First fintech hub launched in Lebanon at Beirut Digital District
Lebanon is the latest state to enter the Middle Eastern fintech fray with a new hub launched in Beirut – said to be the first for the Levant.
The Levant is set to welcome its first ever fintech hub this month with the launch of StartechEUS FinHub at the Beirut Digital District. According to StartechEUS, the hub will act as an accelerator and incubator of promising fintech startups developing solutions in areas such as AI, blockchain, and web and mobile applications by providing support, mentorship, access to market, and seed funding.
Founded by current Chairman Alexandre Harkous, a former senior manager at Deloitte Consulting who will return to Lebanon from his present London base to operate the new FinHub, the company boasts on its website of $250 million worth of exits to date, and has assembled an investment committee and advisory board including Elias Ghanem, Chief new Technologies Officer at Capgemini, and Christian Chattey, a senior partner with Deloitte in France.
For the new fintech venture, StartechEUS has partnered with the Lebanon’s central bank Banque du Liban, digital and creative industries hub Beirut Digital District, and the diaspora-focused professional networking platform Lebanese International Finance Executives (LIFE), with StartechEUS’ Chief Marketing Officer Giovanni Khalil stating that the firm had been in discussions with Lebanese startup founders abroad to encourage a return home.
According to Khalil, the Finhub will focus primarily on startups that have reached an advanced stage of acceleration and already generate a turnover, although it may accept promising early-stage start-ups believed to be scalable – with a Banque du Liban-backed venture capital programme in place to provide funding from $100,000 up $2 million in series A tickets per company and further investments open to external funds.
Karl Naïm, StartechEUS Partner and the firm’s Chief Investment Officer, elaborates; “Through our unparalleled pipeline sourcing capabilities and due diligence screening, we aim at selecting the best in class disruptive fintech players to invest in and help in achieving returns, as well as co-investing alongside some of the top fintech VC names in the world.”
In addition to financial support and the provision of state-of-the-art office space, StartechEUS will also operate a Technology Academy in collaboration with Beirut Digital District to provide market research, mentorship, training, and workshops with local and overseas industry experts, along with international networking opportunities through LIFE’s 1,000-strong membership base.
“Through leveraging our Tech experience and knowledge together with the support and contribution of our partners, we aim to provide our entrepreneurs with selective focused trainings that match their needs and strengthen their technical skills so that they can transform their innovative ideas into reality,” said StartechEUS Chief Technology Officer Nizar Ajeeb.
According to StartechEUS, the Finhub will act as the firm’s value creation engine to unlock and accelerate value for its portfolio companies and partners. “We believe that industry focus is central to achieving the best results,” stated Harkous. “We will be operating at the intersection of Innovative Technology and Financial Services with a vision to empower the digital, artificial intelligence and blockchain fields.”