Innovation, Disruption and Global Expansion takes centre stage at Fintech Abu Dhabi
The growth of the FinTech industry and its success in transforming the way we live were top of the agenda today, as the second day of FinTech Abu Dhabi welcomed more than 5,000 local and international delegates.
Delegates were told what it takes to build and grow a billion-dollar company, how artificial intelligence is transforming the way we live and how firms can grow from a local to a global success.
The second day of the global financial and technology event, held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) featured a packed schedule of discussions, panel sessions and debates from some of the world’s most innovative global companies, industry thought leaders and top CEOs.
ACHIEVING A $1 BILLION+ ‘UNICORN VALUATION’
Elizabeth Schluze, Technology Correspondent of CNBC (UK) chaired a panel with two unicorns – Lucy Liu, co-founder and president of Airwallex, Australia’s fastest ever growing start-up, and Lex Greensil, co-founder and CEO at Greensil, a market leading capital finance provider, to explain how their companies achieved the much-sought after $1 billion + ‘Unicorn valuation’.
Ms Lui said: “You have to think big, be ambitious and bring in a group of people who believe in what you’re doing. Talent is very important. Running a business is about being driven and how we can better service our customers to solve their problems.
“Having a team who has strong leaders who are good at what they’re doing is very important. It is very hard to go global if you don’t have the right people on ground.”
Mr Greensill added: “It is about having extraordinary vision, determination, the conviction to execute and, most importantly, patience.”
DRIVING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
H.E. Khalifa Salem Al Mansouri, Acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange ADX, spoke about the impact of digital transformation on the globe’s financial services industry.
He explained that innovative technology products and services are overhauling the way companies do business today, their plans to thrive and stay one step ahead of the competition.
“ADX is continuing to lead the way in technology advancements and is fully embracing FinTech and placing it at the core of our digital acceleration strategy,” said H.E. Al Mansouri.
“Our approach is line with the UAE government’s plans to digitally transform financial transactions, services and products in the UAE and develop a financial market that ensures safe and transparent trading.”
TAKING THE STEP FROM ‘LOCAL’ TO ‘GLOBAL’
Promoth Manghat, CEO of Finablr, the global payments platform and money exchange solutions company, explained how established and aspiring entrepreneurs can elevate their company from being successful locally to making an impact on the global stage.
“The best advice I can give to start-ups and entrepreneurs is to focus on the scale of the problems that can be solved,” Mr Promoth said.
“What has been really important in our growth is looking after customers and keeping innovation on the go. In this day and age, payments are part of everyday life and over time we have had to introduce changes to a market that continues to evolve.”
Finablr has established itself as a leading global organization for payments and foreign exchange solutions after opening its first branch – UAE Exchange – in Abu Dhabi in 1980.
REGION OPENING UP TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT
Edward Knight, Vice Chairman of NASDAQ, explained how the region is witnessing great economic growth and collaboration.
“We are seeing growth in terms of the markets reforming themselves and looking at how there can be more coordination amongst themselves to create a greater pool of liquidity.
“The success of Dubai’s International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Markets is being replicated by other areas in the region that are opening up their markets to foreign investors.
“The potential Saudi Aramco IPO has created more interest in the reforms that associated with Saudi while EXPO 2020 will create great opportunity for people to consider investing here.”
Mr Knight offered his advice to FinTech start-ups on what it takes to list on NASDAQ.
“There are many different paths to success, not one standard formula, but it is not easy. Being a public company is not for everyone. It requires a lot of discipline and the ability to produce on a predictable and stable basis revenues and profits for shareholders.”
LOOK AHEAD TO DAY 3
Delegates will return to ADNEC on Wednesday for the third and final day of FinTech Abu Dhabi. Among the highlights of the day’s programme is the Youth Circle where the UAE’s entrepreneurs of tomorrow will be in the spotlight to discover the huge range of opportunities FinTech has to offer.
Discussions on maximizing the FinTech ecosystem and growing a knowledge economy in the UAE will also be among the topics addressed by regional and international experts.
Steve Kirsch, CEO of Token, the PSD2 compliant open banking platform, will address the audience in the keynote speech on how digital currencies will change everything in the future while the winners of the Etihad Challenge will also be announced.