The fintech event, held earlier this month, was organised by GlassQube and Startup Weekend, a global movement coordinated by TechStars and supported by Google for Entrepreneurs, with the support of Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone and financial regulator, and Temenos, a global financial software vendor. It brought together more than 100 developers, designers and aspiring entrepreneurs – many of are at university and some still at school – and challenged them to build a functional minimum viable product.
"We took those products and judged them based on their technical aspects, their commercial viability, how thoughtful those teams were about what is the actual potential of these products and services to find a market," says Bernard Lee, GlassQube’s chief executive and a co-founder.
"What’s important here is that it’s not just an idea. It is how do we take this idea and how do we actually convert it into something that is real? Something that shows how a consumer base can potentially interact with this particular application."
Abu Dhabi’s new financial centre has been running for six months but the corridors still feel quiet. Almost 200 people have been hired to work for Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) since its inception in 2013 but they are nowhere to be seen. Commentators have warned that ADGM’s established neighbour the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) could prevent it from flourishing, and argued it is unwise to locate two financial centres in such close proximity.