BBVA Open Talent 2016: Shedding Light on the Next Generation of FinTech Disruptors

As Michael Dell, one of the brightest minds in the tech world said, Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not. BBVA, one of the most innovative banks in the world, knows the true meaning of hard work in pushing the envelope of innovation and with every initiative, proves to be on the side of the doers, not just the dreamers.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 is yet another proof of what a truly innovative financial institutions is capable of and how collaboration and recognition of mutual strengths in the financial services industry can make a real change and bring the best out of each world.

For more than eight years now—through Open Talent competition—the bank has proactively supported A-players, true disruptors and some of the most innovative and promising ventures and individuals that can make a change in the financial services industry. Success stories from the Open Talent competitions of previous years speak to the scale of possibilities and tremendous opportunities that startups are presented by entering the contest.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 is built on the success story of the previous chapters of the challenge and today, BBVA is proud to unveil finalists from each region – Europe, LATAM, USA & rest of the world, that will then compete in the regional finals in September.

But before we look at rigorously screened finalists, let's look at some interesting stats characterizing BBVA Open Talent 2016.

The hallmarks of BBVA Open Talent 2016 edition

Startups from the US comprised the largest portion of finalists with 15 companies competing from the country. However, the US dominance in supplying talented teams hasn't shadowed bright entrepreneurs made it to the finals from such countries as Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Latvia, Turkey and other blooming markets.

The most common segments among the total number of finalists are payments, SaaS, big data, financial inclusion, risk analysis, identity and anti-fraud and alternative lending. Interestingly, while for Europe and USA & ROW, the most common segments are similar; for the LATAM region, there is a variation with the most common segments being mobile apps, consumers (traditional banks), EFM, PFM and remittances along with financial inclusion and payments.

Despite the largest number of finalists being from the US, on a regional level, the proportion is quite even – there is just a slight difference between the number of finalists chosen to compete for the leadership positions in each region.

As for the team sizes, the highest number of finalists teams contained between three to six people with only one team comprised of 40 employees. Bezos’ two-pizza rule at work in the startup world.

Unveiling BBVA Open Talent Finalists from Europe, LATAM, USA & ROW

BBVA Open Talent 2016 finalists from Europe

Check it is an account aggregator that downloads banking information, automatically reconciles bank statements and exports the data to any ERP accounting software. PayKey is the simplest, fastest, platform-agnostic and mobile-centric way of making personal and commercial payments. MultiSense provides organizations and big corporations with secure user authentication and identity verification methods. The complete suite of biometric technologies offered by MultiSense is an end-to-end solution put together as an extremely user-friendly mobile platform.

Tallysticks is an innovative software company that harnesses the functionality of distributed ledger technology to automate invoice and invoice financing-related workflow. The company has a strong founding team and develops its solutions and modules from the ground up. Lendstar is a leading social financial network in Germany and Austria which allows people to send, share and source money in an innovative, fun and easy way. Musoni is a multi-award winning, cloud-based core banking software that helps financial organizations improve efficiency, reduce costs and expand their outreach into the rural areas where the majority of the unbanked live.

Number 1 in Spain, Indexa Capital is an automated investment operator with index funds and low fees.

Pointo is a platform to identify hard-to-find talent based on incentivized referral networks and maintaining a reputation-controlled search fully trackable. Innovative Assessments uses psychometrics to accurately and fairly assess creditworthiness, based on a borrower’s personal character. AlgoDynamix is a risk analytics company detecting disruptive events in financial markets and anticipating price shocks hours or days in advance of the event.

PayThunder is an in-house patented scheme of data communication that uses cyphered ultrasounds (apart from all the other channels, WhatsApp, SMS, email) to enable payments/advertising services + secure technology to virtualize/tokenize credit/fidelity cards to a one-step-payments marketplace connected to geolocation tech & holograms.

DigiSEq can deliver ANY application to any wearable and IoT device. It enables payment as well as access control, ticketing, etc., on one device. Tramonex is an FCA-authorized international payments platform that offers competitive, fast and secure payment services in over 45 currencies. Tramonex is developing an innovative blockchain settlement system for international payments.

Hive allows users to self-organize themselves around a financial P2P human-network that only needs its user-friendly mobile app. From the user point of view, there will be only euros, dollars and pesos from the beginning to the end of the process.

Satago is a credit control platform that actually improves companies' cash flow before providing them with flexible single invoice finance. ComPay helps consumers to use their digital banking products and services as an easy and secure payment method for their online shopping.

Viventor lets you generate double-digit returns by directly investing in a range of different loans.

Lendrock is a lending marketplace that enables underserved consumers to conveniently and quickly finance the purchase of products and services at offline retailers Credit Kudos uses consumer transaction data to build highly accurate and transparent credit score cards and affordability metrics.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 finalists from the LATAM region

PayKii enables individuals living abroad to pay expenses for their family back home by connecting money transfer operators with billers around the world

SBM id is the PayPal of biometric authentication.

Aflore is the first direct selling network to distribute financial products to the homes of unbanked people in Latin America.

Movizzon is a platform to measure and optimize the user experience in a company’s digital channels.

ClipClap is all about connecting people who wants to sell with those who want to buy using the safest and effortless ways. It allows consumers to send payments to businesses of any size, faster, easier & securely than ever before.

POP Recarga allows online shopping using cash for people without credit cards or bank accounts

Guarumo offers "bots" for self-management of financial services through instant messaging apps (Messenger, Telegram, etc.).

Kobra is a free cashing and fair network. Through mobile technologies and a marketplace of non-paid accounts, Kobra provides efficiency and transparency to the payment process.

Alegra is a cloud application to manage small businesses, allowing to invoice, manage expenses, banks and reports.

Bayonet offers a global federated database which aggregates consumer payments historic data, to help online merchants and financial institutions increase sales and reduce losses from fraud through graph database and machine learning.

Innova Factoring is a marketplace where companies get labor capital directly from investors with the guarantee of their pending invoices.

FriendlyTransfer is the first peer-to-peer platform which allows people around the world to connect and exchange money locally, instead of making expensive international money transfers.

Lefort is a virtual bot that fully automates small business finance processes.

Planejei developed Marvin, a financial assistant, which intelligently analyzes a user’s finances to deliver goals and insights, and motivates the user to reach his objectives. Vest is a Web and mobile application that helps users achieve goals through a savings plan invested into the stock market.

QuincenaMe is the first Web app that can process SMEs payrolls up to 10 times faster.

ISBIT is a digital assets trading platform. It allows people from all the world to safely buy and sell digital assets including bitcoin, leveraging on an intuitive trading interface with the best analytical tools as well as APIs.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 finalists from USA & rest of the world

Flowcast helps funders dramatically improve financing along the supply chain by using data science.

As an IT/FinTech company, Paymagnet offers the most intuitive, and personal mobile-NFC interface that provides clients the ability to accept contactless credit and debit cards instantly via smartphones.

Investment POD is the first multi-strategy digital wealth management platform for the Bionic Advisor. POD = Passive, Opportunistic, Defensive.

Fluid AI turns any screen in a branch or ATM into a smart interactive screen using artificial intelligence. It talks to customers who walk in front and puts them in a digital environment where they can explore using their gestures. ForwardLane is a cognitive finance solution for modern wealth management which helps banks and their advisors scale the type of sophisticated and individually tailored investment advice the ultra-high net worth enjoy down-market to everyone else.

Capital Preferences reveal clients’ true preferences through games built on game theory and econometrics.

Cambridge Blockchain’s identity management platform enables financial institutions to streamline their know-your-customer processes for multinational clients, eliminating redundant compliance steps while improving record auditability and customer experience.

Keychain is developing the first, global, decentralized authentication platform for the financial, IoT, and enterprise sectors.

Syndicated Loan Direct (SLD) converts the dense legal documentation of syndicated loans used by banks and asset managers into readily usable financial data using artificial intelligence. (CrowdProces) helps banks skip a decade of innovation in the risk office by helping them leverage machine learning to avoid bad loans. It is currently being used in four different countries and was recently voted the top European FinTech. Tradle is building a global trust provisioning network on blockchain. Its first product offers customers KYC portability with exceptional customer experience and higher regulatory compliance. Tradle sells to all sectors of banking and insurance and operates in five countries.

Billsley finds ways to save you money through data analysis on monthly recurring bills like cable, insurance and phone. Billsley is tackling the $28-billion-dollar problem of paying more for services that 80% of online bill payers suffer – specifically important to the lower income bracket.

SPARE gives merchants the ability to dispense cash from their register directly to the hands of consumers obviating the need for the debit card or ATM. Finatext is a financial solutions provider with a particular focus on developing mobile applications. It aims to increase financial literacy among aspiring investors and traders in order to unlock the potential of retail investment. Trupay allows to pay anyone at any time with just their mobile number. The GovBrain system of Web applications searches federal, state, local and international government websites and databases, including political news sources to provide real time security price predictions for hedge funds. GovBrain technology also automates geopolitical risk analysis.

CREADY is a cloud-based loan servicing platform designed for loan approval processes of banks, retail stores and leasing companies that offer cash/non-cash loans. (CREADY is the only team from Azerbaijan).

Liveoak is solving the pain of complex customer onboarding and paperwork for enterprises. Its platform recreates the power and engagement of a face-to-face meeting allowing enterprises and their customers to collaborate and take action in real time.

MARK Labs is collecting, sorting and analyzing the world’s social impact data to better solve complex and entrenched social and environmental problems.

Precognitive Inc. stops online fraud before it happens by combining device intelligence, behavioral data, and a hybrid rules and machine learning engine.

What will happen next?

As one of the most advanced and forward-thinking financial institution in the world, BBVA does not tolerate mediocrity and will present a chance to the finalists to prove themselves as top players deserving an immersion program with BBVA’s executives at three final events held in London, New York and Mexico City.

Two-day events in each city will feature engaging discussions, panels, demonstrations and debates with leading FinTech experts and innovators from the region. The event will focus on the innovation, transformation and disruption in financial services in Europe, LATAM, the USA & countries from the rest of the world caused by the finalist startups.

At the end, only two startups from each region 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.

Not only will the finalist compete for being one of two winners of their respective regions, they will also be able to start working on their projects with experts from BBVA.

Find out more about the dates of regional finals here.

The winners of Special Awards at BBVA Open Talent 2016

Aside from the finalists that will be presenting their solutions at three final events in London, Mexico and New York in September, BBVA has recognized two companies in special categories:

Israel’s PayKey was awarded a Wired Money special award and Musoni’s team from Amsterdam won the Financial Inclusion Special Award.

Musoni was chosen as the best startup that provides digital financial solutions for small businesses or end-customers with low incomes. The company’s team will travel with the BBVA Financial Inclusion team to meet partners specifically associated with this sector.

PayKey was rewarded as an early bird project that entered the competition before May 2, with a very special prize: the potential opportunity to participate and present its project at a landmark event in the financial world: WIRED Money.