BBVA: Behind the Architecture of an Innovation Ecosystem

A recent study by MEDICI showed a clear pattern that has emerged over the past few years in terms of bank-FinTech partnerships. Collaboration has emerged as a beneficial path of growth for both sides. For traditional financial institutions (banks), working with FinTech startups enables them to integrate innovative technologies for customers as well as building solutions from scratch. For FinTechs, the collaborations mean access to a broader range of customers through well-established industry names, experience & shared learning – accordingly, banks are going proactive in their approach of collaborating with FinTechs either via innovation programs, incubators, accelerators, or M&A activities. One of the most innovative and progressive banks in the world, BBVA, stands out as an apt example of the fact that banks and startups are not competitors; instead, that collaboration is the key to mutual growth.

At MEDICI*, *we have been writing about the nature of relationships between the corporate world of traditional banking and the FinTech world. In line with this, our team has been covering BBVA’s activity in the startup sector actively. Founded in 1857, BBVA has been dedicated to innovation in the global financial ecosystem for almost 160 years. The upcoming BBVA Open Talent 2019 is further proof of that dedication.

Towards a Holistic Startup Ecosystem: BBVA’s Approach

Among the most interesting initiatives run by the company is BBVA Open Innovation. As described by the bank, the Open Innovation team is one of the units within BBVA charged with forging connections and partnerships with the world’s FinTech entrepreneurs. The aim is to build partnerships that can bring new products and services, both to the bank and as importantly, to its customers and clients.

As the bank puts it, Open Innovation builds connections and partnerships with FinTech entrepreneurs and startups around the world, with the aim of bringing new products and services both to BBVA and to its customers and clients, while nurturing the FinTech ecosystem as a whole.

One of the key components of the Open Innovation Team is the Open Talent Program, a global startup competition focused on innovative startups that are transforming financial services and those related to e-commerce, user experience, big data, etc. The program is a part of the company’s open innovation strategy through which BBVA collaborates with entrepreneurs, developers, and the leading players who are changing the financial industry.

For more than 10 years, BBVA has been writing success stories through its Open Talent challenge and has proved itself to be a gateway to international success in FinTech. The bank has proactively supported true disruptors and some of the most innovative and promising ventures & individuals that can make a change in the financial services industry.

Success Stories Co-Authored by BBVA Open Talent

Success stories from the Open Talent competitions of previous years speak to the scale of possibilities and success opportunities that startups are presented by entering the contest. In the last 10 years, over 6000 companies have entered the challenge from 90+ countries. More than €1.65M has been awarded in prize money over the 10 editions of the BBVA Open Talent Program.

The vision of BBVA Open Innovation for 2019 and beyond is to support startups that have already scaled up or completed pilot projects, but also to broaden its partnerships with VCs and other investors to maximize the value delivered for entrepreneurs embarking on what is ultimately a journey of trust and collaboration with Open Innovation. – BBVA Open Talent Team

The Tenth Edition of the BBVA Open Talent Program

Once the ‘beginners,’ young startups such as Dunforce, Sedicii, and ChargeAfter were the FinTech startups who took the winning titles and worked with the bank to develop pilots in conjunction with their needs. BBVA Open Talent is a way to get in line with those names and even outpace them for those who will dare to accept the challenge.

Open Talent 2018 brought companies like ToGaratido, Sensibill, BlueOpes, Neoeyed, Tikket, Glassbox and others to the headlines. The winners go hand in hand with BBVA into a more prosperous future, and the bank is as eager to give the best it can to the contestants as it is to learn from the brightest entrepreneurs. As a result, a total of €150,000 was distributed among the winners of 2018 to be used by them to support the growth of their business. The startups were chosen from more than 850 applications that came from 90+ countries. Other FinTech leaders that have gone through BBVA Open Talent in previous editions are Epiphyte, PeerTransfer, Socure, and Busuu, among others.

BBVA Open Talent 2019 is not just another competition. It is a journey to reveal the next generation of innovators and provide them an opportunity to make an impact and leave a mark on the international FinTech scene.

Learn more about BBVA Open Talent 2019 and register your startup to kick start an adventure to impact the future of the global financial ecosystem.