BBVA Chair Carlos Torres Vila concluded the sixth edition of BBVA Open Summit, the annual entrepreneurship event, recalling the bank’s commitment to innovation. “BBVA has 600 million committed to various venture capital funds. The recent focus of these investments is on driving decarbonization and the development of innovative entrepreneurship in our main markets. Both areas make strategic sense for BBVA, to incorporate new knowledge into the Group and to support the companies we want to be our customers,” said Torres Vila at the closing of the event.
More than 600 visitors, startups and investors attended BBVA Open Summit - the entrepreneurship event organized by BBVA Spark, held in Barcelona this year for the first time. BBVA Spain Country Manager Peio Belausteguigoitia emphasized the major role Catalunya plays as a center of attraction for investors and entrepreneurs. “Catalonia is a hub for a lot of the talent and investment happening around the startup world, both nationally and internationally. The very culture of the region for the creation of companies and the desire to innovate favor this choice,” said Belausteguigoitia.
Meanwhile, the BBVA Chair emphasized that the bank created BBVA Spark a year ago to be the bank for these new innovative companies that need products and financing and risk models tailored to their needs. "We are already the bank for entrepreneurs in the Spanish-speaking world," said Torres Vila, who recalled that BBVA Spark already has 600 customers in Spain, Mexico and Colombia. "And very soon we will also be in Argentina," he added.
Torres Vila also added that BBVA has been a pioneer in investing in innovation funds, an activity it has been carrying out for more than 10 years. Very early on, the bank recognized the potential of trends, such as digitalization, to transform the financial industry. The focus of this activity has traditionally been on investments in the field of fintech, through Propel and other investments such as Sinovation, with an average annual return of 20%.
Over the last year and a half, the Group's investment strategy has evolved, broadening its scope, and diversifying its markets and sectors. This has positioned the bank in high-growth areas such as decarbonization and innovative entrepreneurship in BBVA's markets. Specifically, €100 million of the €600 million of investment funds has been earmarked for commitments to this new type of investment.
The bank has made commitments to invest in eight funds to drive the energy transition from fund managers such as Fifth Wall, Hy24, Just Climate, Lowercarbon and SUMA. These funds invest in firms that are developing critical technologies for the decarbonization of the planet, such as carbon capture, as well as in companies that are bringing industrial-scale solutions to decarbonize high-emission industries, such as energy, transport, steel, cement, etc.
BBVA has also made investment commitments in 10 technology funds in Spain (Axon, Be Able, Extension Fund, Leadwind and Swanlaab) and Mexico (ALLVP, Angel Ventures, Cometa, DILA and NAZCA). These funds invest in the most promising companies in areas such as artificial intelligence, business software, virtual reality, e-commerce, to name but a few.
BBVA Spain Country Manager Peio Belausteguigoitia, during his speech at BBVA Open Summit.
During his presentation, Peio Belausteguigoitia also stressed the bank’s historic commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship with the goal of giving clients’ the best experience. The success of the BBVA app in Spain, and the launch of BBVA Spark one year ago were some of the examples underscored by the head of the bank in Spain. “With this unit, BBVA provides startups with specialized managers who speak their own language and share the same concerns,” said Peio Belausteguigoitia.
This forum for innovation in Barcelona is an example of BBVA's support for the Catalan entrepreneurial ecosystem. This region is home to more than half of BBVA Spark's customers in Spain.