Californian accelerator that funded Airbnb, Dropbox, chooses UAE startup Ziina

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A Californian accelerator program that funded companies like Airbnb and Dropbox has chosen to take on United Arab Emirates fintech startup Ziina.

The Dubai-headquartered peer-to-peer payment app that allows users to send money using only a phone number has joined Y-Combinator’s winter batch.


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The startup will now go through Y-Combinator’s three-month accelerator program, collaborating with its network of mentors. The program culminates in Demo Day – an opportunity to pitch to high-profile investors.

Y-Combinator is known to have a highly selective rate of acceptance, with only a small percentage of applicants going through the accelerator.

In the past, it has helped businesses such as Airbnb, Stripe, and Dropbox to reach their current level of success, worth a combined $200 billion.

“The participation with Y-Combinator is a game changer for Ziina and we are thrilled that we have fallen into the very small bracket of companies who are accepted,” said founder and chief executive Faisal Toukan.

Ziina is committed to recruiting former Silicon Valley employees to help develop its product.

“One of our missions at Ziina is linking the best talent and resources of the UAE with those of Silicon Valley,” Faisal added.

“We’ve seen the UAE take a highly proactive approach to supporting the fintech ecosystem and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

“Coupled with this, we’ve received an enthusiastic response from VCs and angel investors during our latest funding round and are incredibly grateful for their support.”

Ziina’s acceptance onto the program coincides with its latest round of seed funding led by OTF Jasoor Ventures (the VC arm of Oman Technology Fund), with participation from Class 5 Global, Long Journey Ventures, Graph Ventures, Jabbar Internet Group, FJ Labs, and Wamda.

Y-Combinator, one of the world’s most successful and selective startup engines, places 2 percent of applicants who pass their process through its robust accelerator program which has propelled businesses such as Airbnb, Stripe, and Dropbox to their current level of success worth a combined $200 billion USD.

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