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Current news 09 Mar 2023

BBVA Spark, a business unit for the innovation sector, launches in Colombia

BBVA has announced the roll-out of its BBVA Spark business unit in Colombia. The new unit will offer an end-to-end financial services proposition aimed at entrepreneurs and tech companies at different stages of development. This includes a full range of banking products and services, specialized support and access to the tech industry ecosystem.

bbva spark stand 2023

“At BBVA Colombia we’ve been committed to innovation, technology and entrepreneurship for years. It’s part of our DNA and our clients’ mindset. Today, we want to reinforce this mission with the launch of BBVA Spark a business unit that will support the growth and consolidation of innovative companies in Colombia. We are confident in the potential of the Colombian market. There are more than 1,000 startups in Colombia and the volume of investment in technology and innovation has tripled in the past two years. Today, Colombia has the third largest tech ecosystem in the region," said Mario Pardo Bayona, CEO of BBVA Colombia.

BBVA Spark first launched in Spain and Mexico in July 2022. This specialized unit aims to boost innovation and support enterprises that are shaping the future with groundbreaking tech, scalable business models and a clear strategy to grow and explore new markets.

Traditionally, largely because they are at very early stages but also because of the lack of a developed bank lending market, innovative companies resort to equity finance from private investors.

"At BBVA we believe that, now more than ever, we can play a critical role in supporting innovative startups. That’s why we rolled out BBVA Spark. We aim to be the go-to bank for Colombia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering a specialized team, a full range of financial services and new models of finance that prioritize long-term growth potential," explained Roberto Albaladejo, Global Head of BBVA Spark.

How does BBVA Spark work?

BBVA has developed an end-to-end product and service range tailored to the life cycle of tech companies, from the startup stage right through to their emergence as major corporations. This offering is combined with a unique user experience, with its own network of specialized bankers and consultants who are fully dedicated to the tech innovation segment.

So, depending on its stage of development, a firm can access BBVA's full range of products for businesses (online banking, payroll, payments, cards, insurance, etc.) and the specific form of finance it needs.

Specifically, BBVA Spark will offer new models of finance, such as ‘venture debt.’ This mode of lending, which has become widespread in other innovation ecosystems such as Silicon Valley, enables entrepreneurs to access bank finance and thus avoid seeing their equity stake diluted in private funding rounds.

BBVA Spark's product range also extends to technology firms at more advanced stages. Growth loans enable companies to undertake major investments, such as entering new markets or engaging in mergers and acquisitions.

After just eight months of activity, BBVA Spark has already acquired more than 500 clients. Some are as well known as the electric vehicle charging solutions provider Wallbox in Spain, or the used-home buying and selling portal TuHabi in Mexico. BBVA's initiative has already mobilized more than 200 million euros in loans and invested more than 200 million euros in venture capital funds such as Leadwind, Lowercarbon, Fifth Wall, and Propel.