Tag: fintech startup

Missing 10 years of your child’s life; is it worth it?

  |   By  |  0 Comments

Nasir emigrated to Dubai from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a scenic area of northern Pakistan which is surrounded by snow tipped mountains and greenery. He made the decision to come to Dubai after his older brother told him that there are many opportunities for employment, and also many other Pakistanis.

After arriving in Dubai, he found a job as a gardener for a landscaping company which caters to one of the many gated communities in Dubai. This was in 2008, and since then he has been back to see his family four times. Nasir talks fondly about his three sons who are back in Pakistan, and is always amazed by much they grow in between his visits. His eldest son is now eighteen years old and is also looking to come to Dubai soon.

Nasir works nine hours a day, six days a week and moves from house-to-house using his bicycle. He lives in company-owned accommodation where he shares a room with one other gardener of similar background.  At the beginning and end of each day the company bus transports Nasir and the other gardeners to and from their accommodation in Al Quoz.

In general Nasir enjoys working in Dubai, especially in the winter. During the summer his hours are decreased and he longs for Friday – his day off. He spends his day off at the Mosque, followed by the cafeteria near his accommodation.

Almost all of his monthly salary is sent back to his family and he survives on as little as he can in Dubai. Like many migrants in the UAE, he does not have a bank account. Nasir’s dream is to start a modest car sales business and bring his whole family to Dubai. One day, he hopes to save enough money to move back and live comfortably in Pakistan – although with his current banking situation, or lack thereof, he has scepticism as to whether he will achieve this.

Written by Emaad Alvi.

4 reasons to meet us at RegTech MENA

  |   By  |  One Comment

We have a confession: we love to scan.

Any kind of ID document; you have it, we want to scan it.

The NOW Money team have been geeking out over customer onboarding over the past few months, and the conversation in the office rarely steers from what’s come to be known as “scan chat”.

Ben Walton, NOW’s Technical lead, has been working tirelessly, testing different techniques to find the crème de la crème of compliance and biometric security. He’s scanned Co-founder, Ian Dillon’s passport so many times we think he’s now been put on a warning list. There’s been hours of fun testing comparisons such as a female’s ID photograph against a male selfie.

“Do I REALLY look 12% like a man?”

All in the name of onboarding security.

When we were invited to the RegTech conference in Bahrain on 22nd and 23rd November we jumped at the chance to get involved in the conversation in the region. Ben even moved his flights forward for Bahrain 70.3 triathlon, which he’s taking part in the following weekend. He’s that dedicated to RegTech.

If you’re going too, here’s 4 reason’s you should come and find us for some “scan chat”

  1. See a demo of the most advanced onboarding service in the Middle East

As one of the region’s first and most prominent FinTech companies, we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to digital onboarding. But you’ll have to see it to believe us – and we want to show you! Get in touch to arrange a meeting.

  1. Hear about cyber security from NOW Money’s Co-founder

Don’t miss Ian Dillon speaking on the subject “Cyber Security and Cyber Risk in the Age of RegTech” which is on Tuesday 21st November 21st at 11:35 AM. Put a reminder in your calendar and bring your best questions.

  1. Learn how to save time

With many companies in the region, onboarding and KYC processes can take days, weeks and even months. If any information is missing at sign-up, then the application is not progressed or refused. Our onboarding solution can verify documentation on the spot, using the latest scanning, biometric and KYC technology, saving you time making multiple trips to a branch.

  1. Discuss blockchain with people who know what blockchain is

So often you go to a conference where the speakers are throwing buzzwords around in an attempt to show they’re keeping up-to-date with industry trends. But we really do know our stuff. We are using blockchain in our onboarding solution to solve real life problems in the Middle East. We live and breathe FinTech and RegTech, so if you want to have a proper chat about the latest fashionable buzzwords, we’re your guys.

Have we convinced you? Get in touch now to arrange a meeting.

Bahrain Welcomes First Two Entrants into Regulatory Sandbox

  |   By  |  0 Comments

London based Tramonex and Dubai firm NOW Money set to expand to Bahrain as global fintech investment market hits $3.2 billion in Q1 2017

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced two entrants into its regulatory sandbox. Tramonex, a London-based forex cash management solution for businesses; and NOW Money, the Dubai-based account and remittance service for low-income workers in the GCC.

Launched in June, the Bahrain regulatory sandbox provides a virtual space for companies to test their financial technology based solutions, and is open to existing CBB licensees and other local and foreign firms. By offering firms an opportunity for expansion and innovation, the framework is expected to help boost fintech businesses around the globe and consolidate Bahrain’s position as a fintech and financial services hub.

For companies dealing in multiple currencies, Tramonex offers an efficient, quick and cheaper way of processing and transferring funds at your fingertips. The start-up focuses on facilitating conversion and settlement services to automate cross border transactions, and provides competitive services.

NOW Money is the first fintech company in the Gulf region to use mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income workers. It aims to provide access to affordable financial services for everyone.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) assisted and advised Tramonex and NOW Money in registering for the regulatory sandbox.

Khalid Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision at CBB, said: “We are pleased to welcome the first two entrants into the regulatory sandbox, in the early stages of the framework’s launch. This initiative highlights the CBB’s continuous efforts as the Kingdom’s single regulator to update and develop the fintech ecosystem and enable industry players to create innovative and forward-looking fintech products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system.”

H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of Bahrain EDB, said: “This announcement is a testament to Bahrain’s attractive investment proposition in the Gulf. Bahrain is a great testbed for innovative products in this space due to its size and easy market access to the GCC.

“The Kingdom is ready to be at the forefront of financial innovation and technology as global fintech investment reaches $3.2 billion. In addition to the development of the regulatory sandbox, we have a number of further initiatives we expect to be launched in the coming months including a venture capital fund-of-funds. We are seeing real signs of momentum in the sector and are excited by the potential it will bring.”

Earlier this year, the CBB issued the Regulatory Sandbox Framework directive, which includes the eligibility criteria, filing requirements and timeline for the process. This may be found on Bahrain Startup website (www.startup.bh) and CBB’s website on the following link: http://www.cbb.gov.bh/page-p-regulatory_sandbox_en.htm.

It’s OK to be odd!

  |   By  |  2 Comments

Since my first day at NOW Money I have felt like the odd one out, and I’ve absolutely loved it.

Belonging to an Indian community I’ve always worked with Asian bosses, which never brought me truly out of my comfort zone. But when I joined NOW, I was just one Indian amongst seven European expats.

It took me few days to get familiar with the surroundings, the people, and their way of speaking. They use words which are not often heard in my community like “reckon”, “mate”, “bizarre” and “cheers” at the end of a conversation. They are my favourite words now.

They even created a short name for me – “V”, I love it!

We’re a small team and sit together for lunch every day; we never run out of topics to talk about. They discuss what it’s like in the UK, Poland and Russia and I explain how that differs from India. We’ve discovered that our cultures and traditions are poles apart. In fact, some discoveries have led to great laughter…

Here are some of my favourite differences that we’ve discovered so far.

Rain vs. sun

Being a resident of Dubai staying away from the heat has never been an option, much to my dismay. My excitement always increases towards the end of year as the temperature drops and the fog and rain cover the city’s tall buildings. My European colleagues can’t understand my love of the colder climate as they absolutely love the bright, warm sun which is a large part of the reason they moved to Dubai!

Diwali vs. Christmas

One thing that we all have in common is our love for a party! So, I decided to show them how to celebrate Diwali and they taught me about Christmas. It was our first time celebrating each other’s occasions, which made it really exciting! For Diwali we all dressed in traditional Indian outfits, ate a lot of food and played some traditional games. It was such a joy to organise the event for the team and teach them about my culture.

On the other hand, as Christmas came closer we celebrated with crackers, followed the tradition of wearing the funny paper hats, exchanged Secret Santa gifts and played festive games. It was so much fun and by the end of the day I knew all about Santa, Rudolph and charades (wow, it gets noisy!).

Three day vs. one day wedding

I can’t even count the number of discussions we have had about weddings. I have learnt that usually English weddings are a one day event, whist most Indian weddings are three day extravaganza days filled with rituals, functions and loud music! My team is always ready to lend ears when I talk about my upcoming family weddings. It’s one of our favourite topics we then compare between the two traditions!

Tiffin vs. tiffin

The word tiffin is a most commonly used amongst the Indian community in reference to a lunchbox. So, one day over lunch, I told my colleague “wait for me, let me grab my tiffin”. As soon as I told her she had a big smile on her face. I returned with my lunch box she asked “where’s the tiffin?”.  I showed her my lunch box. She stared at me and with a confused look on her face and asked “that’s a tiffin?”.

I soon found out tiffin in the UK referred to an extremely chocolatey and delicious dessert. No wonder she was so disappointed with my lunchbox!

Gulab Jamun vs. wet tennis balls

Gulab Jamun is a very well-known Indian dessert made up of powdered milk kneaded and moulded into balls, fried and dropped into simmering sugar syrup, and is served hot during most traditional events. It’s very well known amongst my team as “wet sugary tennis balls”!

Dahi puri vs. hollow ball with toppings

Dahi Puri is a popular evening snack, which, despite now being one of their favourite savoury Indian snacks, has also become known as “a hollow ball with some yogurt and pomegranate”.

Lunch sessions

Every day over lunch, the team discuss the different ingredients in each other’s salads to gain inspiration. Then they turn to me and ask, “What have you got there, V?”, I can tell you it’s never a salad!

I remember very clearly the day they tried my mum’s handmade Indian paratha for the first time!

In spite of all these differences in cultures, traditions, beliefs and food etc., I feel grateful to be surrounded by such amazing people. Everyone is so adaptable and open to learning, teaching and helping each other out, which is all fundamental to start-up life! I’m so proud to be the odd one out, and, as they say, variety is the spice of life!

NOW Money wins Chivas Regal’s social start-up competition

  |   By  |  0 Comments

NOW Money has won the Gulf regional final of Chivas The Venture, a global search to find and support the next generation of start-ups that want to succeed while creating a better future for society, after both co-founders, Ian Dillon and Katharine Budd, presented a winning pitch to a panel of five judges.

The competition, which was hosted at the Marina Social, Intercontinental Dubai Marina in Dubai on 18th January 2017, invited four social start-up enterprises to pitch their business and the positive social impact it will have on society.

NOW was selected as the winner based not only on its ability to improve the lives of 26 million low-income migrant workers in the GCC countries by including them in the financial system, but it’s on its scalability too. The judges were impressed that NOW can provide the opportunity to create an inclusive financial ecosystem on a national, regional and global level and also combat financial crime.

NOW will represent The Gulf in the upcoming Chivas The Venture global final in Los Angeles in July 2017. The 30 finalists from across six continents will have a chance to pitch for a share of a $1 million fund in front of an expert panel of judges who are looking for businesses that can offer scalable and sustainable solutions to real world issues.

The company has also won a place at Chivas The Venture’s Accelerator Week, in Oxford, UK, where they will receive world-class mentorship and support in preparation for the global final of the competition.

“We are so proud to have been part of this competition which recognises companies who strive to create social change, and to win the Gulf regional final is just fantastic”, said Mr Dillon. “It’s been such a journey to get to this stage, and we’re looking forward to the next six months as part of The Venture programme with an enormous sense of anticipation, excitement and confidence. We are the only company whose sole purpose is to stamp out financial exclusion, and the funding that we could receive from this opportunity could be a real game changer.”

Commenting on the judges’ decision to award the title to NOW, Gaurav Sabharwal, Managing Director, Pernod Ricard Gulf, and head of the judging panel commented:

“This year’s final delivered a very exciting and informative day of competition. Our four finalists represented four very different businesses, but they all shared a common theme – that of making a social impact. However, our decision to choose NOW was unanimous. Their business can positively benefit the lives of literally millions of people and can be replicated geographically, quickly and cheaply.The potential social impact is astounding. We believe NOW is a worthy winner capable of representing the region on a global stage and competing strongly for its share of The Venture’s US$1m global social enterprise fund.”

NOW uses mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, improving their lives and saving them and their families significant money, in a profitable and sustainable manner.

NOW Money wins Best Start-Up at the Women in STEM Awards 2016

   |   By  |  0 Comments

NOW Money, The UAE’s new remittance app, has won the Best Start-Up for CEO Katharine Budd’s pitch at the prestigious Global Women in STEM awards.

The awards, which took place at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai on 25 October, are in their 3rd year. NOW Money’s Katharine Budd was up against seven other companies with female founders on the team, and won the award based on the strength of NOW Money’s business plan and their potential to build an ecosystem of innovation.

Katharine Budd, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said: “This award means so much to us. Not only because it’s our first, but because it’s wonderful to see that our vision is coming to life and we’re being recognised for what we’re doing. We were inspired to create the app by Dubai’s 2021 plan – we want to help the country work towards that vision and lead the way for financial inclusion.”

Best booty woman money shot,best make love awards

NOW Money uses mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (‘GCC’) countries, improving their lives and saving them and their families significant money, in a profitable and sustainable manner.