How BBVA Open Talent Writes International Success Stories

Famous international writer Tom Clancy once wisely said,An overnight success is ten years in the making. While companies conceived a decade or two ago would fully feel the meaning of it, in 2016, there are companies whose overnight success sometimes was written in a time that was doubly shorter. It is an especially frequent case with the FinTech industry, where technological enablers allowed a massive number of companies to build services that were unimaginable to build in a short time and make profits on them. Sophisticated AI, insanely useful APIs and mobile adoption rates gave bright entrepreneurs the opportunity to build and scale their solutions faster.

However, it is not all that that easy. There are other factors contributing to overnight success in 2016—tailored challenges, accelerators and incubators. They took a special place in the most international success stories and became the innovation engines of the society. Challenges designed to bring together the most innovative entrepreneurs and companies serve the curation purpose and reveal the most prosperous ideas and solutions in the market.

Understanding that, one of the major financial institutions and a prominent member of the innovative part of the financial world, BBVA, is writing success stories through its Open Talent challenge for the eighth year already and proved it to be a gateway to international success in FinTech.

In fact, in the last five years, over 3,250 companies have entered the challenge, with winners raising over €116 million in investments. BBVA Open Talent has written numerous success stories since it was launched 2009, but let’s look at some cases the challenge indeed incredibly catalyzed the growth for participants putting them on the map of the most successful FinTech companies.

Success stories co-authored by BBVA Open Talent

peerTransfer (now Flywire), an international payments company present in 220 countries, has participated in one of the previous editions of BBVA Open Talent. The company now is a leading provider of global payment solutions for the education industry. TransferGois also a former participant of BBVA Open Talent. The company offers international remittance services and has more than 100,000 users in 39 countries. Moreover, TransferGo is a fully licensed by FCA as an authorized payment institution.

Another company in BBVA Open Talent bucket is Epiphyte, a blockchain-powered SaaS service that delivers instant settlement and DVP (delivery versus payment) for financial trades. 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.

Two other success stories, in which BBVA played an immense role, are well-known and prosperous: Socure and Paganza.

Socure is the leader in digital identity verification that applies machine learning techniques with biometrics and data intelligence from email, phone, IP, social media and the broader Internet to enable the next-generation of multifactor authentication. Recently, the company announced that it is joining the FIDO alliance.

Paganza, a bill payments company, has more than 650 clients including BBVA itself. The service was selected among the 20 most innovative apps in the world at the Mobile Premier Awards in 2014, as Best Uruguayan app in 2013 and won the BBVA Open Talent 2013 in the New Banking category.

The long list of successful companies that went through BBVA Open Talent can go on; some other companies worth mentioning are Koho, Safello, Zoop, Volabit, Everledger, Origin Markets, Lending Front and others, who made headlines participating in the challenge last year.

Whose success story is next?

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. 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 in August.

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!

1) 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, though this award, BBVA is looking to foster financial inclusion for underprivileged groups of the population—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.

2) There is an early-bird prize as well. Projects who 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.

All finalists will be named on August 8. Following the public announcement of the winners, three final events will be held in London, Mexico and New York in September.

BBVA Open Talent 2016 will not be 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.

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. The registration window is open until June 27, and 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.