Navigating Uncharted Waters: How to Break through the ‘Not Yet’ Regulated Markets

May 4, 2023 by STEP Conference

Innovation and uncertainty go hand in hand when it comes to building or managing a startup. The process of entering unregulated markets can be challenging, but the rewards can be significant. This was the topic of discussion in a panel at Step Conference’s Main Stage, where Mohammed Amine Merah of BIM Ventures, led the conversation with experts Ahmed Arif of Clara, Mohammed H. Khashoggi of Ejaro, and Rayan Alsharif of BIM Ventures.

panelists discussing unregulated markets
BIM Ventures Hosted Panel on the Step Conference 2023 Main Stage

Here are some of the main takeaways:

Timing is Key

Ahmed Arif, Clara, a legal technology startup, shared his experience dealing with uncertainty on the legal side of setting up companies and working with venture capitalists. Arif highlighted the importance of timing when determining whether a market is regulated or not. He stressed the challenges and uncertainties of starting a new business in Saudi Arabia and emphasized the need to map timing and ask for permission or forgiveness. Arif said, “I would say the most important thing is before you begin doing that mapping exercise, right? Do your research, look at what it is that you’re trying to achieve, where you’re trying to achieve it because jurisdiction is important.” 

Regulation is Essential

Mohammed H. Khashoggi of Ejaro added that navigating regulation as a fintech startup is essential. He talked about the tipping point in the relationship with regulators and the pros and cons of being in a regulated industry. Khashoggi emphasized the benefits of being a first mover in the industry and having the advantage of building the money markets.

Partnerships are Crucial

The speakers also talked about lessons learned from being the first mover, such as dealing with multiple regulators and taking the easiest route that works for the startup. Rayan Alsharif, BIM Ventures, highlighted the importance of partnerships in the fintech industry and catering to both startups and lawyers.

Navigating Crowded Spaces

The panel also discussed the challenges of being a first mover in a crowded space and the evolving nature of regulations. The panelists emphasized that fintech startups should prioritize data protection as the gold standard, and they noted that regulations in this area are still evolving. They also discussed the enforcement of regulations and shared some general rules for the fintech industry.

Uncertainty is a reality when it comes to building or managing a startup. However, by mapping timing, navigating regulations, and taking advantage of being a first mover, startups can succeed in unregulated markets. The panelists emphasized the importance of partnerships and catering to both startups and lawyers in the fintech industry. Ultimately, being the first to start in a crowded space can be challenging but can also lead to great rewards. To watch the full conversation, click here.

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