BBVA Open Talent 2016: A Powerful Wheel in the Global FinTech Innovation Machine

Success stories are rarely self-written, there are always influential parties involved in the history of the most successful startups. Those parties include angel investors, VCs, accelerator programs, challenges and even past failures. All these are parts of a conveyor that build a sustainable business model able to survive and succeed in the marketplace, winning customers’ loyalty.

One of the most powerful wheels of the global innovation machine for the eighth year in a row has been the BBVA Open Talent challenge organized by one of the most innovative and forward-thinking financial institutions in the world. With 66 million customers and 9,145 branches across 35 countries, BBVA offers the global startup community a unique opportunity to make a difference for international consumer market and businesses.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 is not just another competition. It is a journey to transform the financial world. Driven by a thirst for adventure, BBVA’s eighth edition of Open Talent will reveal the next generation of innovators who will gain an opportunity to make an impact and leave a mark on the international FinTech scene.

Proof of concept

It is needless to sing serenades to a single challenge if there is no proof of its importance in the international arena. Fortunately, BBVA Open Talent doesn’t really need convincing words as former participants’ success stories speak for themselves.

Once beginners, young startups such as Kantox, Simple, Madiva and Spring Studio are now BBVA partners in the quest to transform the industry. 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. Some of other most prosperous and well-known startups like Koho, Safello, Zoop, Volabit, Everledger, Origin Markets, Lending Front, Socure, Paganza and many others have been through the previous editions of BBVA’s Open Talent competition.

One of the former participants of BBVA Open Talent is peerTransfer (now Flywire), an international payments company present in 220 countries. The company now is a leading provider of global payment solutions for the education industry.

TransferGo is another former participant, which offers international remittance services and has more than 100,000 users in 39 countries. Moreover, TransferGo is fully licensed by FCA as an authorized payment institution.

Epiphyte—a blockchain-powered SaaS service that delivers instant settlement and DVP (delivery versus payment) for financial trades—is also in Open Talent’s bucket list. The company received the New Banking Innovation Award from BBVA in 2014 and was named the FinTech startup of the Year in 2014 by SWIFT. Epiphyte’s system is being used by some of the world’s largest financial institutions for FX, commodity, private equity trades and others.

Who is invited to make headlines in the eighth edition?

As one could see from the names of former participants, the BBVA Open Talent competition is selective in its choice of the top players. There are certain requirements for applicants to meet across a wide range of segments that the bank has described on its official website.

The process and timeline

The registrations for BBVA Open Talent 2016 will be open until June 27, when a committee of internationally recognized entrepreneurs, innovators, technologists and BBVA executives will assess all applications and choose the top 20 in each of the three regions—Europe, LATAM and USA & rest of the world—who will then compete in the regional finals.

Six winners (two from each region) will be announced on August 8. Following the public announcement of the winners, three final events will be held in London, Mexico and New York in September.

Operating across 35 countries and having developed an infinite network across the globe, BBVA is looking for talent from every corner of the world as the innovative talent pool has no geographical limitations.

The prize

Each winner will be granted €30,000 + immersion and interaction program with BBVA experts and executives in Madrid and Mexico City. The winners will be able to enjoy a non-consecutive, two-week program in the mentioned cities to engage intensively with an entrepreneurial ecosystem and BBVA executives.

There is more!

Innovators will have a chance to compete for an ultimate award granted to the best digital solution for SMEs or end-customers with low income. Dedicated to transformation and innovation, BBVA is looking to foster financial inclusion for underprivileged groups of the population through this award—a noble cause to work and innovate for. The Financial Inclusion Winner will receive a trip for one person to present his/her project at a relevant international event that is related to financial inclusion, which will be determined by BBVA.

There is also an early-bird prize. Projects which enter before May 2 can win a very special prize: the potential opportunity to participate and present your project at a landmark event in the financial world—WIRED Money. Out of the projects entered before May 2, the best will be selected and will stand the chance of inclusion in the WIRED Money Startup stage.

As thought leaders in the financial technology space, the LTP team has seen a variety of competitions, and if there is one challenge to accept, it would be BBVA Open Talent 2016. With this competition, BBVA is looking to transform FinTech with the top talent from any corner of the world.

Learn more about BBVA Open Talent 2016 and register your project to kick-start an adventure to impact the future of the global financial ecosystem.