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Emirates NBD launches global call for metaverse start-ups


Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) region, has launched a global accelerator programme for metaverse start-ups to enhance customer experience for the new virtual economy.

The program has been started in partnership 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 powered by technology provider Microsoft.

Marking Emirates NBD’s first play in the metaverse, the accelerator programme positions the bank as a leader in the next phase of banking innovation in alignment with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy aimed at placing Dubai in the top ten metaverse economies of the world, supporting more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and adding USD4 billion to Dubai’s economy in five years.

With 94% of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside the branches, the bank is exploring new technologies in the web 3.0 world to expand its digital footprint and create immersive experiences for our customers.

Emirates NBD is scouting for leading FinTech’s, digital experience start-ups and emerging technology players operating across the metaverse landscape to enhance its immersion in the virtual world across three key areas: building the technology stack to facilitate the shift to 3D, creating virtual worlds to augment the customer experience in the metaverse and enabling a decentralised payment infrastructure for customers to create, monetise, buy and sell digital assets and services.

Over a ten-week acceleration programme, the DIFC Fintech Hive will evaluate and match Emirates NBD with leading start-ups offering unique propositions on the value creation, experience and technology stack required for the metaverse. This will culminate in a demo day at GITEX where the shortlisted participants will pitch their solutions for an opportunity to co-create engaging experiences for our customers in the new reality.

Commenting on the launch, Marwan Hadi, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking at Emirates NBD said: “Attracting innovative start-ups is crucial to Dubai’s ambition to be an international leader in the metaverse. As a leader in the region’s banking sector, Emirates NBD has always been a front-runner of digital innovation, looking to experiment and partner with tech start-ups who can help us accelerate our transformation journey and develop solutions that optimise customer experience. With our entry into the metaverse, we seek to reimagine financial services using extended reality and create compelling new propositions for our customers in the new metaverse economy.”

Miguel Rio Tinto, 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.”

Raja Al Mazrouei, Executive Vice President of DIFC FinTech Hive, said: “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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