FinTech matchmaker: TISAtech recruits UAE start-ups looking to expand to Britain
Digital marketplace says companies ‘don’t have to hop on the plane, you can you can hop on the platform’
Digital marketplace TISAtech is recruiting UAE FinTechs looking to expand to the UK to help connect British investors with start-ups in the Emirates without getting on a plane during the Covid-19 pandemic.
TISAtech, which acts as a matchmaker for the FinTech sector, is a joint venture between Britain’s The Disruption House (TDH), a benchmarking and scorecard service for the financial sector, and The Investing and Savings Alliance (Tisa).
The platform, which went live in November last year, acts as a tech bridge to help corporates and FinTechs collaborate more easily during the crisis.
With six UAE FinTechs already profiled on the platform, including robo-advisory Sarwa, chief executive and co-founder of TDH Rupert Bull said TISAtech was looking to engage more start-ups in the Emirates and wider region.
“We are saying to UAE FinTechs, ‘here’s a platform that can help you internationalise and access the UK market in a very short time and cost-effective manner’,” Mr Bull said.
The platform offers start-ups a chance to explore the UK market in a low-carbon manner.
“You don’t have to hop on the plane, you can hop on the platform. Historically, companies considering the UK market would have gone to the airport, hopped on a plane and come to UK for meetings. That’s not possible at the moment but the platform still allows you do it,” he said.
“This is a new world and the new world requires new tools. The fact we have this platform capability means that geography should no longer be a determinant of whether you can do business across borders.”
The joint venture between Tisa and TDH marries Tisa’s 220 corporate members with the 3,600 FinTechs TDH has assessed across the globe. This allows investors or start-up clients to judge the sustainability of a company, while FinTechs can access their next investor or mentor.
With most of the 3,600 FinTechs already on the platform based in the UK and the Americas, it is easy to understand why TISAtech decided to prioritise the UAE as a key market from the Middle East and North Africa.
Start-ups in the UAE attracted more than half of the $1 billion in venture capital raised in the region in 2020 and more than a quarter of the total Mena deals, Magnitt’s 2021 Emerging Venture Markets report said.
With the UAE’s total share of funding rising 5 per cent to $579m, it means the Arab world’s second-biggest economy received the largest share of the funds raised and ranked first in terms of the number of deals.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has encouraged investors to back high-growth industries, such as e-commerce and FinTech, which drew increased demand during the pandemic, the Magnitt report found.
To boost its engagement with the UAE’s FinTech sector, TISAtech this month appointed industry stalwart Fabian Vandenreydt as ambassador to the country.
Mr Vandenreydt said the platform offers options for both sides of the start-up space, with FinTechs able to look for financing and corporates able to hunt for disruptive ideas.
“It is still a very difficult process to put those two together so the marketplace is a great way to do that,” said Mr Vandenreydt, who is normally based in Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island but for pandemic reasons was speaking from his native Belgium.
“The big corporations are making sure they don’t miss the boat– they are looking for solutions that extend what they already have, or disrupt or renew the technology or processes they have. But the problem is, it’s a big forest and not all the trees are in your own city … so their issue is having access to a place that helps them scout and discover the right companies for their needs,” he said.