Content by Dubai

The history-making fintech unicorn that puts people first

Hiring a team of top international talent requires a large and diverse talent pool. For one Israeli tech startup, Dubai was the answer

When the Dubai government announced the Dubai Economic Agenda 'D33' in January 2023, intending to double the size of the economy over the next decade, it was clear that cultivating a vibrant tech ecosystem was a top priority.

From ‘Sandbox Dubai,’ which aims to make the city a global hub for new products and technologies, to an ambitious goal of turning 30 startups into unicorns by 2030, Dubai is unambiguous in its message: business is welcome.

And many tech businesses have already made their home in the emirate, equating choosing Dubai to choosing a successful future.

Arik Shtilman, CEO of Rapyd

Unlocking growth in Dubai

To Arik Shtilman, the CEO of fintech unicorn Rapyd, a global fintech-as-a-service platform, efficiency is everything.

“Our primary focus is hassle-free financial transactions,” says Shtilman. “Whether it be facilitating transactions across borders or understanding the intricacies of local policy, we are constantly striving to find a frictionless business environment that helps deliver on our promise.”

So, when it came to expansion, Dubai emerged as an obvious choice. “The offer presented us with the ideal environment to expand our services into a dynamic and rapidly growing market,” he says.

This offer is driven by Dubai’s commitment to closing the tech industry labor skill gap, which is set to reach 4.3 million by 2030. Many businesses, like Rapyd, have therefore taken advantage of the UAE’s 100,000 'Golden Visas,' enabling entrepreneurs to stay in the country for ten years.

Back to homepageThe DIFC helps companies like Rapyd – which deals with the movement of money – to operate efficiently and securely.”
— Arik Shtilman, CEO of Rapyd

But visas are just the beginning. Once businesses make the move, they are inducted into a bold and dynamic business landscape which does away with red tape in favor of incentives and policies that foster entrepreneurship.

Shtilman explains that Dubai is implementing policies that directly impact unlocking growth, reframing the government as a close partner with the private sector rather than a distant regulator.

These reforms include the creation of Dubai’s International Financial Centre (DIFC), which offers comprehensive legal frameworks and valuable resources. Rapyd opened the doors to its Dubai office in the heart of the DIFC in May 2022.

“The DIFC helps companies like Rapyd – which deals with the movement of money – to operate efficiently and securely,” says Shtilman. “It’s a prime example of the city’s dynamic approach that makes Dubai stand out from other tech hubs.”

Dubai’s diplomatic outreach has also bolstered business activities – including with Israel. Signing the Abraham Accords in 2020 has created new opportunities to build links between Dubai and Tel Aviv’s tech ecosystem – leading to the milestone of Rapyd becoming the first Israeli company to be regulated in the UAE.

“It’s a testament to the mutual commitment we have to build bridges and foster relationships in the region,” says Shtilman. “Ultimately, this contributes to the growth and innovation of the global fintech ecosystem, which helps consumers and businesses in every corner of the world.”

Attracting global talent

One of the most important benefits of Dubai’s long-term strategy has been overcoming a major issue faced by every global tech company: recruitment.

"Attracting and acquiring talent is always challenging," says Revital Lavie, Rapyd's Chief People Officer, "especially tech-oriented positions, because the demand is always higher than the pool available globally.”

"In Dubai,” Lavie continues, “Rapyd can offer employees the opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing fintech market, enabling them to work on innovative projects with global impact alongside different people from all over the world.”

At the same time, employees can benefit from the emirate's attractive lifestyle, diverse community and supportive business environment. “Dubai has certainly made it easier for Rapyd to recruit exceptional talent from all over the world," says Lavie.

Revital Lavie, Chief People Officer of Rapyd

Innovating through diversity

Dubai is looking to transform into the world’s leading metaverse economy – aiming for the metaverse to support 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030, such as digital architecture and AR/VR engineering, and add USD $4 billion to Dubai’s economy in five years. Meanwhile, businesses in the emirate have been able to capitalize on liberal emigration policies.

“Dubai's immigration and relocation policies have been instrumental in helping Rapyd build a diverse international workforce,” says Lavie.

“The city’s streamlined visa processes and supportive infrastructure have made it easier for us to bring skilled professionals from around the world, and helped simplifiy the relocation process for Rapyd employees and their families. This is an essential factor for both attracting and retaining top talent.”

Back to homepage Our diverse workforce has helped us better understand the needs of our clients, enabling us to create more tailored and innovative solutions.”
— Arik Shtilman, CEO of Rapyd

Rapyd prides itself on its diversity, with women making up 40% of the workforce including in engineering and key leadership roles. Lavie cites one of Rapyd’s brand values as “Put People First,” encouraging employees to celebrate their identity, and there are 21 different nationalities in the Dubai hub alone.

As for business outcomes, Rapyd charts a clear correlation between its ability to attract diverse talent, and its success. It reached a valuation of USD $15 billion in March 2022, making it the highest-valued Israeli tech unicorn at the time.

“Our diverse workforce has helped us better understand the needs of our clients,” says Shtilman, “enabling us to create more tailored and innovative solutions.

“This diversity has fostered creativity, collaboration, and a broader perspective, which has not only improved our products and services but also contributed to Rapyd's overall success in the global market.”

And Rapyd is not alone. Research from McKinsey has shown that ethnically diverse organizations are 36% more likely to outperform companies that are less diverse, while gender diverse companies are 25% more likely.

Rapyd opened its Dubai tech hub in May 2022

A golden opportunity

Looking ahead and the businesses inside Dubai’s tech ecosystem show no signs of slowing down.

With the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy estimating that the national digital economy will grow to USD $140 billion by 2031, the emirate is doubling down on its drive to become the next digital economy capital of the world.In the meantime, Dubai’s strategic location, supportive government policies world-class infrastructure, and skilled workforce will continue to be an incubator for tech talent and innovation to flourish.

“Rapyd is a bold company and Dubai is a bold and dynamic market,” says Shtilman. “With equally big visions, we took a chance on each other – and we’re proud to say our partnership is thriving.”

Dubia DET Logo

Learn more about why Dubai is becoming a global tech talent magnet.

Find out more