Nine months of Open Marketplace: BBVA's app to connect to the fintech ecosystem
In September last year, BBVA launched Open Marketplace - a new platform that streamlines the process of collaborating with a major global bank. How has it evolved, nine months on?
BBVA Open Marketplace is the first platform of its kind, and has been developed by BBVA specifically to streamline connections with the external fintech ecosystem. Launched in September last year, it helps startups identify and connect with the leads of business units within the bank that are most relevant to the product that they have developed.
And by enabling fast-growth businesses to summarise their products in a searchable tool on the marketplace, In the same way, it enables the business units to search for startups that might be able to help them improve the products and services they provide to BBVA customers.
Since it was launched last year, over 300 fintech startups have signed up to the platform and created a profile. The profiles explain the product and the types of challenges that the product solves. A data-based system is then used to pair fintechs with representatives from BBVA based on each of their profiles, just like a dating app.
Of those companies that have signed up to the platform, already 25 have been identified as a fit for the needs of different business units across the bank and are in the process of framing a PoC (proof of concept). This means that BBVA is assessing the viability of their product for solving a specific business need. In short, it’s being tested to see if it works.
A further six fintechs have passed the stage of framing a PoC and are now actively working with the bank on different projects.
For example, TypingDNA - a company using biometrics in fraud detection - is working with BBVA in Mexico. Their AI algorithmic tool is used to obtain a contextual biometric pattern of a customers, minimising risk when mobile banking sessions are initiated w1ith biometric identifiers.
Other startups that have PoCs in progress include neoEYED, Finteps and Change - winner of the Open Talent competition in 2017 for best fintech idea. Change is an AI startup that acts like a personal financial advisor, prompting you to save when you can, or put money aside when you have a bill to pay.
A startup perspective
The BBVA Open Marketplace formalises the connections the bank makes with the fintech ecosystem through competitions such at Open Talent, and events such as the Connection Festival and BBVA Open Summit series. Alejandro Villalonga, the founder of Lendmarket - a secondary market for SME loans, where lenders can sell its loans to professional investors - first became aware of Open Marketplace when his company took part in the Open Talent competition in 2017.
According to Alejandro, Open Marketplace provided a way to collaborate and connect with BBVA and other startups. He was looking for an opportunity to showcase what Lendmarket offers, and to engage with the relevant business unit at the bank - the Cash Management unit.
“While we didn’t progress a PoC in the end, I found the process very useful as a way of getting to better understand the needs of our prospective clients. Using this insight, we have been able to further iterate the Lendmarket product to better service the market and improve the overall customer experience. I hope to make new connections within BBVA in the future, and the experience of BBVA Open Marketplace so far has helped us to progress projects with other debt funds and major banks.”
Already 25 companies have been identified as a fit for the needs of different business units across the bank
A BBVA perspective
Juan del Corro, Business & Digital Strategy Manager at BBVA Asset Management, is a frequent user of the Open Marketplace platform. As project leader of the Asset Management unit at BBVA Headquarters, Juan periodically reviews what areas of their operation could be optimised with new technology. As well as looking for later-stage startups, he often will search for startups that are at a very early stage, that are able to adapt more easily to the needs of the business unit. This ability to be flexible is one of the most important characteristics he looks for when searching for startups on the platform.
“After initially connecting with a startup and identifying it fits our needs, we will review their profile thoroughly to verify the business, and the product or service that they’re providing. What I like about the ‘matchmaking’ process is that it allows me to quickly search for potential startups to collaborate with that have already been validated by BBVA. The asset management unit is currently in progress with 2 PoCs - Nummularii and Arabesque X-ray - to help address internal efficiency improvements of AM unit.”
You can read more about and start your profile on BBVA Open Marketplace here
BBVA Open Marketplace platform