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In addition to promoting the FinTech ecosystem in Portugal, the initiative also adds five calls in four countries, more than 900 applicants, 72 selected companies and 68 proofs of concept.
Visa, a leading digital payments company, the international platform Finnovating and the startup accelerator Hackquarters, have announced the launch of the second edition in Spain of the Visa Innovation Program (VIP), its initiative to promote the FinTech ecosystem in Portugal and around the globe. This announcement was made during Visa Demo Day, an event where the important socioeconomic work carried out by the six FinTech participants in the first edition of the program was recognized and appreciated, in addition to highlighting the revitalization of the payment industry in Spain and around the world.
During the event, Coinscrap Finance, Currency Alliance, Divilo, GoParity, October and Parcela Já, have presented their innovative solutions that address some of the biggest challenges in the financial sector, such as the acceptance of digital payments by SMEs and the self-employed, the financial planning, loyalty, the use of money for a positive impact or payments in installments. The event also included a presentation by Matteo Rizzi, known in the sector as one of the fathers of the FinTech sector, strategic advisor in Finnovating and one of the pioneers in collaboration between the world of technology startups and the corporate sector. .
According to Eduardo Prieto, general director of Visa in Spain, «the announcement of the second edition of the Visa Innovation Program in Spain is a clear example that, in a current moment of uncertainty, we continue to bet on FinTech since we believe that they play a role key in the development of the digital payments sector both nationally and internationally. I am very proud to continue supporting the local FinTech ecosystem in an open network framework, as part of our strategy of being a network of networks. This allows us to give access to our VisaNet payment network for both incumbents and new operators, as well as future technologies and innovative solutions.»
Kaan Akn, founder and CEO of Hackquarters: «The first edition of the Visa Innovation Program in Spain has highlighted the untapped potential and desire for innovation within the country’s FinTech ecosystem. The announcement of a second year of the program underscores the dedication Visa to support local FinTech and potential partners who can benefit from these cutting-edge technologies.At Hackquarters, we are delighted to welcome the second edition of this program as we aim to further foster FinTech growth both locally and globally and attract the best investors, mentors and partners to enhance the impact of the program in the coming year.»
Rodrigo García de la Cruz, founder and CEO of Finnovating: «This second edition of the Visa Innovation Program and its extension to the Iberia region, presents an enormous opportunity to help FinTech startups and foster innovation in the ecosystem. At Finnovating, we see an annual growth of 100% in FinTech-company collaborations generating an impact in innovation, efficiency and sustainability that will mark the next decade We are delighted to be co-organizers of this program and grateful to work hand in hand with Visa for the second edition of this year including Portugal, where together we will stimulate and promote the opportunity for FinTech startups to grow and scale in an agile way.»
The second edition of the Visa Innovation Program will feature several novelties, among which the extension of the program to Portugal stands out, thus becoming the Visa Innovation Program Iberia. In addition, it will be synchronized with the development of the program in other markets that is already taking place such as Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. The main advantage is that it will allow participating FinTech to expand their network and potential collaboration opportunities with participating FinTech in other markets.
Of all the applications, between five and seven FinTech will be selected, which will join the program and for a period of 6 months they will be provided with training content, mentorship sessions, connection with investors, and meetings with financial institutions and corporations from other sectors interested in explore their capabilities, as well as opportunities for joint collaboration.
The program offers a curricula designed for selected FinTech with access to a broad group of consultants and experts from Visa and its network of business partners with the aim of driving their growth. Through the program, FinTech are introduced to a network of proof-of-concept partners (known as POCs in jargon), e-money institutions, banks, merchants, governments and other high-profile organizations, to test and validate their proposals and reach the commercialization phase more quickly.
Visa Innovation Program, in numbers
During the first edition of VIP in the Spanish market, there were 116 FinTech that applied to the program, with six being the finalists who were able to enjoy 36 hours of mentoring from Visa, while one of them, Divilo, managed to close a round of financing in that period of time.
Outside of Spain, since its inception in 2018, the Visa Innovation program has completed four editions in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. The program has had more than 900 applicants, 72 selected FinTech and 68 proofs of concept derived from Visa network partner presentations. The Visa Innovation Program has also provided a total of 1,300 hours of mentoring and the participating FinTech have entered into 84 rounds of financing, receiving funds worth more than 350 million euros. One of the first participants in the show, Payhawk from Bulgaria, became a unicorn in 2022.
Bea Larregle, Regional Managing Director of Visa for Southern Europe: «We are determined to continue supporting collaborative innovation in our markets, a factor that we consider key to building more inclusive economies and promoting economic growth. Following the excellent results obtained by the program in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, and the success of the launch of the first edition in Spain, we are looking forward to seeing it scale up further so that we can discover and nurture more local FinTech talent to help shape the future of payments and trade in Europe».
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