With the naming of DOV-E as its Global Trends winner at Next Money in Chicago, BBVA this week continued its push to find and partner with the world's most innovative fintech start-ups.
For many of the startups competing in this year’s BBVA Open Talent competitions - even those that didn’t win - the Open Talent experience is like no other, creating unparalleled opportunities for expert guidance, high-level networking with industry decision makers, and exposure to potential investors.
“Open Talent is essential to BBVA’s digital transformation, as it imports new ideas, fresh energy and exciting possibilities to the bank,” said BBVA Head of Open Innovation Marisol Menéndez. “But, the competition isn’t just for us. We also work hard to maximize value for the competitors by packing the schedule with opportunities that might otherwise take them months - and a lot of hard work - to get.”
In each Open Talent competition - for 2017 there were five plus an overall ‘best of the best’ grand finale- the selected finalists spend their first day with BBVA executives from multiple areas around the bank. In the day’s first session, they spend time explaining their startup to bank executives, who provide feedback to help them improve their company stump speech.
The second session of the day features BBVA’s own brand of ‘Speed Dating’ where finalists have 15 minutes with groups of BBVA executives. As they move to each group, the goal for the startup, and the executives, is to find synergies and areas where the two may be able to collaborate going forward.
Genç: It’s invaluable interaction that makes both parties start thinking in different ways about potential business models
“Day one activities give finalists exposure to executives from across the bank in an intimate setting so each can better understand the other,” said BBVA Compass President and CEO Onur Genç. “It’s invaluable interaction that makes both parties start thinking in different ways about potential business models, and these are the conversations that have the possibility of leading to a joint effort down the road.”
For the second day of competition, BBVA partners up with well-known fintech conferences. It’s during these conferences that Open Talent finalists present their final pitches in front of a packed room of conference attendees, and the bank’s panel of judges. For finalists, the pressure - and the opportunity - is twofold. Their life’s work is presented to an audience of potential critics, and potential investors or business partners.
Kalburgi: Delivering amazing happens right across our value chain, including in the opportunity we seek to give all our Open Talent finalists
“BBVA is passionate about delivering amazing experiences for our customers, and our desire to do this is just one reason we have a competition like Open Talent” said Global Head of Customer Experience Lohit Kalburgi. “But delivering amazing happens right across our value chain, including in the opportunity we seek to give all our Open Talent finalists, whether they win the competition or not. Our goal is to help them advance their business idea, either by collaborating with us, or by connecting them to others in the ecosystem.”
Those crowned the winners from each competition win a prize of €30,000 and an immersion week at BBVA headquarters in Madrid, where they will have an opportunity to build further connections with bank executives, explore other areas for collaboration in the bank and compete in the BBVA Open Summit for an opportunity to win €50,000.
“We realize that it’s not easy for startups to take two days out of their schedules to compete in Open Talent,” Menéndez said. “Which is why we want those two days to provide opportunities that are hard to get otherwise. So, even if the startup isn’t named the overall winner, their valuable time has been well spent, and connections that will help their business in the future have been made.”
For more on Open Talent, click here.