BBVA is developing an open innovation program in the region, known as fast track, which makes it possible to streamline and make more efficient the processes that the Group develops together with startups to implement new digital products and services for the benefit of customers.
The fintech ecosystem has been taking giant steps in Latin America and there are already 1,166 financial technology startups in the region, with a growth of 66% in the last year. With the fast track program BBVA is paving the way for several of these ventures that are becoming strategic allies to provide disruptive solutions to customers and move forward in the process of digital transformation.
This initiative arose from the Open Innovation area and consists of four stages: definition, review, import and execution; and the challenge is to be able to take the proof of concept from one stage to the other in a short and swift time frame.
In Latin America, the fast track had its first implementation in BBVA Bancomer, in Mexico, under the name of Open Sandbox. This initiative has become a fast track to start its development in other countries in the region, such as Colombia, where it has already been implemented, and later in Peru and Argentina that are in this process.
It was in 2016, when BBVA took the first steps in Mexico with eight pilots with startups that showed very good results. Then it opened the fast track call in June 2017 to all fintechs that had proposals of value or financial solutions that could be developed in a period of six months.
More than 220 fintech enterprises, both from Mexico and other parts of the world, registered and presented solutions in anti-fraud, big data, biometrics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robo-advisors, among others. In the end, only nine of these companies were selected to carry out concept tests and work together with the different areas of the bank.
“For the bank it is very relevant to be able to test solutions that are focused on reducing operating costs or increasing revenues; the latter may be a consequence of improving customer experiences,” said Marcela Zetina, Head Innovation & Entrepreneurship of BBVA Bancomer.
Zetina explained that the solutions are submitted to a pitching day, in which experts from different areas of the bank make the selection and assess the feasibility and ease of each solution.
With this program, BBVA Bancomer has been able to test new technologies in a record period and accelerate response times, incorporating different stakeholders from the beginning of the process. Forty-three concept tests have been initiated and a good part of them are still being executed.
Meeting between different areas of BBVA Bancomer and startups fintech, in search of better financial solutions for customers.
The experience extends to the regional level
Innovation and entrepreneurship through the fast track is also a reality in BBVA Colombia, which has just held its second edition and expects to do two more during 2019.
In the recent edition of fast track, BBVA Colombia closed five pilots that it plans to implement and execute in 2019 in the areas of Business Banking, Retail Banking, Insurance and Open Innovation, which will allow the integration of innovative solutions for the benefit of customers.
“The fast track is an evolving process and from Open Innovation we want to improve. In each
execution we find things to adjust so that the process is increasingly efficient, faster and above all, to bring better results to the bank. One of the objectives we have is that the value that the area contributes to the banking business is tangible, that the results can be measured and that we begin to convert ideas into business,” said Enrique Neira, from the Open Innovation Colombia area.
And in the same way as the collaborators of BBVA Colombia were in Mexico to learn the whole process of working together with the startups, members of the Open Innovation team of BBVA Continental, from Peru, were in the coffee country to become familiar with the fast track methodology and apply it upon their return.
“I have been in Colombia learning a little bit about the fast track process and I am looking forward to implementing it in Peru. A lot of value has been generated for the startups and also internally, the accompaniment of the business areas and the great willingness of the support areas have been greatly exploited,” said Claudia Ganoza, from Open Innovation Peru.
With this approach and joint collaboration between BBVA and the fintech startups, the aim is to provide products and services that improve the customer experience and make available to all the opportunities of this new era.
BBVA Colombia recently made version 2018 of the fast track program, working hand in hand with the fintech startups to create innovative digital solutions.