Emerging Startups Disrupting the Investment Industry in the UAE

As traditional banks and institutions have been slow to adapt, the environment is ripe for disruption.

This article was written by Waleed Esbaitah, CEO of Durise.

Rapid advances in technology over the past several years have led to many changes to the financial services industry in the UAE. As traditional banks and institutions have been slow to adapt, many innovative fintech startups have emerged to fill in the gaps. On the heels of the financial crisis of 2008-09, the environment is ripe for disruption.

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In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, Alexander Rauser stated that “fintech companies are transforming the banking experience by offering easy payment processes, opportunities to save consumers’ money, ways to promote financial services such as investments and planning, and ultimately by driving the industry into the next generation of banking.” This is as true around the world as it is in the UAE.

Let’s take a look at some of the fintech startups that are making a name for themselves in the UAE’s investment sector.


Founded in 2014, Beehive directly connects investors and businesses to build mutually beneficial partnerships for growth. According to the startup’s founder and CEO, Craig Moore: “SMEs turn to platform after struggling to deal with the long approval times and high finance costs that traditional financial providers offer.”

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The company’s peer-to-peer platform allows investors to get better returns and businesses to get faster access to lower cost finance.


The leading UAE and Dubai property portal was established in 2008 with a focus on empowering home hunters with the expert information and advice they need to make well-informed real estate decisions. The platform boasts thousands of properties, which makes it an easy resource for potential investors to find their next purchase.


For the all-around investor who’s looking to invest in physical products, such as aircraft, limited-edition automobiles, property, and more, Dubizzle, founded in 2005, is the perfect platform. A leading classifieds website for users in the Middle East and North Africa, with over 360 million page views per day, Dubizzle is a clear trail blazer at disrupting fintech.


Granted this is my company, but one that clearly fits the bill as disrupting the investment space in the UAE. Durise is a real estate crowdfunding platform that gives everyone the opportunity to participate and build their own real estate portfolio depending on their budget (with point of entry starting at just $5,000), timeline and risk appetite from income generating property.

A research paper published by Strategy&, titled Developing a FinTech Ecosystem in the GCC, provides an in-depth look into this emerging market. The paper claims that “FinTech start-ups, government backing, and support programs are creating pockets of innovation in the UAE.”

It’s an exciting time to be part of this landscape, and it will be interesting to see what other investment disruptors emerge throughout the UAE in the coming months and years.

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