UAE FinTech Mamo secures DFSA approval to operate from DIFC

Regulatory greenlight will allow the start-up to expand its products and services

The Gate building at the DIFC. Mamo will carry out regulated money services from the emirate's financial centre. Bloomberg
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Mamo, a UAE-based FinTech and financial services platform for small and medium enterprises, has received a licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to set up operations within the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The regulatory nod to operate from the emirate’s financial centre, one of the top in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, will allow Mamo to carry out regulated money services and further expand its products and services without user restrictions, the company said on Monday.

The approval by the DFSA, the independent regulator of DIFC, follows its move to allow Mamo to operate within its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) programme in June 2021, which enabled the company to function in a controlled regulatory environment to test its business model.

“What makes this announcement significant is the diligent work by Mamo to successfully exit the ITL Programme and receive authorised firm status,” the company said.

Mamo is among companies that has grown rapidly amid the exponential growth of the start-up sector in the Mena region over the past few years as entrepreneurs use innovation to address consumer needs.

The growth of the start-up sector has accelerated in tandem with the increase in digitisation in key sectors such as finance, retail, services, e-commerce and government services.

Venture capital funding for start-ups in the Mena region rose by 20 per cent annually to more than $2.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, putting it on track to potentially surpass the total investments attracted in 2021, according to a Magnitt study earlier this month.

The development of the start-up environment, particularly in FinTech, is a top priority for financial centres across the region that have launched numerous programmes to hasten the pace of their expansion.

Mamo raised $8 million for expansion in May 2021 in a funding round led by UAE-based venture capital company Global Ventures. It currently offers Mamo Pay for Business, which is aimed at SMEs, and Mamo Pay, a peer-to-peer wallet for consumers.

“We have built a financial services platform that enables both SMEs and consumers to move money faster, more efficiently and more securely in the UAE,” said Imad Gharazeddine, chief executive and co-founder of Mamo.

The DFSA licence “marks a crucial milestone for our business and a major inflection point in our growth trajectory”, he said.

The DIFC is one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments that will enable it to further expand SME-focused services and products for smaller businesses, the company said.

The DIFC has worked closely with the DFSA on the UAE’s “first comprehensive money services regime” and the financial centre will continue to help Mamo and other FinTech companies grow by “harnessing opportunities in the region”, said DIFC Authority chief executive Arif Amiri.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 8:21 AM