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BBVA Open Innovation celebrates a fantastic year

It has been a stellar year for BBVA’s Open Innovation team, with hundreds more start-ups now connected to the bank and collaboration in full swing.


The Open Innovation team is the unit within BBVA charged with forging connection and partnerships with the world’s fintech entrepreneurs. The aim is to build partnerships that can bring new products and services, both to the bank and as importantly, to its customers and clients.

This year also marked the tenth anniversary of one of the main components of the Open Innovation team, BBVA's Open Talent competition - the world's biggest fintech competition.

Throughout the course of its ten-year history, thousands of startups have connected with BBVA through the competition, making connections within the business and outside that have supported their growth and success.

These are some of the main projetcs that BBVA Open Innovation team has carried out in 2018.

This year alone 854 fintech businesses applied, from 91 countries and the bank handed out 24 awards in three categories. As well as connecting dozens of these entrants into the bank directly, BBVA also sponsored nine of them to travel to one of the world biggest shop windows for the fintech world, Money20/20 in Las Vegas, where they got to present their businesses on stage to a crowd of would be customers and investors.

However there are other equally important element to the work the team does. For example the BBVA Open Talks series, which takes place across the bank’s footprint with events last year in Spain, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey - to name a few. The talks see distinguished speakers come in to share insights on starting and growing businesses for the local entrepreneur ecosystem.

Share, connect and collaborate

The BBVA Connection festival is another key element, where dozens of startups that come into contact with the bank are offered the chance to connect directly into the businesses´business units, where identified ‘needs’ can be discussed and worked on together in a mutually beneficial way.

That in turn can lead to fintechs being put on the BBVA Fast Track Program, which is aimed at speeding up the process of getting the business and the start-ups working together in early stage proof of concepts.

“We passionately believe in the important role the fintech startup community play in the future of this industry"

BBVA also runs an annual conference, called the Open Summit, in Madrid where the wider fintech community can come together to discuss issues and ideas and build closer working relationships. This years, in October, saw more than 60 speakers and in excess of 800 attendees from 30 counties descend on the Spanish capital to hear pitches from fintechs and see speakers including BBVA Chairman Francisco González.

Lastly, the team also launched the BBVA Open Marketplace, a permanently open connection portal allowing start-ups to connect straight into the bank with their ideas. It allows fintechs to create profile pages explaining their products and services ensuring that teams within BBVA looking for solutions can easily find the very best ideas from across the world’s innovation ecosystem.

Commenting, BBVA Head of Client Solutions, Derek White, said: “Open Innovation is something really unique to BBVA - a collaboration pathway aimed at finding new businesses, giving them access to the bank, partnering with them for growth and ultimately driving excellent customer experience into people's hands.

“We passionately believe in the important role the fintech startup community does, and will continue to, play in the future of this industry, and working in collaboration with this ecosystem is just one element of BBVA’s wider commitment to ever more open banking.”