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Carlos Torres Vila Updated: 13 Dec 2017

“Open innovation is a key element of BBVA’s transformation”

Carlos Torres Vila, BBVA’s Chief Executive Officer, this morning said open innovation is one of the key elements of the bank´s transformation to adapt financial services to customers’ new needs. "Keeping up with the rapid pace of change that companies are undergoing, including the financial services sector, the connection with the innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurs is essential," he said.

Carlos Torres Vila spoke at the opening of the seventh edition of the Investors Forum (IF), one of the most important events in Spain for the promotion of entrepreneurship and investment in new technological projects. The forum is an initiative of the MIT Enterprise Forum Spain (MITEF) which is chaired by Juan Antonio Latasa. The event brought together 50 of the most promising technology startups in Spain, along with domestic national and international investors, that are actively seeking investment projects.

BBVA’s CEO explained that the change brought on by technology is picking up speed across all economic sectors, and banking is no exception.

"Data, computing and artificial intelligence labs will allow us to help customers make sure that their decisions are in line with their vital goals, including the financial ones," said Torres Vila. He predicted that in the future, we will see autonomous financial products capable of managing themselves much like driverless cars do, thanks to automation.

Carlos Torres Vila reminded MITEF Spain participants of BBVA’s place in the innovation landscape, as an active member of the 'startup' ecosystem. He explained that the Group has been working together with fintech companies for years to deliver ‘amazing’ solutions to its customers. An example of this is the bank’s Open Innovation area, which is in permanent contact with the 'startup' ecosystem, and which has already resulted in some 700 ‘collisions' and about 20 Proofs of Concept (PoC) aimed at integrating third-party solutions into BBVA’s offering.


Carlos Torres Vila, BBVA’s Chief Executive Officer, during the event.

Entrepreneurs and investors, face to face

The Investors Forum, which is sponsored by the EY Foundation, has served as a meeting point for CEOs and heads of innovative companies and the investors interested in supporting them through different phases, including the 'seed capital', 'early stage' and 'growth' stages. On this occasion, a series of face-to-face meetings were organized between the 45 Spanish entrepreneurs and the 26 investors attending the event, with about 350 onsite talks.

Given the great interest stirred by exponential technologies, this year the participating startups have presented projects related to artificial intelligence, 'big data' and the arrival of Industry 4.0, as applied to fintech, industrial processes or clean energy.

MITEF represents the Spanish chapter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum, an organization that promotes entrepreneurial activity in the global innovation economy. Since its creation, it has offered more than 300 startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors and a third of them have secured financing.

During the event, a panel discussion was held, moderated by Clara Pombo, of MITEF Spain, on the impact of big data, artificial intelligence and the so-called Industry 4.0 on the future of companies.