Cyberport Venture Capital Forum to Be Held Virtually in 2020

https://thefintechtimes.com/cyberport-venture-capital-forum-to-be-held-virtually-in-2020/

Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF), Cyberport’s annual tech investment event, will return on 3-4 November. This year’s event will be held in a virtual and interactive format for the first time, covering how the tech venture ecosystem has been reshaped under the new normal for investors, enterprises and technopreneurs. The two-day virtual forum will gather more than 50 global venture capital (VC) experts to examine key silver linings through a variety of keynotes and panel discussions. Over 80 virtual booths will be set up for start-ups to showcase innovative tech solutions as part of a comprehensive platform to connect start-ups with investors for power pitching and provide opportunities to explore tech venturing dynamics.

As the digital tech flagship in Hong Kong, Cyberport is dedicated to facilitating deal flow for start-ups and enriching the regional VC landscape. Echoing the event’s overarching theme, “Navigating New Normal of Tech Venturing”, over 50 international and local experts from major industry players, including Qiming Venture Partners, Alibaba Group, IESE Business School and LEGO Ventures, will discuss the latest global paradigm shift in the tech venturing landscape that has stemmed from the current macro-economic outlook and mega trends. They will cover topics such as the latest strategies from VC and corporate ventures, new investment spaces like venture debt, the development of education technology (EdTech), the geo-political impact of cross-border capital flow and investor orientations with regards to the China-US trade war and Asia market dynamics, digital transformation in high potential verticals, funding strategies for start-ups, and more.

Peter Yan, CEO of Cyberport, said: “The challenges brought about by the Covid-19 epidemic to the economy have at the same time accelerated the digital transformation of enterprises and the wide adoption of various digital business models like online-to-offline, virtual events, work and learn from home. There is also an increasing demand in tech-assisted healthcare and other contactless lifestyle applications. All these translate to an unprecedented conducive business environment for our tech start-ups to grow and more than ever, a strong need for investors to leverage the Cyberport platform to identify quality companies with strong talents and promising business models.

“Cyberport remains committed to spring-boarding start-ups to success, and the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum is the key event for us to bridge investors with our tech community as well as the annual destination for our Cyberport Investor Network (CIN) to gather, share their views on the latest developments and exchange insights oncoming trends. I look forward to another year of illuminating sharings by industry leaders and productive exchanges and matchings between the tech community and investors.”

Starting from 21 October, CVCF will kick off the month-long virtual experience with conference and workshop content available 24/7 on its dedicated event platform. The Innovator showcase will feature virtual booths of tech solutions and allow investors and audience members to interact with the most enterprising innovators to explore collaborations. At the Founder Stage, short pitch videos will be streamed for promising start-ups across different fields to present their projects to investors and to gain exposure. These will also be available to view on-demand on the event platform. Investor matching sessions will allow one-on-one investor meetings with start-ups based on tech sectors and investment appetite between late October to early November.

International engagement

To reach a wider global audience of investors and start-ups, this year is the first time CVCF is partnering with the Consulates General of Canada and Israel respectively, Macau Young Entrepreneur Innovation Centre, and leading co-working spaces in Hong Kong to bring in start-ups and investors.

The Edventures Global Business Acceleration Summit on the second event day will gather innovators, investors, educators and talent development professionals who are looking for solutions and opportunities in the education technology space. Speakers of the event include Richard Culatta, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education, Kamran Elahian, Chairman and Founder of Global Innovation Catalyst and Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner of Rethink Education.

During the Summit, 10 finalists of the Edventures GBA Fellowship, a global competition to help growth stage EdTech start-ups expand internationally, will compete for the chance to connect with business matching and market expansion consultancies. The finalists from Hong Kong, Finland, Mainland China, the UK and the US, will be showcasing their ventures, ranging from early childhood education to lifelong learning solutions. These finalists together with EdTech start-ups at Cyberport will also exhibit at the concurrent Virtual Global Edventures Expo from 23 Oct – 22 Nov.

https://thefintechtimes.com/cyberport-venture-capital-forum-to-be-held-virtually-in-2020/

Google deploys its OCR tech for new mortgage product

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/focus/automation/google-deploys-its-ocr-tech-for-new-mortgage-product/

Google Cloud is embedding itself further into the financial services industry with the launch of its new mortgage application and origination tool, Lending DocAI. The tool, which debuted Monday and is now in preview, is a new tool within Google Cloud’s more generic DocumentAI suite of solutions, which uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to […]

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/focus/automation/google-deploys-its-ocr-tech-for-new-mortgage-product/

Unblu Teams Up with Celero, LUKB to Boost Digital Customer Engagement

https://finovate.com/unblu-teams-up-with-celero-lukb-to-boost-digital-customer-engagement/

A pair of partnerships this month have helped Unblu bring its digital conversational platform to a larger number of financial services customers. The company announced at the beginning of the month that digital technology solutions provider Celero will use Unblu’s conversational platform to enable its credit union customers to leverage digital channels to better engage with their members. The integration adds to Celero’s digital banking platform, Celero Xpress, which is powered by another Finovate alum, ebankIT.

“Our new digital platform offers credit union members an intuitive, engaging and secure digital banking experience,” Celero General Manager for Digital Banking Dean Rathwell explained. “By integrating Unblu, our clients can ensure these digital experiences also deliver a personal connection, which is core to the credit union difference.”

Set to launch later this year, the enhanced Celero Xpress platform will provide must-have communication functionalities such as live and video chat, as well as messaging and collaborative co-browsing. The platform is connected to Celero’s digital ecosystem, Celero Xchange, which leverages modern APIs to enable institutions to integrate their own or third party applications. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Celero was founded in 2003 and counts more than 110 credit unions and financial institutions in Canada as its customers.

Unblu’s partnership with Celero came just a week after it announced that it had teamed up with Luzerner Kantonalbank (LUKB), the leading retailing banking group in the Swiss canton of Lucerne with more than $46 billion (CHF 42 billion) in assets as of 2019. LUKB has begun a pilot project to test an online customer advice feature powered by Unblu’s conversational platform. The feature uses a hybrid approach, with customers engaging with a live LUKB agent who works in tandem with the customer by way of Unblu’s screen sharing technology.

“With this new online function, LUKB’s advisors can make the documents on their screens visible on their customers’ devices. That way, the documents or online applications can be clearly explained in a conversation,” LUKB Head of Digitization and Multichannel Management Stefan Lüthy said. He added that while the new solution will save customers a trip to the branch, it is not intended to replace in-person meetings and consultations.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Unblu made its most recent Finovate appearance at our European conference in Berlin earlier this year. Unblu was founded in 2012. Luc Haldimann is CEO.


Photo by Chait Goli from Pexels

https://finovate.com/unblu-teams-up-with-celero-lukb-to-boost-digital-customer-engagement/

Moxtra, Digital Transformation, and the Marketing Mindset

https://finovate.com/moxtra-digital-transformation-and-the-marketing-mindset/

Even before the onset of the global health crisis, banks and other financial services companies were moving in the direction of greater digitization to improve efficiency, cut costs, and most importantly, deliver new and enhanced products and services to an increasingly-tech savvy – and tech-dependent – consumer.

But do firms in the financial services space need to do more than just digitally transform themselves? What strategies do these businesses need to adopt in order to further differentiate their offerings from rivals? How can they provide their customers with the kind of personalized, low- to no-latency, access anywhere, digitally-oriented service their customers have come to expect from all institutions – public or private, large or small, financial or not?

For this week’s Finovate Alumni Profile, we caught up with Stanley Huang, Chief Technology Officer for Moxtra, to discuss these challenges. Specifically, we talk about what he calls the “marketing mindset” that financial services businesses need to adopt in order to not just survive, but thrive in these uncertain times. A leading business collaboration platform designed for the mobile era, Moxtra offers an embeddable omni-channel client engagement solution for financial services companies. The company, founded in 2012 and headquartered in Cupertino, California, has been a Finovate alum since 2016.


Finovate: Digital transformation is the major buzzword for companies right now – understandably. However, would you say that there is more to making it through the current crisis – to say nothing of coming out better on the other side – than just digital transformation? What else do companies need to do?

Stanley Huang: Digital transformation is inevitable but it’s more about the overall industry transformation that needs to take place, especially in an industry like finance and banking which has been slower to adopt more modern, digital solutions. We encourage our customers to leverage this crisis in order to finish the long-term business service model transformation. It’s like shifting from using taxis to Uber. 

Consumers have grown accustomed to and reliant on mobile in their interactions with businesses for more than a decade now, and that has raised customer expectations of all businesses fundamentally. It’s simply the reality, and it’s time for laggards to embrace that reality. In order to compete today, you need to place a premium on providing on-demand service with instant response and serving every client as a high-touch customer. The mobile era has created a level of service that customers are accustomed to – so getting ahead of the expectations and needs of customers is vital to better ensure loyalty during the entirety of the customer lifecycle, which in the financial industry is a lifetime if done right.

The silver lining of seemingly being forced into digital transformation during this unique time is that it’s serving to benefit not just some, but all customers in this time capsule we’re experiencing. Now is the time to ensure that no age demographic is left behind in the pursuit of digital adoption, for example. For financial institutions that previously didn’t have something like a OneStop Customer Portal to serve customers virtually, that was a missed opportunity to attract the younger generations who have grown up with mobile and digital solutions as an expectation, not a luxury. 

And for financial institutions that had a digital solution headed into the pandemic, this period of time serves as a unique environment to bring older generations into the fold that previously may have been hesitant to do business virtually.  Show them what they can do — safely — both physically and from a cybersecurity standpoint, with a OneStop Portal solution. Ensuring they feel comfortable to be served via this new channel with both a secure and user-friendly interface will make them a lifelong virtual banker, benefiting both parties long term.

Finovate: You’ve discussed a concept called a “marketing mindset” that you think more businesses need to adopt in order to survive and thrive in the current environment and beyond. What is a marketing mindset? Why do companies need it and how do they get it if they don’t have it? How did you come to this insight?

Huang: When we talk about doing business with a marketing mindset, it goes back to the shift in importance to how you provide service vs. what you offer – it’s evolving from a “product mindset” to a “marketing mindset”. By that, we mean creating a customer experience that is centered around brand consciousness. Marketers are naturally focused on this concept of brand consciousness in their role as they own the responsibility of overseeing the execution of how the brand is presented to customers as well as the messaging that is circulated. Oftentimes, banks aren’t as self-aware of their brand identity when interacting with customers on a day-to-day basis as they really should be. 

Banks must have a marketing and customer-centric mindset to succeed in a digital age that has heightened consumer expectations for the type of experience they expect to receive, especially by an institution that is responsible for something so personal and important to them as managing their money. 

When customers have other options for who they bank with, financial leaders — no matter their role — should consider leading with a marketing and customer-centric mindset to appeal to and retain customers. If this frame of mind and way of doing business isn’t innate within the company, it is up to bank employees to educate and promote the benefits of this new approach to banking. Especially during the early adoption phase of digital banking, a thought-out, handshake-replacing approach to doing business digitally is what will help banks gain customer confidence and trust to earn their loyalty long-term. If approached with a marketing mindset, your advocacy and education about this new approach to doing business will aid in customer adoption, comfort and, ultimately, loyalty.

Finovate: What industries or companies are doing the best job of embracing this mindset? Is there a reason why these businesses are better able to adopt a marketing mindset compared to other businesses/industries?

Huang: Industries embracing this mindset best are those that have the greatest reputations to uphold in comparison to other top-notch brand experiences, such as in retail and CPG (consumer packaged goods). While antiquated government institutions and utility companies can coast by with a lower caliber of service, retail and CPG brands can’t afford to slip up on the customer experience advertised — especially with all of the options available to consumers and the likes of Amazon coming for their customers. 

That’s why retail banks serving your everyday consumer such as Citibank came to us to ensure the experience it offers its customers is thoughtful, thorough and robust to match their in-person banking experience, and in some ways surpass it with on-demand relationship managers. 

High-touch businesses like Citibank are our sweet spot of service, because their OneStop Digital Branch requires comprehensive, collaborative capabilities — both on the front end and back end — that can manage a more complex level of services than a simple e-commerce site or app by a retailer needs. Banks need capabilities like secure messaging, digital signature, and a seamless tracking of finances, transactions, and banking communications in real-time.

High-touch businesses, such as those in the financial industry, law, real estate, education, event planning, etc. are the type of companies and organizations that may be slight laggards with digital transformation not because they don’t value their customers, students and other stakeholders, but because ten years ago the technology wasn’t out there to facilitate the complex facets of their business virtually in the way that a simple online clothing retail operation can pull off. We are working to fill that need at Moxtra with our Digital Branch Solution.

https://finovate.com/moxtra-digital-transformation-and-the-marketing-mindset/

Veriff Launches Barcode Reading Feature in US and Canada

https://thefintechtimes.com/veriff-launches-barcode-reading-feature-in-us-and-canada/

Identity verification company Veriff has launched new technology that can read barcode information from an identity document. Automatic barcode scanner helps to fight fraud and speed up the verification process. The company currently supports barcode scans on US and Canadian documents but plans to expand to other countries and document types using barcodes.

Janer Gorohhov, the co-founder and COO of Veriff, said: “Our usability research revealed that people are not used to scanning barcodes. This is why the process needed a series of UI improvements so that people could verify themselves with no friction.”

A barcode is a short machine-readable set of data that is a standard feature on the backside of all United States and Canadian driver’s licenses, which is the most commonly used ID document in these countries. The barcode has a person’s document data encoded within it, including the name, address, document validity date, document number, gender, height, eye colour, etc. As the barcode is exceptionally dense, it requires a very high-quality picture to extract the data.

The new barcode scanner enables Veriff to extract the document data automatically, making the process efficient and accurate. It is also a secure way to catch instances of document tampering. The removal of the barcode from regular document back pictures is a challenge, especially from images captured on a desktop or laptop computers during the verification process.

Veriff has added to its mobile web verification flows a specific step to scan the barcode on applicable documents.

“Currently, the barcode scanning feature is available on our web interface, and soon will be expanded to mobile SDKs. We determined that the best solution was to scan the barcode from a live video input of the device camera straight to the phone. With this approach, we have access to the highest quality input without any quality degradation,” Gorohhov added.

Veriff is a global tech company building an AI-driven verification platform. Veriff technology makes sure that a person is who they claim to be with the help of artificial intelligence. Founded in 2015 by Kaarel Kotkas, it serves a global portfolio of internet businesses, including fintech companies, sharing economy providers, and marketplaces in the USA, Europe, and other places in the world. Veriff employs over 230 people in Estonia and the USA.

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the fintech times newspaper Get your digital copy

https://thefintechtimes.com/veriff-launches-barcode-reading-feature-in-us-and-canada/

FDX’s Cardinal talks API-based data sharing adoption

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/products/open-bank/fdxs-cardinal-talks-api-based-data-sharing-adoption/

FDX’s Cardinal talks API-based data sharing adoption | | Bank Innovation


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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/products/open-bank/fdxs-cardinal-talks-api-based-data-sharing-adoption/

Adjust report identifies 3 trends in mobile finance to keep an eye on

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/adjust-report-identifies-3-trends-in-mobile-finance-to-keep-an-eye-on/

As mobile finance takes up an ever-more central part of our daily lives, understanding the benchmarks and trends from within this fast growing vertical is more vital than ever. In order to answer these questions and more, Adjust has partnered with app Intelligence platform Apptopia to create the Mobile Finance Report 2020.

Mobile finance is quickly establishing itself as an integral part of our everyday lives, whether that’s in advanced economies — where mobile apps provide an unparalleled ease of use — or in emerging markets — where mobile finance is bringing banking services to people historically out of reach of the banking industry.

As with any fast-growing sector, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest developments. Which regions are growing the fastest? What is the industry’s trajectory for growth? And how has the global pandemic affected consumer behavior? As mobile finance takes up an ever-more central part of our daily lives, understanding the benchmarks and trends from within this fast growing vertical is more vital than ever. In order to answer these questions and more, Adjust has partnered with app Intelligence platform Apptopia to create the Mobile Finance Report 2020, which you can click here to download a free copy of.

Adjust’s latest report highlights app finance industry trends in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, Turkey, the U.S. and Ukraine, offering an essential overview of the world of mobile finance and an insight into where it’s heading. We’ve highlighted some of the biggest takeaways from the report here.

Activity in investment apps is booming

The global pandemic has led to an unprecedented shift in global economic patterns, and apps offered by trading platforms such as Acorns, Gatsby and Stash are democratizing investing by making it easier and more accessible. This has led to a surge in activity for investment apps, which saw an 88% growth in average sessions per day from January to June 2020.

Payment apps are where the money is

When it comes to payment apps, sessions increased by 49% between H1 2019 to H1 2020 across the countries in our survey. The most impressive growth rates were seen in Japan (75%), Germany (45%), Turkey (39%), the U.S. (33%) and the U.K. (29%).

Sessions for banking and payment apps combined increased 26% on average across the countries in our survey. While all countries saw an uptick in sessions, stand-out markets by growth rates were Japan (142%), Germany (40%), Turkey (31%) and the U.S. (27%).

Super-apps continue to shake up the market

Super-apps remain one of the top trends in mobile. Asia gave rise to the super-app via big names such as WeChat and KakaoTalk, but other regions are now catching on, with Revolut— for example — pursuing a ‘super-app’ strategy.

For more insights like these, download your copy of the Mobile Finance Report 2020 today.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/blogs/adjust-report-identifies-3-trends-in-mobile-finance-to-keep-an-eye-on/

Billtrust to Make Public Debut at $1.3 Billion

https://finovate.com/billtrust-to-make-public-debut-at-1-3-billion/

Accounts receivable automation company Billtrust announced today it agreed to a merger with South Mountain Merger Corporation, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The combined entity, which will operate under the name BTRS Holdings Inc., will be a publicly traded company with a value of approximately $1.3 billion. BTRS is expected to trade on The Nasdaq Stock Market under a new ticker symbol.

Billtrust’s management team, which is led by Flint Lane, Founder and CEO, Steve Pinado, President, and Mark Shifke, CFO, will continue to lead the Company.

“As we begin our journey as a public company, we are thrilled to partner with the South Mountain team and know we will benefit from their extensive industry experience,” said Lane. “We believe accounts receivable (AR) is ripe for innovation, and together we will continue to invest in opportunities to scale the business, growing both organically and inorganically, as we seek to tackle the large total addressable market. As a leader in AR automation, we believe Billtrust is well-positioned to own a disproportionate share.”

Founded in 2001, Billtrust and has since worked to create a suite of solutions that simplify and automate B2B commerce through cloud-based software and integrated payment processing solutions. In 2018, the company launched its Business Payments Network (BPN). The network connects buyers, suppliers, and financial institutions to simplify and streamline electronic payment acceptance.

The transaction is expected to close in early 2021 and is subject to stockholder approval and closing conditions.


Photo by Rob Laughter on Unsplash

https://finovate.com/billtrust-to-make-public-debut-at-1-3-billion/

Nano-Credit App Venio Launches in Mexico

https://thefintechtimes.com/nano-credit-app-venio-launches-in-mexico/

Venio, the mobile application providing “nano-credit” facilities to unbanked consumers in emerging markets accessed via a smartphone, has announced its launch in Mexico. Venio Aplicaciones de Mexico, the Company’s Mexican business arm, has been established to support Venio’s expansion across the high growth emerging market.

Venio’s international rollout has been expedited on the back of an oversubscribed and successful debut in the Philippines. The Venio app has now been translated into Spanish and will be available to consumers across Mexico with a strong foothold in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey.

The companies aim is to lift a generation of unbanked people into the financial system, help them to achieve financial discipline and a credit footprint in order to open up fair and equal access to useful financial services that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them. The need for these services has become more acute as Covid-19 has caused unprecedented impacts, increasing hardships and difficulties in accessing basic necessities.

The Mexican market is well placed to benefit from Venio’s “nano credit” loan facilities due to underlying demographic trends and high mobile penetration alongside the unmet demand for fintech payments in the population, where rates of financial exclusion remain high. According to the latest report from the World Bank Group, as many as 1.7 billion adults are unbanked globally, a figure approaching one fourth of the global population, the majority of these cases are in emerging markets. In Mexico a high proportion of the population is unbanked with 63% of its 126 million inhabitants without access to a bank account.

Warren Platt, Founder & CEO at Venio commented: “Mexico is a dynamic market where we have established key contacts and excellent partnerships and we now look forward to capitalising on this to build Venio’s growth and achieve our targets for the Mexican market . Venio’s arrival in Mexico will have an immediate impact on the country’s underbanked where there is growing demand among customers for new products that meet their needs. Venio wants to change how people access financial services by making access to responsible loans easier and fairer, this will offer a whole segment of the population the chance to build a credit profile and take the first step on the journey to financial inclusion. Access to financial products and services opens economic opportunities for individuals and entire communities.”

Venio offers its customers responsible loans without the need for upfront collateral, revolutionising Mexico’s existing credit culture and improving people’s ability to access financial support with ease. At launch, loans with a value of US$1.20 – US$7.00 (MXP25.00 – MXP150.00) will be available to Venio customers. In Mexico 25.00 Pesos can cover the cost of a meal, basic medicine or transportation to and from work.

The scalable app is easily transferable to the Mexican market as the country’s retail landscape is highly developed and therefore similar to what can be found in the Philippines, where Venio proved its model following a launch earlier this year. Venio will leverage Mexico’s extensive network of local Changarro stores that are akin to the Philippines’ ‘mom-and-pop’ Sari-Sari convenience stores, again placing accessible local community retail at the core of Venio’s redemption network model.

Venio’s local team which is already operational is highly experienced, featuring senior leadership from it’s core management team alongside local expertise. Due to Venio’s strong emerging market focus the Company’s strategy is to deepen relationships across Latin America. The company is poised to establish itself as a leading provider of nano credit across multiple emerging markets tackling endemic financial exclusion.

In the post-Covid era financial inclusion must be ensured for the economic development of communities impacted by the pandemic. In its wake there has been an increased demand for both credit facilities and for digital financial solutions that allow for services to be accessed remotely and for contactless transactions. Credit can help users meet needs for emergency cash flow shortages, food, transportation, communication and home expenses.

the fintech times newspaper Get your digital copy

the fintech times newspaper Get your digital copy

https://thefintechtimes.com/nano-credit-app-venio-launches-in-mexico/

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Reports Increase in Digital Services Adoption During COVID-19 Pandemic

https://thefintechtimes.com/abu-dhabi-islamic-bank-reports-increase-in-digital-services-adoption-during-covid-19-pandemic/

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has announced that it has seen a substantial rise in customer demand for its digital banking services in 2020. Even after the phased re-opening of the UAE economy, ADIB has continued to see strong uptake for digital services, with 75% of customers now enrolled through the bank’s digital channels.

In total, 50% of new ADIB customers have opened their accounts digitally in 2020, and there is mounting evidence that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in a fundamental shift in customer behaviour, as a remote and contactless banking experience is increasingly preferred. Today, around 94% of ADIB’s banking transactions, including fund transfers, are conducted digitally and 65% of customer updates are made through the bank’s digital channels.

The bank offers a personalised experience through its digital banking platform, with 31% of ADIB’s personal finance applications were processed completely digitally. In addition, 50% of ADIB’s card sales have been managed through a market-first virtual sales platform, allowing customers to complete their card application process without the need to visit a branch.

ADIB has also witnessed similar trends in its corporate banking segment. This year, over 80% of ADIB’s Global Transaction Banking business was generated digitally, allowing for quick and cost-effective Cash & Trade Management solutions to be conveniently delivered for the working capital needs of corporate and financial institutions.

Philip King, Global Head of Retail Banking at ADIB, said: “ADIB’s digital transformation journey, which began more than two years ago, has always been centred around our customers, ensuring that the bank’s digital solutions anticipate their needs to add lasting value to their lives. This has provided a strong foundation and enabled the bank to scale quickly to meet our customers’ changing needs amid Covid-19, a period which has seen a surge in usage for our digital offerings.

“As the pace of technological change accelerates, we are excited about the possibilities for growth and what this means for our ability to service customers. We are now determined to build on the momentum we have seen in 2020 to further enhance our digital banking offering to benefit our customers. These include the adoption of digital tools, such as chatbots, robo-advisory and digital onboarding, and increasing automation in the back-end to help with productivity and operational efficiency.”

ADIB has launched several solutions to allow customers remote access to their banking services. In recent months, the bank introduced a digital booking service, enabling customers to schedule their branch visits ahead of time through the online banking platform and mobile banking app. In addition, customers can virtually update their personal information such as their Emirates ID, Passport, and contact details without having to visit the branch.

the fintech times newspaper Get your digital copy

the fintech times newspaper Get your digital copy

https://thefintechtimes.com/abu-dhabi-islamic-bank-reports-increase-in-digital-services-adoption-during-covid-19-pandemic/

I2c joins Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program as new enablement partner

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/i2c-joins-visas-fintech-fast-track-program-as-new-enablement-partner/

I2c, a banking technology and digital payment provider, joins Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program as a new enablement partner in the U.S. Canada and CEMEA region.

As a partner i2c will help accelerate the Visa integration process and help fintechs streamline time to market and leverage Visa’s capabilities, while providing flexibility, scalability and reliability afforded by its platform.

I2c helps companies deal with multiple systems, vendors, regions, languages and time zones by operating from a single global platform. It provides an end-to-end processing suite.

Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program provides fintech startups the ability to access Visa’s growing partner network and receive guidance to get up and running.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/i2c-joins-visas-fintech-fast-track-program-as-new-enablement-partner/

Albertsons introduces contactless payment for easy checkout

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/albertsons-introduces-contactless-payment-for-easy-checkout/

Albertsons Companies Inc. has introduced Albertsons Pay, a contactless checkout experience available through its just for U loyalty app. Albertsons Pay provides shoppers with a secure and contact-free way to pay, use discounts and earn rewards, according to a press release.

Customers can choose one of two contactless pay options: Albertson’s direct, which shoppers pay through their bank, or Albertson’s Cash, which is a stored value account that can be pre-loaded and used across all of Albertson’s stores.

After setup, customers show the QR code in their just for U app at checkout to apply discounts and rewards and securely pay for their groceries.

This new contactless pay option complements existing NFC-enabled tap-to-pay options with debit and credit cards. In addition, customers can link to Apple Pay and Google Pay within the app.

The new technology is available in all Albertsons Cos. stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Star-Market, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets and Carrs.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/albertsons-introduces-contactless-payment-for-easy-checkout/

Yoyo and wiGroup Partner to Create a New Global Loyalty and Payments Company

https://thefintechtimes.com/yoyo-and-wigroup-partner-to-create-a-new-global-loyalty-and-payments-company/

Yoyo, a UK-based marketing, payments and loyalty company, and wiGroup, the South African-based mobile rewards software company have announced that they are partnering to create a global loyalty company under the Yoyo brand. The new Yoyo will service existing and new clients through its combined operations in the UK, Europe, Africa, and Australasia.

The company has raised additional primary funding from SaltPay, supported by existing investors IP Group.

The two companies each offered a variety of payment, loyalty and reward Software as a Service solutions to their clients, serving major brands like Caffe Nero, Paul, Burger King, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, and Woolworths across the UK, Europe and in South Africa. The new Yoyo will focus on high demand customer engagement and loyalty products, which drive both new customers, repeat business, and increased frequency and ticket-size to merchants.

Michael Rolph, Yoyo co-founder and CEO, said: “We saw in wiGroup many of the capabilities that customers in the UK and EMEA were asking for in addition to the products and services we already provided. In Bevan and the wiGroup team, we saw great talent, a similar culture and outstanding leadership that suggested that combining the two companies would create a best-of-breed global company.”

Core services of the new company include:

  • Yoyo Wallet: A mobile application that combines payments, ordering and loyalty to provide customers with the most rewarding buying experience at thousands of outlets across the UK.
  • Retail branded applications: Takes the power of Yoyo and white labels the solution for merchants to own the customer experience, providing them with powerful online tools to drive customer acquisition, retention and increased spend.
  • Enterprise Rewards: Provides businesses with a rewards API to issue digital gift cards to customers and employees to incentivise and reward.

“Through joining forces we’re able to leverage resource across regions, to invest behind one consolidated SaaS product, further our joint vision of delivering the world’s most rewarding buying experience and advance a global growth strategy,” said Bevan Ducasse, wiGroup. “This is particularly important in the current economic and Covid climate and we will be making several exciting product announcements in the coming months about how we can help support the SME market.

David Yates, chairman of Yoyo Wallet added: “The combination of know-how and skills brought about by the merger of Yoyo and wiGroup, together with renewed investment, enables a bright future for the company. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers with a laser-focus on improving their ‘bottom-line’ through innovation in loyalty services.”

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https://thefintechtimes.com/yoyo-and-wigroup-partner-to-create-a-new-global-loyalty-and-payments-company/

Iowa meat shop uses vending to offer 24/7 service

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/iowa-meat-shop-uses-vending-to-offer-247-service/

S&S Meats & Spirits in Osage, Iowa, has made its smoked and fresh products available 24/7 by offering a vending machine, according to a kchanews.com report.

The machine will offer fresh steaks, cheese curds, jerky, links and sticks, and accepts credit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The Main Street store plans to place in other vending machines around should demand exist. The cheese curds and beef sticks are currently the most popular items.

Picture courtesy of S&S Meats & Spirits.

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/iowa-meat-shop-uses-vending-to-offer-247-service/

Secret Double Octopus Secures Investment From Standard Chartered’s Fintech Investing Unit

https://thefintechtimes.com/secret-double-octopus-secures-investment-from-standard-chartereds-fintech-investing-unit/

Secret Double Octopus, a leader in Enterprise Passwordless Authentication, has announced that it secured a strategic investment from SC Ventures, the innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm of international banking group, Standard Chartered. SC Ventures joins a list of corporate investors in the company including Sony Financial Ventures, KDDI, and Global Brain. The parties did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Secret Double Octopus offers an innovative authentication solution which completely removes the use of passwords in business environments of any size and complexity. Its unique combination of a simple universal user experience and a stronger protection against cyber-attacks is an industry game-changer at a time of rapid workforce shifts and growing regulatory demands. The company’s product is further empowered by its partnerships with IAM giants like ForgeRock and Okta and is now serving mid-size to Fortune50 customers globally through a large network of distributors in the US, Europe and APAC.

“We are incredibly excited to have an international financial giant like Standard Chartered join us as an investor and advisor,” said Raz Rafaeli, Co-Founder and CEO of Secret Double Octopus. “This partnership demonstrates the trust our technology has gained in global organisations of the largest scale. SC Ventures is a beacon of fintech innovation, and we look forward to many years of collaboration delivering passwordless capabilities to the enterprise world.”

Alex Manson, SC Ventures, said: “The changes in the way people work and communicate today require a shift in how organisations secure their employees and clients. We are thrilled to partner with Secret Double Octopus as they transform enterprise authentication standards, helping organisations like ourselves better manage their cybersecurity risks while streamlining employee workflows. We look forward to supporting Secret Double Octopus in the next phase of its growth.”

Secret Double Octopus is the passwordless authentication solution for the enterprise. The Octopus Passwordless Enterprise technology provides a unified user experience and a consistent method for accessing workstations, remote services, cloud applications and on-prem systems, while providing stronger protection against cyber-attacks. From being named a Gartner “Cool Vendor” in 2016, Secret Double Octopus’s 4th generation platform is now serving mid-sized to Fortune 50 customers around the globe.

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https://thefintechtimes.com/secret-double-octopus-secures-investment-from-standard-chartereds-fintech-investing-unit/

PayID Launches New Updates for Developers

https://thefintechtimes.com/payid-launches-new-updates-for-developers/

PayID, a universal payment identifier, has recently launched new updates and features for the service as part of its commitment to enabling an open and inclusive future of digital payments, making PayID accessible to developers worldwide.

As digital payments continue to rise in use, it is important that end-to-end encryption and security continues to be a priority. In response to this, PayID has been updated with Verifiable PayID. This means non-custodial wallet users can now make use of a fully trustless model, so receivers no longer need to trust their provider. This has several benefits for non-custodial wallets as it de-risks the trust model of their PayID server and strengthens its defences against potential hackers.

Similar to the threat model of phishing attacks in email, a scammer can make it appear like a user is sending money to a friend or family member when in actuality it is not a secure PayID address. With Verifiable PayID, users can verify who a sender is before completing a transaction. On the receiving end, users can send a unique, secure signature through end to end encryption messaging to verify themselves as a valid PayID user. This method gives senders the confidence they need to ensure their transaction has completed securely.

PayID is an open standard that allows for interoperability between payment networks. To ensure it creates the simplest platform for crypto wallets and exchanges to enable PayID, the company have launched PayID Sandbox. PayID Sandbox provides developers with the ability to test PayID before setting up their own PayID servers. With the ability to test the solution, developers can get familiar with the technology before actually implementing it. This will also help to reduce adoption friction during the actual implementation process.

When AWS Lambda was first unveiled in 2014, it was met by an enthusiastic crowd excited to be a part of the next generation of computing. Since then, the serverless architecture market has boomed, catalysed by the growth in cloud adoption. Now with PayID AWS Lambda, more developers will have access to PayID via a standard-compliant platform, without the added cost of a setting up and managing a separate server. PayID AWS Lambda works just as the PayID server would, but this gives developers deploying less advanced or intensive deployment to implement PayID quickly and cost-effectively.

Earlier this year, Ripple joined global companies and nonprofits as a member of the Open Payments Coalition to launch PayID, a universal payment identifier consumers can use to simplify the process of sending and receiving money globally, across any payment network and currency. It enables payments to work like email, where a user has an email address (or identifier) that works across any service (like Gmail or Hotmail, etc.)  PayID has the potential to reach 125 million consumers through nearly 50 members of the Open Payments Coalition which includes new partners AirTM, Atomic and CoinPayments.

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This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 20/10

https://thefintechtimes.com/this-week-in-fintech-tft-bi-weekly-news-roundup-20-10/

The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest international fintech stories on Tuesday 20 October. The DIFC Authority unveils its new board, while Stripe acquires Paystack.

Funding and investments

Ecommerce funding platform Wayflyer secures $10.2million in seed funding in order to support the company’s global growth ambitions. In addition, it will also further develop its proprietary technology.

Archax

Archax

Archax celebrates funding success

While, Archax successfully closes overfunded seed raise in preparation for exchange launch. The first FCA-regulated digital securities exchange initially targeted $5million but has secured $8million to date. The most recent VC firms to invest include, Alameda Research, Amnis Ventures, Bridgetower Capital, CoinFund, Edge196, Hudson Capital, QBN Capital and 7percent Ventures.

Full-stack financial solutions company Razorpay has raised $100million in its Series D round of funding. Razorpay plans to use the new funding to further strengthen and accelerate its two new product lines, as well as invest in new initiatives to empower SMEs.

Currency exchange Ripple has contributed $10million to Mercy Corps as part of a commitment to achieving global financial inclusion, and increasing economic empowerment. The contribution will also support the launch of the FinX system by the humanitarian aid non-profit, aimed at the un- and underbanked populations.

On the move

Personio hires Transferwise’s Ross Seychell as Chief People Officer

Personio hires Transferwise’s Ross Seychell as Chief People Officer

Personio hires Transferwise’s Ross Seychell as Chief People Officer

B2B payment network Veem has expanded its leadership team with Travis Green and Jeff Revoy. As vice president of product management, Green will lead the development of domestic and cross-border payment and financial tools. As chief business officer, Revoy will drive revenue and network value, in addition to boosting Veem’s growth as it expands to new markets.

Personio, the HR platform for SMEs, hires Ross Seychell as chief people officer in order to continue its rapid growth. Seychell joins from fintech Transferwise and follows the appointment of Geraldine MacCarthy as CRO and Birgit Haderer as CFO.

Airwallex hires tech veteran and venture capitalist Jed Rose as new EMEA general manager. Rose, who also joins the fintech’s global leadership team, will hire more than 50 new talent in Europe by 2021.

Financial services firm Kneip has appointed Nick Yeates as chief financial officer, replacing Ken Sommer. Prior to his new role at Kneip, Nick was the group CFO at Akinova, the electronic marketplace for insurance risk.

Cross-border payments network Thunes has hired Tamer El-Emary as its new chief operating officer. El-Emary will lead the sales, marketing, global network partnerships from Thunes’ London office, as well as it customer success functions.

Payment app BharatPe has promoted Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl to chief operating officer with immediate effect. Duruv joined the company in January 2020 as head of operations. Prior to this, Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl was chief business officer at automotive insurtech Roadzen.

Finally, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai International Financial Centre, has appointed the authority’s board of directors for a two-year term. Essa Kazim continues as chair and is joined by six new members.

Collaborations and acquisitions

Jumbo Electronics adopts smart payment solutions from PayBy

Jumbo Electronics adopts smart payment solutions from PayBy

Jumbo Electronics adopts smart payment solutions from PayBy

Stripe has acquired the Lagos-founded, African payments platform Paystack. The acquisition, says Stripe, will give Paystack resources to develop new products, support more businesses and consolidate the hyper-fragmented African payments market. The purchase – rumoured to be at more than $200million – is subject to standard closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Jumbo Electronics, the UAE consumer electronics retailer, has hooked up with fintech PayBy to meet the ‘growing consumer demand’ for contactless payments. , PayBy point of sale solutions are now available at all Jumbo Electronics stores across the region.

UK payments fintech Ordo has unveiled a strategic distribution partnership with e-money platform Contis. As well as bringing instant remittances and automatic reconciliation to businesses and account holders, Ordo says it will make Contis accounts quicker and simpler.

With this partnership, we have the potential to enhance payments capabilities for over 800,000 accounts and counting!

Peter Co0x, CEO and founder, Contis

Insurtech Zego partners with taxi app FREE NOW as it looks to disrupt Ireland’s taxi insurance market. Zego’s taxi policy will be available to 14,000 taxi drivers using FREE NOW in Ireland, including its annual and 30-day policies.

Neobroker BUX and enterprise connectivity platform Yapily have joined forces to ‘deliver seamless, real-time funding options for all German BUX users’. Following the partnership, BUX Zero customers can make deposits to their accounts from within their mobile banking app.

Announcements and launches

Crypto platform Luno has unveiled the Bitcoin Savings Wallet that lets users earn up to four per cent interest while using Bitcoin as a day-to-day payment method. According to Lunco, 95 per cent of its customers have said they want to earn interest on their Bitcoins.

Moneyhub launches API to help fintech innovators simplify tax returns for landlords. The open finance platform says the API will help landlords easily categorise transactions on the platform that relate to their property. Moneyhub also recently launched ‘Transaction Attachment’ for easy upload, and storage of transactions.

Word processing project platform SMASHDOCs has a new solution for contract drafting projects. Draft contracts are stored online and every action is automatically logged and audit-proof. Negotiations with other stakeholders can also be conducted online via the platform.

Invoice financing and transaction company Crowdz has partnered with Trade Finance Market to introduce a fraud-detection application for SMEs. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Crowdz has experienced 5,000 per cent growth in business users. CEO and co-founder of Crowdz, Payson Johnston, said the rapid increase in demand for financing meant the company would also need to bolster its ability to reduce the risk for funders.

https://thefintechtimes.com/this-week-in-fintech-tft-bi-weekly-news-roundup-20-10/

Open Banking Expo Digifest Coming Soon to Your Desktop Theatre

https://thefintechtimes.com/open-banking-expo-digifest-coming-soon-to-your-desktop-theatre/

Open Banking Expo launches its Digifest virtual event from 24th to 26th November 2020. The newest event in the Open Banking Expo portfolio continues to deliver game-changing content delivered direct to a senior digital transformation audience across financial services and beyond.

The agenda featuring more than 60 speakers and 40 sessions is now live, with free and premium access passes available.

The programme offers content and speakers delegates have never seen or heard before, alongside Open Banking’s renowned innovators, disruptors and visionaries who are pushing the boundaries to achieve Open Finance and ultimately, Open Life.

Prominent news anchor Natasha Kaplinsky OBE is geared up to interview several industry stalwarts, including Open Banking Implementation Entity’s Imran Gulamhuseinwala, the Financial Conduct Authority’s Alex Roy, Chief Operating Officer at Monzo, Sujata Bhatia and former Revolut Exec and newly appointed Chief Executive Officer at Allica Bank, Richard Davies.

Global fintech influencer Dr Ruth Wandhöfer is Open Banking Expo Kitchen Live’s first guest. Whilst cooking up a three-course meal, the Suited Chef will uncover Ruth’s secrets for success and her predictions for the future, with some food chat in between!

The virtual show offers a catalogue of powerhouse debates featuring C-Level heavyweights from across the banking and fintech eco-system. Speakers across the three days include:

  • Marion King, Director of Payments, RBS Group
  • Benoît Legrand, Chief Innovation Officer, ING
  • Fergus Murphy, Group Personal Banking Director, Virgin Money
  • Nathalie Oestmann, Chief Operating Officer, Curve
  • Oliver Prill, Chief Executive Officer, Tide
  • Felim O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, Starling
  • Maha El Dimachki, Chief Payments Officer, UK
  • Mark Buitenhek, Global Head of Transaction Services, ING
  • Christophe Rieche, Chief Executive Officer, iwoca
  • Tanja Imamovic, Open Banking Lead, Group Strategy & Innovation, Raiffeisen Bank International
  • Michiel Bijlsma, Head of Payments, DNB Dutch Central Bank
  • Fiona Bradshaw, Head of Innovation – Global Payments, HSBC
  • Gregg Carnaffan, Head of Transformation, M&S Bank
  • Chris Higham, Head of Open Banking, Virgin Money
  • Ed Maslaveckas, Chief Executive Officer, Bud

Once again the event is headlined by OpenWrks and this year they are also joined by FICO.

Steve Bradford, Chief Commercial Officer at OpenWrks said: “We’re excited to be co-sponsoring this year’s Open Banking Expo with our friend and partner FICO. Over the last six months alone, we have seen Open Banking users double to two million. While this is a time of crisis, it’s also clear that it’s the catalyst necessary to encourage people to understand what they can afford to save, invest, borrow and repay, using the power of Open Banking.

“At OpenWrks, we’re proud to pioneer applications and partnerships that focus on helping consumers do exactly that and The Open Banking Expo brings together the people and businesses that are leading from the forefront and pushing Open Banking to its full potential.” 

“Better data fuels better decisions, which is why we’re excited about Open Banking and this event”, said Steve Hadaway, Vice-President & Managing Director, EMEA at FICO. “We see tremendous potential in applying AI and machine learning analytics to Open Banking data to improve decisions on affordability, collections, risk management and other areas. This is the focus of our partnership with OpenWrks.”

Co-founder of Open Banking Expo, Adam Cox added: “It is fantastic to have the support of both OpenWrks and FICO along with all of our other partners on our virtual journey. We’ve worked hard to curate a not-to-missed agenda that will attract an audience far and wide. Digital knows no boundaries and we’re looking forward to delivering an immersive experience to reflect the huge amount of innovation and goodwill the industry has shown this year.”

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  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/open-banking-expo-digifest-coming-soon-to-your-desktop-theatre/

Bloomberg and Excel resilience

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/10/20/bloomberg-and-excel-resilience/

Efi Pylarinou is the founder of Efi Pylarinou Advisory and a Fintech/Blockchain influencer – No.3 influencer in the finance sector by Refinitiv Global Social Media 2019. 

Soon it will be thirty years since I started working on Wall Street – 7 WTC, 37th floor, Salomon Brothers, Fixed income derivatives department.

Scary but true. Bloomberg terminals and excel spreadsheets were then the basics. The Salomon Brothers culture and entity has been completely absorbed and has disappeared. I have become a thought leader and influencer in Fintech. Bloomberg and Excel have yet to be disrupted.

Bloomberg is strictly a wholesale finance tool, business. Excel is a tool for both retail and businesses.

We all know that Bloomberg could be replicated with one tenth of the cost (figure referenced by Marc Rubinstein) but it has not happened. Every accelerator and VC, will advise against spending resources to put together the next generation of Bloomberg. It remains private, the anti-thesis of open source, and with no sign of `pay as you go` pricing. Surveys show that most users in the investment, financial world, use a very small part of the $20+k services. And yet, there is no pressure to move to `pay as you go`.

The strong social network (a kind of a boys club) remains intact.

Slack (a public company valued at $18billion and c. x12+ forward revenues) with its business subscription pricing model, could be viewed as overlapping with the core messaging Bloomberg business. However, it does not have any of the data, analytics powers for the financial world, accessible easily like Bloomberg.

Symphony, the private secure messaging Fintech, is much closer to the Bloomberg social network offering. It has raised $461million in funding and the latest valuation figures (2019) were $1.4billion.

Bloomberg`s revenues remain stable around $10billion (over the past 3 years). It seems that they continuously find ways to enhance their offering and keep the network `loyal`.

Now let’s take a look at the Microsoft Excel dinosaur, a much broader and ubiquitous tool that has given birth to a mess of digital copies in businesses and ecosystems. Despite the competition and innovation at the app layer from several tech companies, Excel remains in tact. There are actually more businesses facilitating Excel integrations in workflows (e.g. Zapier, AirBoxr) than ventures aiming to disrupt Excel`s positioning. There are even more innovative tools built on top of Excel.

An example is the newly launched of Money in Excel, which is a move to solidify Excel`s stickiness at the retail level in the finances sector. A partnership with Plaid`s API, and with an add-on, users with MSFT subscriptions can monitor spending and investments on their desktop. (details here)

Another powerful one is the OpenApps add-on, which enables users to build apps and dashboard with no coding. It allows linking various excel sheets.

The closest Excel competitor is Google Sheets (especially at the retail level but also at the business level). Several of the innovative tools built on Excel are also built on Google sheets (like the Open Apps and more, The 20 Most Innovative Tools for Excel and Google Sheets )

The latest Google Sheets integration (in private bets testing mode) is with the OpenAI technology GPT3. The user provides a few (3-4) examples of text or numeric information and then =GPT3( ) fills in the rest. I am mesmerized by this function. It is one and only one function that can search, do research (data and language) and write text.

Fintech & Techfin innovation seems to have made some of the ubiquitous tech tools, even more resilient. Bloomberg and Excel, are two different and distinct examples of this. Bloomberg was-is a narrowly focused business (wholesale financial level) that has strengthened its social network stickiness, data power and analytics. Excel & Google Sheets are further permeating into our lives, with continuous add-on innovations.

This post was inspired by watching the video snippet of GPT3 on Google sheets.

As I reflect on all the above, the question arises whether Microsoft or Google will buy Bloomberg one day. Microsoft teamed up with OpenAI in September and signed an exclusive licensing agreement with them for GPT3. I assume that soon we will be seeing GPT3 capabilties on the Azure platform.

`GPT-3 model – an autoregressive language model that outputs remarkably human-like text. GPT-3 is the largest and most advanced language model in the world, clocking in at 175 billion parameters, and is trained on Azure’s AI supercomputer._` excerpt form the MSFT announcement.

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https://dailyfintech.com/2020/10/20/bloomberg-and-excel-resilience/

AIM Digital Launched by UAE Ministry of Economy and the Annual Investment Meeting

https://thefintechtimes.com/aim-digital-launched-by-uae-ministry-of-economy-and-the-annual-investment-meeting/

Industry’s Greatest Minds to Discuss “Reimagining Economies: The Move Towards a Digital, Sustainable and Resilient Future at AIM Digital 2020 Conference.

More than 300 Speakers are on the line up at the largest virtual conference including High-Level Officials such as H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Republic of Tatarstan; H.E. Juri Ratas, Prime Minister of Republic of Estonia; H.E. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and H.E. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

AIM Digital, the first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting, will convene the greatest minds in the industry from all over the world in an interactive virtual platform to share their in-depth insights that will shape the future of global economy at the AIM Digital 2020 Conference, the largest and the most prestigious conference in the global investment community.

As the world’s largest and the most dynamic investment-generation virtual platform, AIM Digital, scheduled from the 20th to 22nd of October 2020, will convene more than 300 speakers from across the world to share their expertise, best practices, and valuable investment strategies throughout 40 sessions filled with in depth-discussions that revolve around the six pillars of AIM Digital, namely: Foreign Direct Investment, Foreign Portfolio Investment, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Startups, Future Cities, and One Belt, One Road.

The AIM Digital 2020 Conference will be participated by the greatest minds in the industry such as the heads of state, key policymakers, institutional and non-institutional investors, heads of international institutions, political economists, academia, technology leaders, and key experts to identify risks, challenges, and opportunities in the global economic landscape and provide solutions and strategies towards economic recovery and transformation.  

“This is one of the major events under the first-ever digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting that is highly anticipated by our participants from over 170 countries. This serves as a highly effective platform where expert insights and best practices are shared with the global investment community, where relevant strategies towards economic growth and sustainability are explored, and where the latest investment trends and opportunities are discovered” stated Mr. Dawood Al Shezawi, the Head of the Organizing Committee of the Annual Investment Meeting. 

One of the most highly anticipated events in the AIM Digital Conference 2020 is the participation of several high-level officials from across the world such as H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Republic of Tatarstan; H.E. Juri Ratas, Prime Minister of Republic of Estonia; H.E. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and H.E. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, among others.

In addition, the newly appointed UAE Ministers under the new government structure will also take part as speakers this year. HE Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, will deliver the opening remarks at the AIM Digital 2020 Opening Ceremony underlining this year’s theme “Reimagining Economies: The Move Towards a Digital, Sustainable and Resilient Future.” HE Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State of Foreign Trade, will be the keynote speaker for FDI Pillar Session 2 entitled “Ministers Roundtable: Adapting to the New Flow of Trade and Investment” wherein Ministers along with international organizations will discuss the crucial steps that different countries must take to ensure the free flow of trade & investment, build a resilient supply chain, and develop policies to encourage foreign investment within their respective countries. 

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, will be the keynote speaker for SME Pillar Session 1, “Navigate Policy Decisions Beyond the Turbulent Times” that will discuss the regulatory evolution to improve the business environment for SMEs and will explore the qualities of good policy-making, approaches to longer-term strategic planning, stakeholder consultation and co-responsibility with residents and businesses.

“The AIM Digital 2020 Conference serves as a symbol of our unity and cooperation with the UAE government to fulfill the mission of providing opportunities to different sectors to attain economic growth and diversification. This also serves as a symbol of our commitment to promote the United Arab Emirates as an attractive investment destination and highlight different initiatives, policy measures, and strategies that are actively being undertaken by the UAE leadership in order to increase opportunities for development and innovation,” mentioned Mr. Al Shezawi

The conference will be highly instrumental in addressing the challenges of the pandemic, finding innovative solutions to be resilient, and create new avenues for development. This is also an excellent medium to know the global economic outlook for the post-COVID-19 world and beyond, from the leading investment experts and specialists in order to fully prepare us for the future,” Mr. Al Shezawi added. 

The first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting has received huge support from reputable local and international organisations, its esteemed partners and sponsors, which share the mutual vision of promoting the UAE’s status as a global investment hub and uplifting the condition of the global economy as a whole; namely: UAE International Investors Council, Saud Bahwan Group, Etisalat, National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises and Projects, Sustainable City, Saeed Sharjah Investors Service Centre, Invest in Sharjah, and ECOWAS Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Etihad Credit Insurance, Hamdan Centre for the Future of Investment (HCFI), Dubai FDI, African Reinsurance Corporation, Internet Society of China – ISC, China Internet Partner, Dubai Land Department, Audi-Al Naboodah, Aramex, and its virtual venue, Events10X.

As the very first digital edition of the Annual Investment Meeting, AIM Digital will make use of the latest technology to offer new investment opportunities across diverse sectors with the ultimate aim of achieving economic recovery, transformation, and sustainability. The three-day digital event happening in a secured digital environment will serve as a virtual gateway to the local, regional, and global capital markets that will help establish investment partnerships, collaboration, and mutually beneficial agreements to significantly boost economic productivity and growth. 

For more information on AIM Digital, visit www.aimcongress.com

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/aim-digital-launched-by-uae-ministry-of-economy-and-the-annual-investment-meeting/