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Start a fintech company in Dubai [Costs and Requirements]

The fintech industry has exploded in the past few years and it shows no signs of slowing down. According to Statistica, global digital payments are projected to grow to USD 8.26trn by 2024, up from USD 4trn in 2022 – and Dubai is at the forefront of Fintech development on the global stage. If you’re considering starting a fintech company in Dubai, you’ll want to know all about the process, costs and requirements for setting up in the UAE. In this article, we will explore the following topics:

  • An overview of the fintech industry in the UAE
  • Benefits of starting a fintech company in Dubai, UAE
  • Steps to obtain a fintech company licence in Dubai
  • How to scale your fintech company
  • Cost of starting a fintech company in Dubai
  • What is Dtec?

An overview of the fintech industry in the UAE

Fintech is one of the fastest-growing industries in the UAE. By the end of the year, more than 800 fintech companies operating in the Middle East are projected to raise more than USD 2bn in venture capital.

Unsurprisingly, the region has seen an influx in fintech startups, new funding and support for existing and new ventures. The UAE is now home to 33 of the region’s most funded startups. In Q1, Dubai-based NOW Money received USD 7mn in funding to grow their UAE-based operations further. BNPL startup Tabby closed a USD 50m round of funding in August.

As demand for financial technology in the region rises, opportunities are opening up for savvy tech entrepreneurs.

Benefits of starting a fintech company in Dubai, UAE

 As well as undergoing rapid expansion, Dubai offers numerous benefits to entrepreneurs, including:

Tax savings

Fintech business owners can push their profits further thanks to Dubai’s famously competitive tax regime. Business owners who are living in Dubai do not need to pay personal tax or capital gains. As of January 2022, companies earning over AED 375,000 in annual taxable profits pay a 9% corporate tax rate, but nothing if they earn less than this.

100% foreign ownership

Foreign business owners can enjoy 100% business ownership in certain economic free zones across Dubai, including Dtec. Business owners also face no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital and profit repatriation.

Digital-first infrastructure

The UAE is committed to rapidly adopting emerging technologies. Dubai aims to become the first blockchain-powered city, with 50% of financial transactions occurring through blockchain.

Top tech talent

Dubai is home to some of the world’s top tech talent, thanks to the strength of the fintech sector, supportive legislation and high-quality lifestyle. In fact, Dubai ranks among the top global hubs for talent and innovation.

Government support

The government has embarked on several initiatives designed to bolster this specific sub-sector, from the ‘Fintech Strategy 2021’ to establishing Dubai Smart City to the ten-year visa.

Steps to obtain a fintech company licence in Dubai

Setting up a fintech company in Dubai might be easier than you think, but for those who are not familiar with local regulations and legislation, it can be a real headache. Obtaining your company licence is essential. We have broken down the process into three simple steps to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Step 1: Naming your business

The first step involves choosing and submitting an appropriate company name to the authorities. Dubai has strict naming conventions in place, so you should make sure to choose a name that aligns with these rules. For instance, you will need to ensure your company name cannot be interpreted as offensive or blasphemous. You should also make sure your company name is not already registered.

Step 2: Submitting your documents

Once you have submitted your name, you will need to supply the required documents to the authorities. Dtec can manage this part of the process to ensure all of your documents are in order, which includes:

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your Emirates ID
  • An application form

Step 3: Applying for your visa

Once you have your licence, you will need to apply for a visa. Once again, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents to the authorities. However, if you plan to set up your fintech business in a free zone like Dtec, a company formation service can take care of this.

How to scale your fintech company

If you’re just thinking about starting up your fintech business, the chances are that you are not yet considering how to scale it. But you should be. Choosing a location that is equipped to help you scale should be a crucial factor in your decision process. 

Increase your resources

Scaling doesn’t just require financial support, but man-hours too. Ensure you build new potential partners and services, as well as new talent, into your budget strategy and business plan.

Focus on existing customers, as well as acquiring new ones

Acquisition is important, but not at the cost of your current clients. New clients can cost up to 20 times as much as retaining existing clients. Keep existing users happy with personalised products and services, loyalty-based programs, and portfolio expansion opportunities.

Embrace automation

Automation has come a long way in the past few years, particularly in Dubai. Building automation, whether that’s a good CRM software or data management, will help you optimise operations.

Cost of starting a fintech company in Dubai

The cost of starting a fintech company in Dubai can vary considerably, depending on a whole range of factors. Visa allocation, the size of your business, the number of shareholders, office and warehouse space, and other factors can have a significant impact on costs.

For the most part, free zones offer the most affordable startup costs, though these differ from place to place.

Dtec offers some of the most affordable packages in the UAE, easily tailored to suit your specific needs. Our flexi desk package, which includes a service licence, workspace in a common area and eligibility for two visas, starts at just AED 18,000. If you’re looking for a fixed desk, prices start at AED 24,200 or AED 47,820 for a fully furnished private office.

For a more accurate idea of the costs of setting up a fintech company in Dubai, get in touch with our friendly business advisors, who will be happy to provide a bespoke quote.

What is Dtec?

 Dtec is the largest technology innovation hub in the MENA region. Our 10,000 sqm complete startup ecosystem is home to hundreds of startups, SMEs and tech entrepreneurs from across the globe. We have helped thousands of entrepreneurs make their way in Dubai and we know how to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.

At Dtec, our customers can tap into a wide range of benefits, including 24/7 access, high-speed WiFi, a wide range of meeting and event spaces and comfortable flexi and permanent office spaces. Other benefits include 100% business ownership, visa processing, accelerator programs and networking events to help you start and scale your business faster.

Interested in setting up a fintech company in Dubai? Dtec is here to help you navigate your way through the process and turn your business dream into a reality. Get in touch with our business advisors to find out more.