Due Diligence, Digitized: Dubai-Based Startup Diligend Is Working Towards Simplifying Decision-Making For Investors Through Its Centralized Platform
A part of in5's community of startups in Dubai, the firm offers fund due diligence for investors and consultants, monitoring of fund managers, as well as research management and customer relationship management.
This article has been built in collaboration with in5, an enabling platform for tech, media and design startups located in Dubai, UAE.
When it comes to making the right decision on which fund to invest in, a big part of the onus lies on institutional investors and financial consultants. For this, it requires an immaculate and efficient due diligence process to be carried out in order to implement their fund’s investment strategies. But as it is often done manually, it can be a very time-consuming step in an investor’s decision-making journey, and it also poses an imminent risk of losing out on crucial information due to the quantity of data that is available.
Dubai-based tech startup Diligend is on a mission to not only digitize this entire process for faster assessment and comparison, but also to provide services that speed up the selection of asset and fund managers. Launched in 2019 by Wissem Souissi, the firm, which is a part of in5’s community of startups in Dubai, offers fund due diligence for investors and consultants, monitoring of fund managers, as well as research management and customer relationship management. “We are supporting our clients by speeding up the process of fund manager selection and monitoring without sacrificing the quality,” explains Souissi. “We are also helping them centralize and consolidate large amounts of data, so that no risks slip through the cracks. We understand the complex and unrestricted nature of our client's work. Our platform offers a holistic solution for the whole due diligence process, and adapts to any institutional investor or financial consultants’ organization. Therefore, our clients gain control of their time and insights into their data.”
Wissem Souissi, founder, Diligend. Source: Diligend
Initially created as a digitized data request engine, Diligend now functions as a software as a service platform that helps institutional investors and financial consultants increase the productivity of the due diligence process through automation. Some of the many features it offers are customized as well as existing due diligence questionnaires that can be predefined as per asset class or investment strategy to ensure consistent screening of startups, the option to schedule and automate data requests and questionnaires to send to multiple managers at the same time, and digital tools that enable real-time collaboration and information sharing internally with team members. In a similar fashion, the platform also allows for a collaborative and automated process when it comes to the selection of fund managers by offering services such as streamlined data submissions, and keeping track of which team member submitted a particular data to an investor and when.
Now, having successfully raised pre-seed and seed rounds of funds for his startup, Souissi is optimistic of what is to come. “We work with some of the most prestigious global investment management firms and cover more than 12 countries and are proud to have thousands of global users using our platform to exchange data on a daily basis,” he adds. “We are now a team of 21 people operating in three main financial hubs: New York, London, and Dubai. We are very pleased with how far we have come, and where we are going.”
‘TREP TALK: Wissem Souissi, founder and CEO, Diligend
What are some of the key benefits you've seen operating as business in Dubai? Also, what have been your biggest challenges in doing business here?
I think anyone will come across challenges regardless of where they start. However, I believe that Dubai is a great place to work in and operate a global business. Dubai values entrepreneurs and innovation. We were able to find the right structure, investors, and team members to support us. We are active in the investment management space, and given the nature of our industry, we had to start in the USA and Europe in parallel to Dubai, which was challenging in the beginning. Once we had the right people joining the team, we’ve been able to overcome those challenges.
One of the biggest challenges was the COVID-19 crisis. Like many businesses, it was difficult at the beginning to understand what was happening and the extent of its effect. I think we were strategic on how we handled and adapted to everything. I believe the key benefits to operating in Dubai is the diversity, talent pool, and the ease of setting up and maintaining a business. Also, the geographical location offers a strategic position to cover many regions such as Asia, Europe, and even America. Dubai is truly a business hub in every sense of the word.
Why did you choose your startup to be a part of in5? What has been the biggest benefit that you have personally experienced by being a part of in5?
I chose in5 because it provided us with the best facilities, location, and ease of setting up and maintaining our business. in5 has been very easy to work with, everyone is very helpful and friendly. I have also been able to get to know and connect with likeminded individuals which has been very insightful.
Do you think now is still a good time for people to follow through on their entrepreneurial dreams? What would be your advice to get entrepreneurs ready for their journey ahead?
I never want to tell anyone to give up on their dreams. Although COVID-19 has caused a lot of issues throughout the world, I believe it has generated a wealth of ideas and disruptions in many industries. To anyone thinking of starting a business, I would also say, validate and refine as much as possible your idea with the ‘neutral’ connections in the industry you’re targeting. Friends would always tend to tell you ‘it’s a good idea.’ One more thing worth mentioning, entrepreneurship has an impact on personal life, and having long-term support from your relatives would surely be helpful.