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Emirates NBD seeks metaverse start-ups to change banking

Emirates NBD seeks metaverse start-ups to change banking

Together with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Fintech Hive, the largest financial technology hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, and Microsoft, Emirates NBD, a banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey) region, has launched a global accelerator program for metaverse start-ups to improve the customer experience for the new virtual economy.

Since this is Emirates NBD’s first venture into the metaverse, the accelerator program sets the bank up to be a leader in the next stage of banking innovation. This is in line with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to make Dubai one of the top ten metaverse economies in the world by 2030, create over 40,000 virtual jobs, and boost Dubai’s economy by $4 billion over the next five years.

Since 94% of all financial transactions and questions are now handled outside of branches, banks are looking into the new technologies available in the Web 3.0 era to increase their digital footprint and give their customers more immersive experiences.

If Emirates NBD wants to improve its virtual presence in three key areas—allowing customers to create, monetize, buy, and sell digital assets and services; creating virtual worlds to improve the customer experience in the metaverse; and building the technology stack to make the shift to 3D possible—it needs to partner with leading FinTechs, digital experience start-ups, and emerging technology players operating across the metaverse.

During a ten-week acceleration program, the DIFC Fintech Hive will evaluate Emirates NBD and pair it with top startups that have unique ideas about creating value, improving the customer experience, and building the technology stack needed for the metaverse. During GITEX, there will be a “demo day,” where the finalists will show off their ideas in the hopes of being chosen to work with us to make new, exciting things for our clients.

Marwan Hadi, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking at Emirates NBD, said that if Dubai wants to be a world leader in the metaverse, it needs to attract creative start-ups. As a regional leader in banking, Emirates NBD has always been on the cutting edge of digital innovation, looking for new ways to do things and partnering with new, innovative tech companies to speed up the bank’s transformation and improve customer service. We think that the new metaverse economy gives us a chance to rethink financial services in light of expanded reality and come up with exciting new ways to help our customers.

Miguel Rio Tinto, the Group Chief Information Officer at Emirates NBD, said, “As a Bank that has always been at the forefront of adopting emerging technologies, see unique opportunity areas to reimagine financial services including virtualising interactions with customers and providing financial services to the creator economy by enabling new products and marketplaces. With the support of the DIFC FinTech Hive and Microsoft, Emirates NBD is looking forward to becoming a launchpad of innovative financial services in the metaverse, playing an active role in co-creating new experiences for our customers with innovative start-ups from around the world.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Emirates NBD to launch the global accelerator programme for metaverse start-ups, which are growing rapidly and witnessing increasing interest from around the world. This step reaffirms our commitment to support Dubai’s ambition to be among the top ten metaverse economies in the world. At DIFC FinTech Hive, we continue to adopt latest technologies to keep pace with the rising momentum in the global digital space.”

“In the metaverse, where physical and digital worlds come together to create an entirely new platform layer, we have an exciting opportunity to create transformative solutions that completely revolutionize the journeys and experiences of consumers” said Naim Yazbeck, General Manager at Microsoft UAE. “Innovative tech start-ups play a crucial role in this reimagining, bringing creative, unique viewpoints to the design of an entirely new world. We recognize the impact that startups can deliver when they are armed with next-generation technologies that bring their ideas to life, and we look forward to working with these innovators and helping them to realize this potential over the course of the programme.”

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