • ComputerWorld highlights OneGram in a review of government-sponsored blockchain cryptocurrencies.
  • UAE Securities and Commodities Authority partners with PwC to design regulatory framework for UAE capital markets-oriented regtech.
  • Entrepreneur Middle East features Egyptian fintech Moneyfellows.

Mambu Teams Up with Softtek to Launch Banking Platform as a Service

Just one month after signing a deal with fellow Finovate alum Kreditech that will support the Germany-based lender’s entry to the Indian market, Mambu is back in the headlines with a partnership with Mexican systems integrator Softtek. Via the agreement, Softtek will launch a banking platform as a service (BPaaS) solution that will give the firm the ability to deliver a variety of SaaS and local apps and technologies from multiple vendors from a singular, cloud-based, API-enabled platform – powered by Mambu.

“New entrants are using digital technology to meet changing customer expectations as well as reach the large underbanked sector,” MD for Mambu Americas, Edgardo Torres-Caballero explained. “To succeed, competitors must emulate the operating models of these disruptors and develop the flexibility and speed to market necessary to meet market demands.”

“BPaaS is the optimal model to meet this objective,” Torres-Caballero said.

Noting that the collaboration will give clients “the best of both companies,” Softtek Mexico CEO Carlos Funes said, “Powered by the global leading SaaS banking engine Mambu, which provides advanced capabilities and the agility demanded by the financial sector, we have combined this with Softtek’s experience and knowledge of this industry in Mexico in order to provide a complete offering which will help accelerate the transition of our customers to the digital economy without disrupting their existing business.” The company’s VP of Financial Sector, Jose Luis Sanchez added that there were “more than 3,000” FIs in Mexico that could “potentially benefit” from this partnership.

“With a 100% digital platform that is flexible, scalable, and agile, it will enable these institutions to provide innovative cloud-first banking services and credit to its customers in the consumer and corporate market,” Sanchez said.

Mambu demonstrated its cloud-based banking engine at FinovateAsia 2013. The company ended 2017 announcing a partnership with Argentina-based fintech Wenance, which will use Mambu’s technology to fuel its expansion into Latin America. In October, ABM Amro’s New10 choose Mambu’s SaaS engine to power its line of SME lending products in the Netherlands, and in September, German challenger bank N26 reported that it too would deploy Mambu’s platform to support current accounts, overdraft, and loan products.

With more than $13 million in funding, Mambu includes Acton Capital Partners and CommerzVentures among its investors. Eugene Danilkis is co-founder and CEO.