The UAE-based Balance App: Revolutionizing Mobile Banking with a Focus on Millennials, Gen Z and First-Time Investors

 Kartik Tikku

Growing up in post-liberalized India, Kartik Tikku during the 1990s and 2000s witnessed seismic changes in the nation's standard of living. This was due to the private sector innovating and creating products and services that served its communities.

Inspired, he obtained an engineering degree and began strategy consulting in New York, before pursuing an MBA at INSEAD. Kartik also took a position with Careem, the all-in-one app that lets users conduct a range of services, including booking rides, ordering food, buying groceries, and paying bills.

Today, he is the founder of the UAE-based Balance app. The platform's sleek, new digital wallet aims to improve people's lives by leading innovation; expanding financial access; improving the digital payment experience; and providing the means to invest and save for the future.

Balance aims to upgrade the financial services infrastructure by revolutionizing mobile banking in the Middle East, with an emphasis on elite boutique brands and exciting premium franchises. Initially launching in the prestigious DIFC community, Balance is aggressively expanding with more than 100 different brands across the UAE.

The Balance financial technology platform lets users send money, unlock privileges and rewards, split bills, harness BNPL and manage their investments. The Balance team is working with existing financial services institutions, including those regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE, to ensure it is delivering the safest experience to their customers.

The middle east is under strong and innovative leadership and has the perfect foundation for companies like Balance that will champion improvements in commerce and society.

"We are fortunate to be in a region with governments and leaders that have paved the way for exciting innovation in financial services and technology," Kartik said.

"We are working with the current ecosystem and adding value to it through our design, product, and branding expertise," Kartik said. "This follows a successful pre-seed raise of $5M+ from top tier VCs such as BECO capital, the early investor in local tech champions Careem and Kitopi."

Referring to the design of the digital wallet and core mission of Balance, Kartik said it is geared toward those who have no experience in investing or trading.

"At the heart of our design philosophy lies a steadfast commitment to elegance and sophistication, while preserving a sense of intuitive ease of use," he said. "We've worked tirelessly to transform complexity into simplicity, crafting an experience that is both refined and approachable."

The end goal of Balance is to enable everyone to become an investor, a concept that can seem off-limits to millions.

"Human potential is tied to opportunity, and the window of opportunity is getting smaller every decade for people around the world," Kartik said with concern.

The Balance team is making it possible for the average person to invest in the S&P 500, NASDAQ, and ARK ETF in a very simple way.

"The problem of bringing wealth management to the 90%, or 99% of people who have never even thought about investing in the best asset classes is a critical one," Kartik said with passion. "Our approach to getting there is not by simply advertising, it's actually getting the concept embedded in people's day-to-day lives. Once we've done that, we can introduce customers to stocks and mutual funds, which are not intimidating but are in fact easy to understand."

One pivotal piece of the puzzle is to target millennials and Gen Z.

"Millennials and members of Gen Z in the developing world need to be in the financial markets," Kartik said. "They need to feel optimistic about the future and feel like they have skin in the game. The alternative is a reality where they will feel that the world is leaving them behind."

"With this foundation and the opportunities now emerging in the tech sector, particularly with AI, Balance is making it possible for people who would not consider themselves typical investors to potentially reap very solid, long-term rewards. If someone is building the next Google or Amazon, the youth in MENA are now able to have a piece of that effort. We feel technology and community working together is the most potent way to unleash prosperity and it is at the heart of our 'Powerful Together' philosophy."

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