StartechEUS FinHub, a new accelerator and incubator of financial technology (fintech) startups, plans to launch its operations in May at the Beirut Digital District (BDD), said Giovanni Khalil, Chief Marketing Officer at Startecheus.
The FinHub will be involved in information technology applied to the financial sector such as blockchain, cyber security, artificial intelligence, and web and mobile digital solutions.
StartechEUS will also provide venture capital investment in the startups under a new support program from the Central Bank (BDL). The program will be an amended version of BDL’s circular 331 and will alleviate constraints imposed on startups, Khalil said. The investment will be exited within seven years.
The ticket will be larger than that invested by other local accelerators that accept startups at their very early stages. StartechEUS will focus on startups that have reached an advanced stage of acceleration and already generate a turnover, Khalil said. The company will accept accelerated startups from accelerators that provide their services to early-stage startups such as Speed, Falt6Labs-Beirut, and UK Lebanon Tech Hub. Khalil said that they may accept an early stage startup if it turns out to be promising and scalable after due selection process.
StartechEUS will also be open to investment in its startups from other funds. It will connect them to investors and potential clients in Europe and the United States. The output of the startups will be mainly offered for sale on these two markets as the domestic market is small. The FinHub will encourage local banks to become early adopters of the startups’ output which will be useful for testing these products, Khalil said.
StartechEUS will operate a technology academy in collaboration with BDD to provide mentorship and workshops with experts from abroad.
The company was founded by Alexandre Harkous, who is the major shareholder and the Chairman. Khalil said that StartechEUS’ managers have a track record of more than 20 years in the financial and technological sectors, and that Harkous is an entrepreneur and investor who has performed many successful exits. Harkous is currently based in London and will return to Lebanon to operate the FinHub.
Khalil said that they are in talks with some Lebanese entrepreneurs who have launched startups abroad to encourage them to operate from Lebanon.