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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Dubai's Avanza Innovations to tap Nordic and Far East markets in 2019

Exclusive: Company expects its revenues next year to be three times its 2018 result

Waqas Mirza, chief executive of Avanza Innovations. Antonie Robertson
Waqas Mirza, chief executive of Avanza Innovations. Antonie Robertson

The UAE tech firm Avanza Innovations is aiming to expand its operations in Nordic countries and Far East as it considers issuing an Initial Currency Offering (ICO) in the first quarter of 2019.

“We are aiming at an ICO that will give us an additional boost to raise funds for doing things at a more global level,” Waqas Mirza, chief executive of Avanza Innovations, told The National, adding, “We are finalising the modalities of an ICO and will make it public very soon.”

ICO, which can be a source of capital for start-ups, is a type of funding using cryptocurrencies, mainly through crowdfunding.

“That model will be totally different but our core business of software development and delivery of projects will keep moving as normal. ICO will be done to launch a product that we have planned at an international level,” said Mr Mirza.

Against the backdrop of its success in GCC nations, Avanza Innovations will be venturing into Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark and Far East states such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia next year.

“We will go to smaller structured economies where the pace of adoption is very fast with no bureaucracy. Nordics will be my first stop followed by the Far East,” Mr Mirza said.

“By the end of 2019, we will have almost a dozen production grade blockchain implementations at city-wide scale under our belt. There must be local big players as well but we will build our case up on actual implementations and look for companies who want to collaborate with us or use our existing platforms.”

Avanza Innovations, which was launched in 2017 to focus on nascent technologies including blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, came out of its 18-year-old parent company Avanza Solutions.

“To pursue the latest technologies, we have to compete with start-ups and need to be agile like them. Therefore, we launched this start-up and hired a brand-new team.

“We did not raise any funds from outside and initial investment was made by the parent company. But now we are totally self-sustained and on our feet,” said Mr Mirza, who is also a board member in the parent company.

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Avanza Innovations was registered in August 2017 and it started operations in January 2018.

The company, which has around 30 employees stationed at its Dubai headquarters, forecasts its 2019 revenues to be three times that of its 2018 fiscal year revenues, according to Mr Mirza.

It has developed Smart Dubai’s blockchain-powered Payment Reconciliation and Settlement System, which went live in October this year. The system allows transactions to be performed accurately and in real time, vastly increasing efficiency. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Knowledge and Human Development Authority are the first government agencies to join this system. Gradually nearly 40 government entities will come on board.

Avanza Innovations is also working with Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Land Department, Etisalat, Information and Technology Authority in Oman, Saudi Telecom Company in Saudi Arabia and different oil and gas companies in Kuwait to develop projects harnessing blockchain and AI.

“Currently we are involved in nearly a dozen blockchain projects across GCC ... these are not lab projects but actual productions. 2019 will start on the back of 2018 successes - we will walk into the new year with actual signing of five to six big blockchain projects,” said Mr Mirza.